Article by Dr. Leaver & Dr. Gardner
The challenges of COVID-19 don’t have to keep you from achieving a straighter, healthier smile. Leaver & Gardner Orthodontics is proud to offer a wide range of treatment options for anyone looking to improve their oral health, including Invisalign clear aligners! This innovative system is already popular with our teen and adult patients, thanks to the removable design and clear, comfortable material. Thanks to the extra flexibility they offer, staying safe and healthy with Invisalign during COVID-19 is no problem!
While adjusting to the “new normal” of the past several months, we have been reminded that Invisalign is a great option for achieving a healthier smile, even during a pandemic. The clear aligners are safe and effective, and not overly difficult to manage during these socially-distanced times. Keep reading to learn why more patients than ever are choosing Invisalign for all their orthodontic needs!
INVISALIGN MAKES IT SIMPLE TO MAINTAIN GOOD ORAL HEALTH
One of the most prominent messages throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has been the importance of keeping our hands away from our face and mouth. This helps limit the spread of germs and slows the rate of infection. Unfortunately, Invisalign patients are unable to avoid touching their mouths during the treatment process. That means it is more important than ever to maintain good hygiene, which is an easy task with Invisalign’s clear aligners!
Patients will find it a simple task to care for both their oral health and their aligners. The trays are designed to be removed before eating, drinking anything other than water, and brushing and flossing your teeth. We recommend patients wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before removing aligners from the mouth.
Washing your hands is the first line of defense against germs and infection. This video from the CDC shows viewers how to do so quickly and effectively! If soap and water aren’t readily available, you can use a hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol. These products are fast-acting and significantly reduce the number of germs on your skin. With either method, pay special attention to your fingernails and fingertips since these will come into the closest contact with the mouth and aligners.
Once you remove your aligners, you should always place them in a clean, sealed container or leave them to soak in an approved cleaning solution. This protects them from germs and bacteria and also prevents them from being accidentally misplaced, touched by someone else or tossed in the trash! Before putting aligners back in their mouth, patients should wash their hands again and rinse the aligner with water. Caring for aligners in this way becomes part of the daily routine in no time at all, and, pandemic or not, helps protect the patient’s oral and total body health.
INVISALIGN IS CONVENIENT
Clear aligner treatments have been popping up everywhere in recent years, which means even those who have not undergone an orthodontic procedure themselves have most likely seen or heard about them. Although the design seems quite simple at first, aligners are ingeniously made to move the teeth in the same way traditional braces do. They continuously apply gentle pressure to the teeth, shifting them to their desired location over time.
To produce the force needed to move the teeth, the aligners must be worn for 20-22 hours each day. Additionally, each aligner is switched out for the next in the series every 1-2 weeks to keep up with the movements the teeth are making and to introduce new movements. When you’re compliant with these guidelines, Invisalign are just as effective as braces at correcting many of the most common orthodontic issues.
We typically provide Invisalign patients with several weeks’ worth of aligners at a time, which reduces the number of appointments and can be extremely convenient during times like these! If you run out of your current set of aligners before your next scheduled appointment, we can easily arrange curbside pick-up for the next set so there is no need to physically enter our Northwest Las Vegas or Summerlin office. If you have any questions, you can even set up a virtual appointment to speak directly with Dr. Leaver and Dr. Gardner and discuss your concerns. These options allow you to practice safe social distancing while continuing to care for your smile.
INVISALIGN DECREASES THE CHANCE OF AN ORTHODONTIC EMERGENCY OCCURRING
Traditional braces are composed of brackets and wires that can, in extreme cases, be bent or broken. This can occasionally lead to orthodontic emergencies that need immediate attention. Because Invisalign aligners are just one piece and made from a durable plastic material called SmartTrack, emergencies with them tend to be few and far between. They are not indestructible, though—aligners can still tear, crack, or break, especially if they are handled roughly.
We ask patients to let us know any time an aligner is damaged or misplaced. If the damage is relatively minor, the aligner may still be worn until it is time for the next in the series. Patients should refrain from using any aligner that has cracked or split in a way that prevents it from holding its corrective shape. Besides causing potential pain, it will not be able to provide the consistent, precise pressure needed to move the teeth. In a case like this, we may need to make a replacement, or Dr. Leaver and Dr. Gardner may recommend using the next aligner in the series.
INVISALIGN TREATMENT IS EASY TO TROUBLESHOOT
Once you have completed your last course of aligners, the treatment may be complete. There may be times, however, that we will need to schedule a secondary scan to see if additional aligners are required to achieve the desired results. Temporary closings and occasional stay-at-home orders have sometimes affected our ability to get patients in quickly for this type of appointment, but Invisalign aligners make it easy to troubleshoot solutions!
For example, anyone currently in aligners can continue wearing the last set they were given if we are not able to provide a replacement set right away. There is one difference—the aligners should be worn for only 10-12 hours a day instead of the normal 20-22 hours. Doing so helps extend the life of the aligners until an appointment is available. This will keep the treatment plan on track and ensures that none of your hard-earned progress is lost.
It is very important to keep continuous pressure on the teeth both during and after treatment is complete, using aligners and retainers respectively. Without continuous force, the teeth will eventually begin to shift back into their previous, misaligned locations. This can happen more quickly than one might think and may require patients to return for more orthodontic treatment. For this reason, we recommend that patients always keep their aligners from the previous stage on hand in case they are needed while waiting for a new set to be delivered.
SAFE AND EFFECTIVE TREATMENT FROM LEAVER & GARDNER ORTHODONTICS
Even in the midst of a pandemic, Invisalign makes it easy to achieve a healthier smile safely and effectively! To learn more about this innovative treatment option, get in contact to schedule a FREE consultation with Dr. Leaver and Dr. Gardner!