COVID-19 has changed our lives in many ways over the last year, but those changes and challenges won’t stop you from achieving a straighter smile. Langford Orthodontics is proud to offer a variety 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 due to its removable, comfortable design and clear material. Thanks to the extra measure of flexibility they offer, staying safe and healthy with Invisalign during COVID-19 is no problem!

While we have been getting used to the “new normal” over the past several months, we have come to realize that Invisalign is a great option for attaining a healthier smile during a pandemic. Treating your smile with clear aligners is safe and effective, and not too difficult to navigate during these socially-distanced times. Read below to learn why more patients than ever are going with Invisalign for all their orthodontic needs! 

Invisalign makes maintaining oral health simple

A commonly recurring message throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has been the advice to keep our hands away from our face and mouth. This helps limit the spread of germs and slows the overall 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 with Invisalign 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. We recommend patients wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before removing aligners from the mouth, as 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 not available, you can instead use a hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol. These products are fast-acting and will significantly reduce the number of germs on your skin. Take special care with your fingernails and fingertips since these surfaces will most directly touch the mouth, aligners, and other spots vulnerable to infection.

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 will protect them from germs and bacteria, and prevents them from being accidentally misplaced or tossed in the trash! Before putting aligners back in their mouth, patients should thoroughly wash their hands again and clean their aligners with water. Caring for aligners in this way quickly becomes a part of the daily routine, and significantly 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 never received an orthodontic procedure are most likely aware of them. Although the design is quite simple at first, aligners are essentially as effective as traditional braces at moving teeth. Like braces, Invisalign continuously applies gentle pressure to the teeth, shifting them over time. 

To produce the force needed to move your 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 gradual movements the teeth are making. When you’re compliant with these guidelines, Invisalign are just as effective as braces at correcting many common orthodontic issues.

We typically provide Invisalign patients with several weeks’ worth of aligners at a time, which can be extremely convenient during socially distanced 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 so there is no need to physically enter our Knoxville office. If you have any questions, you can even set up a virtual appointment to speak directly with Dr. Langford and discuss your concerns. These options allow you to practice safe social distancing while continuing to care for your smile. 

Invisalign reduces the risk of an orthodontic emergency 

Traditional braces have brackets and wires that, in rare cases, can 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 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 patients to let us know any time an aligner is damaged or lost. If the damage is relatively minor and does not significantly affect the shape or function, 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 shape. Besides causing potential pain, it will not be able to provide the consistent pressure needed to move the teeth correctly. In a case like this, we may need to make a replacement or Dr. Langford 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 revision scan to determine if additional aligners are required to achieve the desired results. Temporary closings and occasional stay-at-home orders have sometimes made it difficult for our patients to come in for scheduled appointments like this, 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 them with a new set right away. There is one difference—these “holdover” 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 patient’s treatment plan on track and ensures that no progress is lost. 

It is very important to keep continuous pressure on the teeth both during (with aligners) and after (with a 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 one might think and may lead to longer treatment times. 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 Langford Orthodontics

Invisalign makes it easy to achieve a healthier smile safely and effectively – even during a pandemic! To learn more about this innovative treatment option, get in touch with us to schedule a FREE consultation with Dr. Langford!

- Dr. Langford

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