Even though it’s important now more so than ever, it’s been hard to find time for self-care while navigating our “new normal” over this past year. If you found yourself putting orthodontic treatment on the backburner throughout 2020, there’s no better time than now to make it a priority! You deserve a healthy, confident smile and our team at Lincoln Orthodontics is here to make that happen with a wide range of affordable treatment options, including Invisalign and other clear aligners. As our most popular alternative to braces, clear aligners have had some distinct advantages during the pandemic–in fact, staying safe and healthy with Invisalign during COVID-19 is easier than you might think! Let’s take a look at why this treatment could be just what you’re looking for in 2021.
Clear aligners offer an extra measure of freedom
While traditional braces can offer a pretty significant learning curve, clear aligners bring no dramatic change to your daily habits. You’ll be able to eat and drink all the same things (after removing your aligners), participate in sports without taking any extra precautions, and essentially continue to do anything you did before treatment began! Because the aligners are nearly invisible, many people won’t even realize you’re in the process of straightening your smile, a feature that many image-conscious teens and adults love.
Clear aligners are comfortable
After a year of lounging around the house in pajamas, comfort understandably ranks high on everyone’s current list of priorities. Fortunately, clear aligners have got you covered in this department! Each aligner is made of a smooth heat-formed plastic material and is custom-designed to fit firmly over your teeth. With no sharp or protruding edges to rub against your cheeks or gums, your aligners will take very little getting used to.
While traditional braces come with brackets and wires that can be bent or broken, orthodontic accidents are much less likely with clear aligners. They’re all in one piece and are made to be durable and long-lasting—but that doesn’t mean they can’t be lost or damaged! If they’re not handled properly, aligners may be prone to cracking, tearing, or breaking. Some damaged aligners can still be worn until it’s time for the next in the series, but we may need to make a replacement. With clear aligners, this is never a problem! If you do damage or lose an aligner, you should let us know as soon as possible so Dr. Willett can advise you on the next step to take.
Clear aligners are a subtle treatment option
One of the biggest benefits of clear aligners is how discreet they are. Teens and adults can achieve a stunning new smile without anyone around them noticing their treatment! That means you can continue going to work, attending school, dating, or simply enjoying life without many of the changes that can come with braces. After spending so many months away from other people, clear aligners allow you to let your natural smile shine through once you can safely meet up with others again! You can even remove them for short periods of time on special occasions like prom, senior photos, or a wedding.
Clear aligners are simple to use
Although they look very different, braces and aligners work similarly. Both methods use an orthodontic appliance to put gentle pressure on the teeth, moving them into more desirable positions over time. Though aligners are removable, they must be worn for 20-22 hours every day, and switched out for the next in the series every 1-2 weeks in order to continue producing the correct orthodontic forces while keeping up with the movement of the teeth. When you are compliant with these straightforward guidelines, aligners can work just as well as braces at correcting many of the most common orthodontic issues.
We normally provide patients with several weeks’ worth of aligners at a time. This has been very convenient during this uncertain era of stay-at-home orders and social distancing! Even now, we’re happy to arrange curbside pick-up for the next set of aligners if the current ones run out. Patients with questions can also choose to set up a virtual appointment to speak with Dr. Willett and discuss their concerns if they’d rather not enter the office. Options like these allow all of our patients to continue the treatment process safely and conveniently.
Clear aligners are easy to care for
From the very beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve been told by all the experts to keep our hands away from our face and mouth to help limit the spread of germs. Unfortunately, patients in clear aligners can’t avoid touching their mouth multiple times a day, which means it’s more important than ever to practice good hygiene!
The good news is, it’s easy to care for both your oral health and your aligners when you use Invisalign or other clear aligners. The aligners are designed to be removed prior to eating, drinking anything other than water, and brushing your teeth. Before you remove your aligner, be sure to wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Pay careful attention to the fingernails and fingertips since these areas will come into the closest contact with your mouth and aligners.
Remember that washing your hands is the first line of defense against germs and infection. This CDC video has helpful information on how to do so quickly and effectively! If you aren’t able to wash with soap and water for any reason, sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol can be used in a pinch. This concentration is able to kill most germs and bacteria on your hands.
It can be tempting to toss your aligners onto the nearest surface when you remove them, but you should always place aligners in a sealed container or leave them to soak in a cleaning solution when they’re not in your mouth. This protects them from germs and also prevents you from accidentally throwing them away (which happens more often than you’d think!). Once you’re done eating or your teeth are brushed and flossed, wash your hands again and rinse your aligner well before putting it back in your mouth.
It might sound like a lot of steps at first, but caring for your aligners will quickly become just another part of your daily routine. Being careful with your oral health and aligners will help protect your total body health, too!
Get the smile you deserve with clear aligners from Lincoln Orthodontics
We may not be clear of the pandemic just yet, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take the first step towards a healthier smile in 2021! Clear aligners make it easy to improve your oral health safely and effectively, and will leave your friends and family wondering what you did during quarantine to get such a beautifully aligned smile.