A removable and discreet alternative to wearing traditional braces? Invisalign clear aligners sound almost too good to be true!
While this revolutionary “barely there” treatment does afford a bit more leeway and somewhat less lifestyle modification than metal braces, there are aspects of Invisalign that patients need to be incredibly diligent about for the treatment to work.
Let’s explore the concept of “tracking” and how you, the patient, can ensure you complete your treatment on time, with an outstanding smile as the result.
What Is Invisalign “Tracking?”
The concept of “tracking” when undergoing orthodontic treatment with Invisalign simply means your teeth are moving into their desired positions according to plan.
When coordinating treatment with Invisalign for a patient, there is both a “predicted teeth movement” and an “actual teeth movement.” If your teeth are moving in accordance with the predicted teeth movement, you are “tracking” successfully.
How Can I Tell If My Teeth are Tracking Properly?
You can gauge whether or not your teeth are tracking by studying your teeth with your aligner trays on. When you put your trays in, make sure both your top and bottom trays are completely fixed and seated securely along their respective row of teeth. The trays shouldn’t be rocking or moving at all.
Study each tooth to see if there is a space between the bottom of the tooth… and the bottom of the aligner tray edge. You may hear this space referred to as a “halo.”
It is normal to see “halos” when your trays are in your mouth, especially for your first weeks of aligner wear, both when you begin treatment, and when you switch to a new tray.
As your treatment progresses and you grow used to your aligners, they must be placed snugly over your teeth to generate the force required to move them into new positions.
If your halos are recurring as your treatment progresses, it could be a sign your teeth are not tracking properly.
What Happens When My Teeth aren’t Tracking Properly?
Everyone’s orthodontic needs are different, so there is no “default scenario” when an Invisalign treatment plan is impeded by tracking issues.
When your teeth aren’t tracking, there is a risk of a future set of aligners not fitting like they are intended. When your aligners don’t fit, they won’t move your teeth like they should. This may mean you’ll need to use your current set of aligners for a longer period of time, and that your treatment timeline will be extended.
In extreme cases, a lack of tracking may cause your teeth to shift back to their original positions.
Aligner Wear Non-Compliance: The Primary Cause of Tracking Issues
Twenty hours is the bare minimum that you should wear your aligners per day. Ideally, you should wear your aligners for twenty-two hours per day. It is advised you only remove the aligners during meals, and when you brush or floss. Aligner wear is not a choice of “popping them in and out” when you feel like it.
We understand and appreciate this can be difficult; teens and young adults especially may feel tempted to remove their aligners in social situations. Be diligent and stay the course here. Cutting corners will not result in the desired outcome.
Speak to Us If You’re Having Problems Maintaining Compliance.
We want your Invisalign treatment to succeed. But like a dental hygienist who can tell when a patient is not brushing and flossing as frequently as they claim, our staff can identify when tracking issues arise because you’re not wearing your aligners. Be honest with us.
If you’re struggling to wear your aligners for the prescribed amount of time, or if your aligners are causing your mouth significant discomfort, let us know. We will discuss strategies to get your treatment back on track.
Seat Your Aligners Properly With Chewies
Chewies are soft, tube-shaped devices that are given to you at the start of your Invisalign treatment. Chewing these devices helps push your aligners onto your teeth so the teeth are seated in the aligners properly. This is particularly important when you first switch to a new set of aligners. Not only that, but chewies also help relieve pressure on your teeth and may minimize discomfort. By chewing them whenever you replace your aligners in your mouth, you can ensure your aligners are fitting snugly.
Invisalign questions? contact Koch orthodontics!
Dr. Keith Koch has effectively treated many teen and adult patients using Invisalign’s revolutionary application.
Remember, advancements in technology do not come at the expense of discipline – straightening your smile is a team effort. If you have questions about Invisalign tracking, or treatment with Invisalign in general, contact our office through our website, or call us at 585-243-3174. Consultations are no charge!