Can I take My Invisalign Out for the Day?
The word to the wise is, wear the aligners for up to 22 hours and you will accomplish your goal.
Having crowded teeth that are not straight can be embarrassing and cause a lack of self-confidence when you smile, but even more important, crowded teeth will case your teeth not to last for your lifetime.
When teeth are straight, they work like the gears in a clock. Each gear is exactly the right length, pushes on its matching gear with just enough force to keep the clock working. When the forces are uneven, then the clock slows or even stops working because the proper time cannot be kept. Even worse, a gear can chip off and the clock becomes useless unless the gear is replaced.
Teeth are much the same as a clock, except the mouth is even more complicated. The teeth must work under water (saliva) and the gears (teeth) more around, side to side and forward and back, sometimes even on only one side or the other
When the teeth are out of alignment, many things can happen, bacteria can grow faster, causing gum disease and cavities. The teeth that are out of alignment press on each other too forcefully and cracks develop. The tooth can even split off causing pain. Straight teeth just last longer.
When the teeth are straight and work in a harmonious pattern, as they are made to do, then they will last your lifetime (and even longer, although you won’t appreciate that.) Teeth really stay in the correct positions because of muscular forces. These come from the lips and the tongue which constantly push on your teeth.
Interestingly, without your cheeks your teeth will stick straight out. Without your tongue your teeth would collapse into your mouth. So, your teeth are in a balanced position as a result of the balance of forces between your lips, cheeks and tongue. With a very strong tongue, a gap develops between the upper front teeth. This is called a diastema. Normally your upper front teeth tilt outwardly a few degrees. With very strong cheeks, the teeth are pushed into in and become vertical.
Your tongue pushes the teeth out and the lips push the teeth in. When there is an improper balance of force then teeth will move around and become crowded. This happens continuously, unless you are wearing braces or an aligner. When you use an aligner, the forces of the tongue and lips are modified, and the tooth will travel where the aligner tells it to go.
With Invisalign, this is a pre panned movement, resulting (when you wear them continuously) in a nice straight smile and teeth that work well together.
When the force of the aligner is interrupted, for instance when you take out the aligner for a long period of time, then the tooth is again pushed around by the lips and tongue to wherever the forces bring the tooth. In most cases this is back to being crowded. As a matter of fact, when Invisalign active treatment is finished, the tongue and cheeks take over again and the teeth will become crowded again. This is called relapse.
Relapse is preventable, though by wearing a retainer. The retainer keeps your teeth in the planned position until the bone around the tooth hardens and resists the tongue and cheek forces. This usually takes about 4 to 6 months. Even after this period, the teeth can recrowd again, so wearing your removable retainer every night or at least every other night after active treatment helps to prevent relapse. A fixed retainer stays on the teeth permanently and does not need to be removed.
During active treatment, there is a small amount of tooth movement per aligner. This movement builds from one aligner to the next when the aligners are worn almost continuously. When you remove your trays from more than a few hours, the teeth immediately start to relapse, and your aligners must start from scratch. So that means that while moving the teeth from the beginning of the aligner to the end of the aligner planned movement will take much longer since the teeth are moving to and fro and back again.
So, the word to the wise is, wear the aligners for up to 22 hours and you will accomplish your goal. If you wear your aligners for only a day or half a day all the time, then a good treatment result may not happen despite your best intentions.
Check out our Guide to Invisalign Aligners
Invisalign Custom & Clear Aligners
Advanced Dentistry with a Gentle Touch
Red Bank & Middletown, NJ
Dr. Robert Korwin, DMD MAGD MICOI
The clear alternative to metal braces for adults and teens.
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