Staying Safe & Healthy With Invisalign During COVID-19

There have been many challenges in the past year, and the COVID-19 pandemic has put a lot of things in perspective. We’ve had to be creative and flexible to keep up with the changing times, but we didn’t let that get in the way of providing our world-class orthodontic care! Brodsky Orthodontics has been fortunate to continue providing the Lakewood community with a variety of affordable treatment options, including Invisalign clear aligners. In fact, we’ve really seen this particular system take off over the last several months! 

For teens and adults looking for a subtle way to straighten their smile, Invisalign clear aligners can be a fantastic solution. As former Invisalign patients themselves, Drs. Joel and Charles Brodsky can tell you firsthand about how successful this system can be! Invisalign has always been our most popular alternative to traditional braces, but we’ve recently come to realize that the aligners offer even more benefits than we realized. The biggest one at the moment? They’re easier to navigate in a pandemic! Let’s take a look at a few more reasons why Invisalign is more popular than ever.  

Invisalign keeps things flexible 

Although they look very different, Invisalign aligners straighten smiles the same way traditional braces do. Both appliances use a continuous application of gentle force to move the teeth into more optimal positions. To produce the level of force needed, aligners are custom-designed to be worn over the patient’s teeth for 20-22 hours each day. Each aligner will be switched out for the next in the series every 1-2 weeks to keep up with the movements the teeth are making over time. 

We generally provide Invisalign patients with several weeks’ worth of aligners at a time, which gets a big thumbs up from patients going through treatment in a pandemic. If the current set of aligners runs out before the next scheduled appointment, we can arrange curbside pick-up for the next set so there’s no need to physically enter the office. If a patient or parent has questions, we’re happy to set up a virtual appointment so they can speak with one of our doctors and discuss their concerns. These socially-distanced options let patients continue with their treatment plan safely, effectively, and without delay! 

Invisalign allows us to troubleshoot simple solutions

Once a patient has run out of their last set of aligners, the treatment process may be complete as is, or it may be time for a revision scan. These scans tell us if any additional aligners are required to achieve the desired results. The temporary closings and stay-at-home orders we’ve experienced since last March have occasionally affected our ability to get patients in quickly. Fortunately, it’s easy to get past this if the patient is using Invisalign clear aligners!  

For example, if we aren’t able to provide a patient with a new set of aligners right away, they can continue wearing their last set with one difference—instead of the normal 20-22 hours, these aligners should only be worn for 10-12 hours each day. Doing so will extend the life of the aligners until an appointment is available. It also keeps the patient’s treatment plan on track and ensures that no important progress is lost.

It’s essential to keep pressure on the teeth both during and after treatment is complete. Without the force that aligners or a retainer provide, the teeth will eventually begin to shift back into their previous places. Lost progress may lead to longer treatment times and subpar results, which is why we recommend that patients keep the aligners from their previous set. This gives them an easy stopgap measure while they’re waiting for a new set. 

Invisalign makes it easy to maintain your oral health

Throughout this pandemic, we’ve been reminded by all the experts to keep our hands away from the face and mouth. This limits the spread of germs and slows the rate of infection, but it’s good advice that Invisalign patients can’t necessarily follow! Wearing aligners means touching your mouth multiple times a day, so it’s more important than ever to practice good hygiene. 

This is a simple task with Invisalign! The trays are designed to be removed before eating and drinking anything other than water. They should also be taken out before brushing and flossing the teeth. We recommend that all patients wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before removing aligners from the mouth. Special care should be taken with the fingernails and fingertips since these will come into the closest contact with the mouth and aligners.

Washing your hands is the first line of defense against germs and bacteria, so it’s important to do it properly. This video shows you how to wash your hands quickly and effectively! If you don’t have access to soap and water, hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol can be used in a pinch. When used correctly, these products are fast-acting and can significantly reduce the number of germs on the skin.

Once aligners have been removed, they should always be placed in a clean sealed container or left to soak in an approved solution. This keeps them safe from bacteria and also prevents them from being accidentally misplaced or thrown out. Before putting aligners back in the mouth, patients should wash their hands again and rinse the aligner with water. Practicing this kind of care becomes routine in no time and will protect a patient’s oral and total body health.

Staying Safe & Healthy With Invisalign During COVID-19

Invisalign aligners are less likely to need attention 

The brackets and wires that make up traditional braces can be bent or broken, which sometimes results in a need for immediate attention by an orthodontist. Because Invisalign aligners are just one piece and made from a durable clear material, they don’t tend to break very often. That being said, they aren’t indestructible! The aligners can still tear or crack, especially if they’re not handled with care.  

Patients should let our office know any time an aligner is damaged or lost. If there’s  only relatively minor damage to deal with, the aligner may still be worn until it’s time for the next in the series. Patients shouldn’t use any aligner that’s been cracked or split in a way that prevents it from holding its shape, though. This may be painful and it won’t be able to provide the consistent pressure needed to move the teeth anyway. If this occurs, we may need to make a replacement or our doctors may recommend using the next aligner in the series a little earlier than expected.

Brodsky Orthodontics offers safe and effective treatment in 2021

We may be getting used to “new normals” with COVID-19 for a while yet, but Invisalign still makes it easy to achieve a beautiful smile! If you’ve been thinking about taking steps to improve your oral health, 2021 could be your year! Get in touch today to schedule your FREE consultation with our Lakewood office.