When it comes to achieving a flawless smile, clear aligners have become the go-to choice for many patients. While they’re a fantastic alternative to traditional braces, aligners come with their own set of challenges. One of the most common issues? Losing an aligner. But don’t panic – we’ve got you covered.
Steps You Should Take if You Lose an Aligner
Unlike braces, clear aligners are removable. For this reason, it is not hard to misplace them. Here are some steps you should take if you suddenly realize your aligners have been lost or misplaced.
Step 1: Stay Calm and Retrace Your Steps
First things first, stay calm. Losing an aligner might feel like a disaster, but it happens to most patients at one point or another. Think back to the last time you had your aligner and what you have done since so you can retrace your steps. If you took them out to eat or drink, they might still be in their case or wrapped in a napkin. Consider the possibility that you may have discarded them in the trash when cleaning up your meal.
If you are still unable to find your aligners, check any places where you commonly remove them or typically store them when you do. This may include your bathroom, kitchen, purse, backpack, or gym bag.
Step 2: Keep Your Previous Aligner Set Safe
Sometimes, no matter how hard you look, you will not be able to find your missing aligners. This is one of the reasons why it is essential to keep your previous set of aligners. They can act as a temporary solution in situations like this.
Wear your previous aligner to ensure your teeth don’t shift back to their original positions while you wait for a replacement. Remember to clean the aligner thoroughly before using it again. If you are scheduled to replace your current set in a short time, you may simply want to move on to the next set instead. If you are unsure which option to choose, move on to step 3.
Step 3: Contact Your Orthodontist
Next, reach out to your orthodontist. They will likely ask about the specifics of your situation, such as how long you’ve been wearing your current set and how many days are left in your treatment plan. Based on this information, they’ll determine the best course of action and guide you through the next steps.
As we mentioned, if you’re close to completing the time recommended for your current aligner, they may suggest moving on to the next set. If not, they may consider ordering a replacement aligner.
Step 5: Learn from the Experience
Lastly, take a moment to reflect on how you lost the original one. By identifying the cause, you can take steps to prevent it from happening again. For example, if you lost your aligner while eating out, consider investing in a brightly colored aligner case to make it easier to spot, or make a habit of placing your aligner in your pocket or bag immediately after removing it.
Avoid Losing Your Aligners
Clear aligners can be a considerable investment, so it is essential to keep them safe. To help avoid losing another aligner, follow these tips:
- Avoid taking out your aligners. We recommend you only remove them to eat, drink certain beverages, brush your teeth, and clean your aligners.
- Always store your aligner in its designated case when not in use.
- Never wrap your aligner in a napkin or tissue, as it can easily be mistaken for trash and thrown away.
- Keep your aligner out of reach of pets, as they may decide it is a chew toy.
- Establish a routine for removing and storing your aligner, such as always placing it in the same spot in your bathroom or bag.
- Set reminders on your phone or use sticky notes as visual cues to remind you to put your aligner back in after eating or drinking.
Stay On Track with Your Treatment
Losing an aligner is just a small bump in the road to your perfect smile. By following these steps, you can minimize the impact of a lost aligner and continue on your journey to a straighter, more confident smile.
If you’re interested in learning more about clear aligners or other cosmetic dental treatments, don’t hesitate to reach out to our office.