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Orthodontic (Patients with Aligners) FAQs

Orthodontic (Patients with Aligners) FAQs

I’m due for my next set of aligners but I don’t have them. What do I do?

We recommend that you continue wearing your aligner diligently for the recommended 20-22 hours each day until the end of the aligner cycle.  Once the end of that cycle has been reached, simply continue to wear that very same aligner when sleeping to ensure that treatment progress has not been lost.  The aligners are designed to last up to 6 months so please be reassured of their durability and continue to clean the aligner as recommended by your dentist.

Through our assessment of each patient we will also be sending out additional aligners only in those cases where this is appropriate. If this is this case, we will contact you with further instructions. 

For others that may require a hands-on dental procedure prior to progression onto the next aligner in order to achieve desired outcomes, we ask that you remain patient and move into the retention phase (wearing the last aligners when sleeping).  For these patients we therefore cannot post out your next set of aligners.

Will this closure delay my treatment?

We are happy to inform you that in the overwhelming majority of orthodontic cases the treatment outcome will not see any negative impact due to this situation albeit for a delay in the finishing time. For those that may see any form of a negative impact, we will attend to you so as to prevent this from happening. 

Our dentists are working behind the scenes to review each and every patient remotely to assess if an appointment is required for critical orthodontic adjustments.  

One of my attachments has fallen off

Please contact the clinic so that you can be assessed by your treating dentist.  In the meantime please continue to wear the aligner full time as if nothing has changed. 

How do I clean my aligners?

Your dentist will have given you personalised instructions on how to clean your aligners.

However as a general protocol we recommend the following;

  • Give your teeth a good clean or at least a thorough rinse after eating before placing the aligner back into your mouth.
  • Give your aligner a thorough clean at least once a day by brushing it under warm running water.  We prefer soft bristled toothbrushes with a small amount of hand soap if needed. Please avoid using tooth paste.
  • Avoid hot water as this may warp the plastic materials.
  • Soak the aligner using the aligner cleaning tablets supplied (Suresmile) to help maintain its freshness and kill bacteria.
My aligner has broken, what do I do?

In most cases we recommend that you move back to the last aligner and contact our clinic to explain the situation.  If you are however within 2 days of the end of wear cycle for that aligner, then we recommend you move forwards to the next aligner.

If you are unsure please contact the clinic so that your situation can be assessed by your treating dentist. 

I think I am clenching/grinding. What should I do?
As with all new experiences, wearing aligners will require some adjustment. Grinding is but one aspect of this adjustment and is a normal part of orthodontic treatment due to the fact that your bite is ever changing. We find that this is heightened at the middle to later stages of treatment but can differ from one individual to the next.  

Patients that possessed clenching and grinding habits prior to treatment often find that this is intensified during certain stages of treatment.

However as your teeth align properly throughout the course of treatment these urges should resolve itself.   Just remind yourself that you will finish the journey with a healthy, new smile!

I’ve been clenching my jaw a lot. What can I do to relieve this tension?

Whether a patient experienced jaw tension prior to treatment or not this is commonly reported by patients undergoing any form of orthodontic treatment.  Speak to your dentist to discuss measures that may be effective in relieving your jaw tension.

Here are some techniques that you can do at home to help relieve these symptoms until you are able to see your dentist or health professional; 

  1. Daytime clenching and grinding can be minimised by simply having a greater awareness that this often happens during the day when you least expect it.  Try to be more conscious of this in order to catch yourself clenching throughout the day.
  2. Gently massage the jaw muscles for approximately 2 minutes in the following areas; the jaw joints right in front of the ears (zone 1), the cheeks (zone 2) and finally both corners of the jaw bone (zone 3) where muscle tension is often felt.  Massage will help to increase blood flow to the muscle and reduce tightness.
  3. Hot or cold compress applied to the jaw muscles.
  4. Take a hot shower.
  5. Take Paracetamol (Panadol) if required. Avoid Ibuprofen (Nurofen) or other forms of pain relief if possible unless advised by your medical doctor.
  6. Reducing stress and anxiety by means of deep breathing exercises, yoga and/or meditation.

For advanced/acute muscle pain, we recommend that you contact your local physiotherapist to arrange an emergency appointment.