The past year has forced us to adapt to COVID-19—but those changes won’t stop you from achieving a straighter smile. Sawgrass 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 the removable design and clear, low-profile material. Thanks to the extra measures of flexibility and convenience they offer, it’s easy to stay safe and healthy with Invisalign during COVID-19!

While we’ve been adjusting 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

The advice to keep our hands away from our face and mouth has been one of few constants throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Refraining from touching your face or mouth helps limit the spread of germs and slows the overall rate of infection by keeping viral particles away from areas sensitive to 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 caring for their oral health and their aligners to be a simple task. The trays are designed to be removed before eating, drinking anything other than water, and brushing or flossing. We recommend patients thoroughly wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before removing their aligners from their mouth, as washing your hands is the first line of defense against germs and infection. Watch this CDC video to learn how to wash your hands 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 to clean 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, fully enclosed 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 or brush them with a spare toothbrush. Caring for aligners in this way will quickly become incorporated into your daily routine, and significantly helps to protect your oral and body health.

Holding a clear aligner

Convenient Treatment with Invisalign

Clear aligner treatments have been popping up everywhere in recent years, which means even those who have never personally received an orthodontic procedure are most likely aware of them. Invisalign works just like braces, continuously applying gentle pressure to teeth to shift them over time. Although their design seems quite simple, aligners are as effective as traditional braces at moving teeth. 

To produce the force needed to move your teeth, the aligners must be worn for 20-22 hours each day. Additionally, each aligner must be switched out for the next in the series every 1-2 weeks to keep up with the gradual movements your teeth are making. When you follow these simple guidelines, Invisalign is 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 in reducing how frequently you have to visit our office during these socially distanced times! 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 Sunrise office. If you have any questions, you can even set up a virtual appointment to speak directly with Dr. Kristen or Dr. Penny to discuss your concerns. These options allow you to continue caring for your smile while practicing safe social distancing. 

Invisalign reduces the risk of an orthodontic emergency 

Traditional braces have brackets and wires that, in rare cases, can bend or break. 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 to replace it with 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, a broken aligner will not be able to provide consistent pressure in the appropriate corrective pattern. In a case like this, we may need to make a replacement, or Dr. Kristen and Dr. Penny may progress to 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. In many cases, we will schedule a revision scan to determine if additional aligners will be necessary 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 use both aligners and retainers to keep continuous pressure on the teeth until treatment is complete. Without continuous force, the teeth will eventually shift back into their previous, misaligned locations. This shift can happen quicker than one might think and may increase 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 Sawgrass 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. Kristen or Dr. Penny!

- Dr. Langford

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