3 methods to wear clear aligners

Full-time, day-time, or night-time

So you finally decided to straighten your smile with clear aligners. Congratulations! The question now is how to 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. However, it's your responsibility to make sure that you wear your teeth aligners throughout the day or they won't straighten your teeth. Luckily, there's more than one way to wear your clear aligners. Here are 3 different methods to wear your clear aligners:

  • Full-time wear (standard)
  • Day-time only
  • Night-time only

Full-time wear is the most common way to wear your clear aligners. The other two methods are part-time. 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 you best:

Method #1: Full-time wear method

If you don't wear your clear aligners long enough, they won't move your teeth correctly!

Tooth movement happens as a result of continuous forces for long enough duration. It turns out, teeth aren't a fan of being pushed around and they put up a fight. Teeth resist any type of movement and they try to bounce back to their previous position.

It's like a tug of war in your mouth!

Clear aligners work by gently forcing your teeth into a new position. This is why it's so 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 their new position. One way to accomplish this is by wearing your clear aligners for 21 to 22 hours a day for 2 straight weeks. This adds up to 300 hours of continuous forces which is enough to stabilize teeth in their new position. Two weeks is the absolute minimum time you should wear each clear aligner. Anything less than 2 weeks and your teeth won't stabilize in their new position.

Here are some of the benefits of full-time clear aligner wear method:

  • Straighten your smile in the least amount of time
  • Ideal for those of you who require extensive tooth movement
  • Anyone with a stiff jaw bone 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.

Method #2: Day-time only

Daytime clear aligner wear method: Wear your clear aligners during daytime only. Switch our your clear aligner every 3 weeks.

With the day-time wear method, you wear your clear aligners during the day and remove them when sleeping. Day-time wear is recommended for those of you who have a hard time wearing appliances and falling asleep. It's also a useful method for those who must continue wearing a nightguard, CPAP, or other sleep apnea devices at night times. Obviously, you can't wear your clear aligners on top of these other 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 makes your treatment take about 50% longer. You need to wear each clear aligner for one additional week. This means that 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 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

Nighttime clear aligner wear method: Wear your clear aligners during nights only. Switch our your clear aligner every 4 weeks.

With the night-time wear method, you wear your clear aligners during the nights and remove them when awake. This 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 during the day. Maybe you have a job that requires lots of talking and wearing aligners can interfere 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 throughout the day. No matter your reason, if you don't want people knowing about your clear aligners, then night-time wear is for you!

Be aware that the night-time wear method doubles your clear aligner treatment times. We don't recommend this 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 teeth aligners during nights only.

Night-time clear aligner wear method is recommended for the following cases:

  • You must be comfortable wearing your clear aligners while sleeping
  • You must not be in a rush to straighten your smiles
  • Only recommended for simpler orthodontic tooth movements

Night-time clear aligner wear method is not recommended for complex tooth movements. 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 foods, then you might have stiff jawbone and night-time wear is not going to work for you. Talk to your dentist to see if you're a good candidate for night-time wear method.

What is the best way to wear your clear aligners?

There are 3 different methods to wear your clear aligners: full-time, day-time only, and night-time only. All three methods give you the same end results, so long as you consult with your dentist and follow their instructions. 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. Keep in mind, more complex orthodontic cases, those with 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.


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 paws on some clear aligners! There are so many different options to straighten your smile nowadays. We recommend choosing a clear aligner program that is offered through your local dentists or orthodontists. These include clear aligner systems such as Invisalign®, ClearCorrect™, and 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 get started with your new smile today!