3 methods to wear clear aligners
So you finally decided to straighten your smile using clear aligner technology. Congratulations! The question is "how do you correctly wear your clear aligners?" Unlike braces that are stuck to your teeth 24/7, clear aligners can easily be removed. You can remove your clear aligners to eat, drink, or brush your teeth. This means that it's your responsibility to make sure that you wear your aligners accordingly. Otherwise, they won't straighten your teeth. Luckily, there's more than one way to wear your clear aligners. Here are the 3 most common methods you can use to wear your clear aligners:
- Full-time wear (standard method)
- Day-time only
- Night-time only
Full-time wear is the most common way to wear clear aligners. The other two methods require part-time wear. Be sure to talk to your dentist first if you're planning on using the day-time or night-time wear method. Let's look at these different wear methods to see which one suits your needs:
Method #1: Full-time wear method
Tooth movement happens as a result of continuous forces being applied to teeth for a long enough duration. Your teeth aren't a fan of being pushed around and they put up a fight! Teeth resist any type of movement and try to bounce back to their original position.
It's like a tug of war in your mouth!
Clear aligners work by gently forcing your teeth into their new position. It's important to wear your clear aligners as instructed by your dentist or orthodontist. On average, teeth require around 300 hours of continuous force to maintain a new position. One way to accomplish this is by wearing your clear aligners about 20 to 22 hours a day for 2 straight weeks (we'll wait, do the math!) This adds up to 300 hours of continuous forces which is enough to stabilize your teeth in their new position. Two weeks is the absolute minimum you should be wearing each aligner. Anything less than 2 weeks, and your teeth won't stabilize in their new position and are likely to relapse.
Here are some benefits of the full-time clear aligner wear method:
- Straighten your smile as quickly as possible
- The best option for those who require extensive tooth movement
- Anyone with a stiff jawbone structure should wear their clear aligners full-time
If you're comfortable wearing your clear aligners throughout the day and night, then you should consider wearing them all day long. This way, you finish your treatment as quickly as possible and run into fewer problems throughout the course of your treatment.
Method #2: Day-time only
With the day-time wear method, you only wear your clear aligners during the day and remove them at night times. Day-time wear method s recommended for those of you who have a hard time falling asleep while wearing oral appliances. It's also a useful method for those who must continue wearing a nightguard, CPAP, or other sleep apnea devices at night. Obviously, you can't wear your clear aligners on top of these devices. Day-time wear allows you to continue protecting your teeth and airways during nighttime while straightening your smile during the daytime.
Day-time wear extends your treatment time by about 50%. This means that you need to wear each clear aligner for one additional week. You will switch out your teeth aligners every 3rd week instead of in two weeks. This extra week compensates for not wearing your clear aligners during bedtime. Of course, that's a small price to pay for a good night's sleep!
Day-time clear aligner wear method is recommended for the following cases:
- Those of you who have a difficult time falling asleep with clear aligners in their mouth
- CPAP users who suffer from advanced obstructive sleep apnea
- Sleep apnea patients who must wear an obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) appliance at nights
- Moderate-to-heavy teeth grinders who prefer to continue wearing their nightguards during bedtime. Mild teeth grinders can wear their clear aligners in lieu of their nightguard since the aligners will protect their teeth the same way as a nightguard would.
Method #3: Night-time only
With the night-time wear method, you wear your clear aligners during the nights and you remove them when awake. This wear method is perfect for those of you who don't like wearing clear aligners throughout the day. While clear aligners are barely noticeable in your mouth, some people simply don't want to wear them throughout the day. Maybe you have a job that requires lots of talking and wearing aligners interferes with your speech. Maybe you're embarrassed to be seen wearing clear aligners for whatever reason (we think they're cool, but hey, it's your call!) Or maybe you droll or slur so much with aligners in your mouth that you have to leave them out to function. No matter your reasoning, if you don't want to wear your clear aligners during the day, then the night-time wear method is for you!
Be aware that the night-time wear method doubles your clear aligner treatment times. You have to wear each aligner for one month instead of the usual 2 weeks. We don't recommend the night-time wear method if you're in a rush to straighten your smile. On the other hand, this is a great option if you have time to spare and prefer wearing your aligners during nights. Night-time clear aligner wear method is recommended for the following cases:
- Those who are comfortable wearing their clear aligners while sleeping
- You must not be in a rush to straighten your smile
- Only recommended for simple orthodontic tooth movements
Night-time clear aligner wear method is not recommended for complex tooth movement. It's also not recommended for those who have a stiff jawbone structure. If you have a habit of chewing ice, grinding your teeth, or eating lots of vegetarian/vegan meals, then you might have stiff jawbone which means night-time wear is not going to work for you. Talk to your dentist to see if you're a good candidate for the night-time wear method.
What is the best way to wear your clear aligners?
As discussed above, there are 3 different methods to wear your clear aligners: full-time, day-time only, and night-time only. Each method is suited to a different lifestyle. Talk to your dentist to see which is the best method to wear your teeth aligners. Ask them if you're a candidate for the day-time or night-time wear method. All three methods give you the same end results, so long as you consult with your dentist and follow their instructions. Keep in mind, more complex orthodontic cases, those with a stiff jawbone, and anyone who hasn't consulted with his or her dentist must follow the standard full-time wear method. Schedule a consultation with your local dentist or orthodontist to see which clear aligner wear method is best for your smile.
STRAIGHTENING YOUR SMILE WITH CLEAR ALIGNERS
Safe, fast & affordable teeth strengthening options
Now that you know about the different ways you can wear your clear aligners, it's time to get your hands on some clear aligners. There are so many different options to straighten your smile nowadays. One option is to purchase your clear aligners online from a company like SmileDirectClub™ or Candid Co.™ These offer an ideal solution for simpler orthodontic tooth movements that don't require direct dentist supervision. For more complex tooth moments, we recommend visiting your local dentist or orthodontist. They will use a dentist-delivered clear aligner system such as Invisalign®, ClearCorrect™, or Even28 at-home™. To learn more about your teeth straightening options, click on the link below to find a great dentist near you. Find a dentist near you using our dentist Search Engine and start straightening your new smile today!