Invisalign clear aligners are becoming increasingly popular for teenagers and adults who want a straight smile without a mouthful of metal. Millions of patients have had their teeth straightened by Invisalign clear aligners. They’re designed to fit your teeth and move them using gentle pressure. But what happens when your clear aligners don’t fit as well as expected?
“Tracking” is the technical term for your Invisalign trays fitting your teeth perfectly. When they don’t track correctly, it could cause delays in your treatment. What causes your Invisalign not to track properly, and what can you do about it? Wilson & Hendrickson Orthodontics has seen tracking issues before, and we know what it takes to fix them. Let’s find out more about what tracking is and what causes your Invisalign not to track correctly.
What Is Invisalign Tracking?
What exactly do we mean by your Invisalign tracking? Your Invisalign trays are created using advanced software and digital imaging, and x-rays to fit your teeth precisely. Invisalign works by creating sets of trays that should be changed out every 1-2 weeks. Each new set moves the teeth in certain ways until they’re straight and your bite is corrected. You will get several sets over the course of your treatment, each designed to fit or track perfectly. That means the trays fit flush against all of the teeth.
Sometimes during treatment, the trays don’t track correctly, and you get an air gap in the Invisalign trays. Is the air gap in Invisalign from poor tracking? Most likely. Why are there air gaps in your Invisalign? Why does your Invisalign not fit one tooth or not fit several teeth?
Why Your Invisalign Is Not Fitting
The main reason your Invisalign isn’t tracking is likely that you’re not wearing your aligners as prescribed. Invisalign is designed to work as long as you follow your orthodontist’s instructions. When you don’t, problems arise, including poor tracking of Invisalign.
The main reason for poor tracking is because a patient doesn’t wear the Invisalign trays 22 hours a day. Invisalign can be removed for eating, brushing, and flossing. That means you can’t do a lot of snacking, or you risk running over your allotted time without your Invisalign.
While Invisalign doesn’t have the food restrictions braces have, there are certain things you need to avoid to keep from discoloring your Invisalign. The main draw to Invisalign is that they are clear and nearly invisible on the teeth. But certain foods, drinks, and habits can stain them. Dark liquids like sodas, coffee, tea, or fruit juices can discolor Invisalign over time, so you’ll need to remove your trays when drinking those liquids. That’s why we encourage you to drink water between meals and leave these liquids for meal times when your trays are removed anyway.
Smoking can also discolor your Invisalign, which is why we encourage you not to smoke during treatment. Otherwise, if you remove your trays every time you smoke, you will not reach your 22 hours of prescribed time to wear your Invisalign. Wilson & Hendrickson Orthodontics has some suggestions that can help you quit smoking if you choose.
Other Reasons Your Invisalign Isn’t Tracking
There are other ways your Invisalign could go off track, and many of them can be avoided. Invisalign are made of tough acrylic that can withstand a lot, but they can still be damaged. When you get your Invisalign, we’ll give you instructions on how to remove them properly by using a fingernail and pulling down or lifting up both sides at once. If not done properly, your trays can be damaged during removal. The tray can be bent or twisted, making it harder to fit properly when it’s put back into your mouth.
You also need to store your Invisalign in a proper case when they’re not in your mouth. Otherwise, you run the risk of your trays becoming damaged. You want to keep them out of reach of small children or pets because they can damage your aligners. (Pets especially are attracted to the smell of your saliva on the trays and may try to chew on them.)
Finally, make sure you keep your clear aligners away from extreme heat. Don’t ever rinse them in anything hotter than lukewarm water. Heat can warp or damage your clear aligners. Never leave them in a hot vehicle, use very hot water to rinse them or put them in the dishwasher. Keep them out of direct sunlight, as well.
Basically, take care of your clear aligners, and they will work well for you.
How Do I Fix My Invisalign Gaps?
There are ways you can get your Invisalign back on track. Invisalign Chewies are designed to press the tray closer to your teeth and help remove the gap. These chewies look like small cylinders of a foam-like material similar to earplugs. They are gentle on the Invisalign and your teeth but provide enough pressure to correct the Invisalign gaps. You move the chewies from one tooth to the next, biting with each tooth. This will get the clear aligners back on track.
If necessary, we can backtrack to a previous set of Invisalign, which is why we don’t want you to throw out your old Invisalign. We will let you know whether backtracking is necessary. Do not decide to go back to old Invisalign trays yourself without consulting us first. It can throw off your treatment and delay when your treatment ends.
Finally, if your trays are damaged or warped, call us right away. We will work on getting you replacements if necessary, or we may move you forward to the next set or back to the previous set, depending on when in your treatment they have been warped.
Invisalign Treatment in Topeka, KS
If you’re considering Invisalign treatment, you can schedule an appointment to visit our office in Topeka, KS, or Seneca, KS. We will not only fit you for Invisalign, but we will explain to you what you need to do to care for your Invisalign properly. Our team and staff will encourage you to wear your Invisalign 22 hours a day, and we’ll be there for you if any issues arise during your treatment or afterward.