Health and Fitness

Clear Aligners- What I Didn’t Expect

I am in my first week of clear aligners, and even after doing a ton of research ahead of time, there are some things that I was not expecting. If you are beginning the same journey as I am, or if you are considering clear aligners, below are things you may want to consider as you weigh your options and plan your future.


Aligner buttons, or attachments, are visible.

Going into my treatment, I knew that I would need buttons to aid in the straightening process. I also knew that my two front teeth would need buttons. What I didn’t realize was how visible those buttons would be. Although they are tooth-colored, the size of the button combined with the clear aligner over it is more visible than I would like. I still feel self-conscious about it, but am learning to embrace my new look for the foreseeable future.

Clear Aligners
Tray 1, Day 1


My relationship with coffee is complicated.

Drinking colored liquids, like coffee, is not recommended while wearing clear aligners. The color of the coffee can stain your aligners. For someone who refers to coffee as, “happiness in a cup,” this has been the hardest adjustment to make. I still enjoy my morning coffee before work, but have eliminated my mid-morning cup because removing my aligners to drink it is too cumbersome.


Eating is a chore.

I’ve read about the “Invisalign diet” online, and those people were not joking. Removing the aligners is difficult. The angles on the buttons ensure a tight, awkward grip on my teeth. Post-eating requires brushing and flossing before re-inserting said awkwardly fitting aligners. The days of grazing from the breakroom table are now in my past. For now, I require a mirror to take out or insert my aligners.


Mouth sores can happen.

One thing I did not expect with clear aligners was mouth sores. I am hoping that as my bottom teeth straighten, the bottom of my aligners will become flush with my gums. Currently, however, my aligner sticks out from my gums at an angle that caused sores on both sides of my mouth. To make matters worse, I have buttons on my teeth in those locations, so when I removed my aligners to eat the buttons were poking and rubbing the sore area the entire time I ate. I tried rinsing with salt water for a day or so, then finally resorted to a quick Google search to see if others had any other solutions for relief. I discovered the existence of orthodontic wax and made a quick run to the store to pick some up. After applying it to the edges of the aligner that are sticking out, I have had relief and the sores are almost entirely healed. Unfortunately, every time I remove my aligners I have to reapply more wax.


Dryness is an issue.

I’ve found that the front of my aligners become dry quickly while talking. I was at a gathering the other day and was surprised to find myself continually running my tongue over the front of my top teeth to moisten them.


Chewies are still a mystery.

My clear aligners came with “chewies”, which are small, elongated pieces of rubberish material that you are supposed to chew on to help your aligners fit better. I tried one, and after gagging on it by accident, I didn’t find that it made my aligners fit any differently. Perhaps I just have well-fitting aligners for this tray.

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