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Do You Really Have to Wear Your Aligners for 22 Hours a Day?

March 6, 2024

Filed under: Uncategorized — drjaylopez @ 3:32 pm
a woman putting her Invisalign aligners in her mouth

Most patients choose Invisalign orthodontic treatment over traditional metal braces due to the flexibility and freedom it offers. The removable trays make eating what you want, when you want, possible, and they’re ideal for patients who play instruments. They also make it much easier to maintain good dental health throughout the process. However, if you’re worried about forgetting to put your trays back in, losing them, or any other issues that could prevent you from meeting the ideal wear time, there could be consequences. Read on to learn why wearing your trays for the proper amount of time is so important.

Why Do Dentists Recommend Wearing Your Trays for 22 Hours a Day?

When your dentist tells you that you’ll need to wear your Invisalign aligners for between 20 and 22 hours a day, they’re not just giving you a recommendation—there is a very important reason for these instructions! Unlike traditional metal braces that are permanently attached to your teeth, Invisalign aligners can be taken out of your mouth to eat, brush your teeth, and do other activities. However, the treatment doesn’t work if your trays aren’t placing pressure on your teeth to straighten them! For this reason, wearing your trays for between 20 and 22 hours a day is crucial in order to see the results you’re hoping for.

3 Tips to Help You Meet Your Wear Time

Wearing your trays for 22 hours each day is possible, so long as you build good habits throughout your treatment! Here are five helpful tips to meet your wear time:

  1. Set Timers When You Take Out Your Trays: It’s incredibly common for people to take out their trays and forget to put them back in their mouth. Setting a timer on your phone, like one for 15 minutes while you’re eating breakfast, 30 minutes for lunch, an hour for dinner, and 10 minutes for brushing and flossing can not only remind you to put your trays back in your mouth, but also help you meet your wear time.
  2. Avoid Accidentally Throwing Your Trays Away: Whenever your Invisalign aligners aren’t in your mouth, keep them stored and protected in a hard case. One of the most common reasons why trays are accidentally lost or thrown away is because they’re set on a napkin or something that might get lost in the shuffle when cleaning up.
  3. Multi-Task: Instead of soaking your aligners before bed, clean them while they’re already out of your mouth during dinner. Multi-tasking will help minimize the time your trays aren’t in your mouth.

Although getting used to a new routine can feel like a hassle, all of your effort will pay off when you’re able to enjoy a healthier, straighter smile that you absolutely love!

About the Author

Dr. Jay Lopez is a 4th generation Tucson native and passionate general dentist. His diverse and extensive training allow him to offer most dental treatments under one roof, from routine checkups and cleanings to Invisalign aligners. He takes a personalized approach to care and works closely with his patients to help their dream smiles become reality. For questions or to schedule a consultation, visit Dr. Jay Lopez, DDS’ website or call 520-886-8090.