Clear aligners have changed the face of dental treatment. Now, people can straighten their teeth without regular visits to the dentist.
Dental aligners are convenient, relatively affordable and easy to order. You can do everything from home.
But without regular dental check-ups, looking after your aligners and your teeth is down to you alone. These are the top 5 things you'll need if you're using dental aligners:
1. Aligner case
A dental aligner case, or retainer case, is essential when you're using aligners.
You will wear your aligners for approximately 20-22 hours every day. You'll need to remove your aligners for mealtimes, and they could be damaged quite easily.
Aligner cases are a shield from the world when yours are not on your teeth.
Replacing a set of aligners could set you back up to £150. Replacing just one tray could cost you up to £100. That's a lot of money to find at short notice because of a simple mistake!
If someone accidentally stepped on your aligner, or it got damaged in your handbag, you'd regret not protecting it better.
A case for your aligner is needed for hygiene reasons, as well. You don't want your aligner collecting lint in your pocket, nor do you want to put it into your bag once it's been in your mouth. Aligner cases are a shield from the world when yours are not on your teeth.
A basic retainer case costs less than £5. It will last the full length of your aligner treatment, with every set of dental aligners. If it does get damaged, you'll only need to pay £5 for a replacement. That's so much better than £150 for a new set of aligners.
2. Oral-B electric toothbrush
A good electric toothbrush is a long-lasting investment. If you're going to the effort of improving your smile, you'll want a good brush to maintain it.
A good toothbrush is also essential during your time using aligners.
Oral-B electric toothbrushes are amongst the best you can buy, for keeping your clear aligners clean.
Most providers will recommend that you brush your aligners twice a day. Use your usual toothbrush, and everyday toothpaste, as part of your daily routine. You'll want to brush your teeth well after every meal, to avoid trapping food against your pearly whites when you reinsert your aligners.
Oral-B electric toothbrushes are amongst the best you can buy, for keeping your clear aligners clean. The small rounded toothbrush heads can fit inside your aligners, where other standard toothbrush heads might not. That way, you can clean every nook and cranny to ensure the best dental hygiene.
3. Retainer cleaner
Retainer cleaning tablets are an essential addition to your clear aligner toolkit. These tablets dissolve in water, killing bacteria and reducing stains and odours.
Retainer cleaning tablets are an essential addition to your clear aligner toolkit.
Over time, aligners can change colour and lose their original clarity. Staining is more likely if you're a smoker, making these an even more essential purchase.
As well as brushing your aligners twice a day, use retainer cleaning tablets. This process takes just 15 minutes and will keep your aligners at their best.
Your clear aligners are made to perfectly fit your teeth. But, they can be hard to insert. If your aligners aren't secure against your teeth, they can rub and might cause minor pain. Poorly inserted aligners are also less effective, making your treatment take longer.
Chewies are the answer to many problems with uncomfortable aligners.
Chewies are the answer to many problems with uncomfortable aligners. Once you've inserted your aligners, bite down on the chewies to move the trays into place.
Some providers of clear aligners will give you chewies as part of your package. If not, you can buy your own to make your aligners fit better.
5. Clear aligner removal tool
Once your aligners are securely in place, you may need help to remove them.
If your aligners are tight against your teeth, it's a sign that they've been made properly. Loose aligners might not provide the pressure they'll need to move your teeth to new positions. But, a secure aligner can be hard to take out for mealtimes and brushing your teeth. That's why a removal tool is something that's good to keep around.
A clear aligner removal tool is very easy to use. It's also universal, working with aligners from any brand.
…a secure aligner can be hard to take out for mealtimes and brushing your teeth.
Instead of putting your fingers into your mouth, simply use a discreet removal tool. Hold the loop in one hand, and use the small hook on the other to pull at the edge of the aligner. Work your way along the aligner until it's released, then take it out with your hands.
Having a removal tool means that you can politely take your aligners out, even in front of other people. You don't need to damage your nails, or struggle in front of a mirror.
In most cases, removal tools will fit into a standard retainer case. So, you can keep them where they're easily found and make sure that they're in top condition.
Have you got everything you need?
Clear aligner treatment usually lasts for around 6 months in total. After that, you'll need a retainer to keep your teeth in position.
The right kit, including cleaning tablets, is well worth the investment. You'll want to protect your aligners and keep them looking good so that you can be proud of your smile.
If you've invested in clear dental aligners, invest a little more in a care kit. Keep everything together wherever you are to prolong the life of your aligners.