COVID-19 has brought about some major changes in our daily lives this past year, but those challenges don’t have to stand in the way of your orthodontic treatment! At McGrory Orthodontics, we’ve been working to provide you with the high-quality care you value, even in times of uncertainty. One thing we’ve realized during this time is that staying safe and healthy with Invisalign during COVID-19 is convenient and manageable thanks to their flexibility. The treatment process with this innovative system is safe and effective, with the added benefit of being easier to navigate while practicing social distancing. Keep reading below to learn why more patients than ever are choosing Invisalign for all their orthodontic needs!
Maintain good oral health with Invisalign
One of the most consistent recommendations throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has been to keep our hands away from our face and mouth. This limits the spread of germs and slows the rate of infection. Unfortunately, Invisalign patients can’t avoid touching their mouths during the treatment process. That means it is more important than ever to practice 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 made to be removed before eating, drinking anything other than water, and brushing and flossing your teeth. We recommend washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before removing your aligners, paying special attention to your fingernails and fingertips, since these will come into the closest contact with your mouth and aligners.
Washing your hands is the first line of defense against germs and infection. This CDC video shows viewers how to do so quickly and effectively! If soap and water are unavailable, hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol can be used as a substitute. These products are fast-acting and significantly reduce the number of germs on the skin.
Once your aligners have been removed, they should always be placed in a clean, sealed container or left to soak in an approved solution. This keeps them safe from germs and bacteria, and also prevents them from being accidentally misplaced (or thrown away!). Before putting aligners back in your mouth, you should wash your hands again and rinse the aligner with water. Caring for aligners this way becomes part of your daily routine in no time at all, and helps protect your oral and overall health.
Invisalign is convenient
Clear aligner treatments have been popping up everywhere in recent years, which means even those who are unfamiliar with orthodontics have most likely heard about them. Although the design appears quite simple, aligners are made to move the teeth in the same way as traditional braces—by applying gentle, continuous pressure. To produce the force necessary to move the teeth, you must wear your aligners 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 of your teeth. When you’re compliant with these guidelines, Invisalign can work just as well as braces at correcting many of the most common orthodontic issues.
Invisalign patients will normally be provided with several weeks’ worth of aligners at a time, which can be extremely convenient during times like these! If the current set of aligners runs out before the next scheduled appointment, we can easily arrange curbside pick-up for the next set so there is no need to physically enter our office. Patients who have questions can set up a virtual appointment to speak with Dr. McGrory and talk through their concerns. Socially-distanced options such as these mean every patient can continue their treatment safely, conveniently, and without any delays.
Invisalign treatment is easy to troubleshoot
Once you have completed your last course of aligners, treatment may be complete. Sometimes, however, we will need to schedule a revision scan to see if additional aligners are required to achieve the best 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, if you’re currently in aligners, you can continue wearing the last set you were given if we are not able to provide you with a new 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 keeps your treatment plan on track and ensures no progress is lost.
It is very important to keep pressure on the teeth both during (aligners) and after (retainer) treatment is complete. Without continuous force, the teeth will eventually begin to shift back into their previous places. This can happen more quickly than you might think and can even lead to longer treatment times. For this reason, we recommend always keeping your aligners from the previous stage on hand in case you need them while waiting for a new set to be delivered.
Invisalign lowers your chance of an orthodontic emergency
Traditional braces are made of brackets and wires that can be bent or broken. This can occasionally lead to orthodontic emergencies that require immediate attention. Since Invisalign aligners are just one piece and made from a durable 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 not handled with care.
We ask that you let us know any time an aligner is damaged or lost. If the damage is relatively minor, you may still wear the aligner until it is time for the next in the series. You should refrain from using any aligner that has cracked or split in a way that prevents it from holding its shape. Besides causing potential pain, it will not be able to provide the consistent pressure needed to move the teeth. In a case like this, we may need to make a replacement or Dr. McGrory may recommend using the next aligner in the series.
Safe and effective treatment from McGrory Orthodontics
Even amidst a pandemic, Invisalign makes it easy to achieve a healthier smile safely and effectively. To learn more about this innovative treatment option, get in touch to schedule a FREE consultation with Dr. McGrory at one of our offices in Pearland or Bellaire!