Could I Choke on My Invisalign While I Sleep?

sleeping girl for invisalign blog

This may or may not sound crazy, but I’m supposed to get Invisalign next month and I’m terrified my aligners will dislodge while I’m asleep and I’ll choke. Does this sort of thing ever happen? If so, can I only wear them during the day? I know the rules say I have to wear them all night, but isn’t wearing them some of the time better than not wearing them at all?



Dear T.,

Most removable dental appliances do come with a disclaimer that they could potentially be swallowed, but don’t let that scare you. There aren’t any reports of that actually happening and causing any harm.

Invisalign Aligners are Snug

Your aligners are made with the use of CAD/CAM technology. Basically, the computer gets the image of your mouth and maps out every single ridge and pit. Then, a map of what your mouth will look like after treatment is created, and from there, the computer automatically generates all the steps between. Each aligner gives your teeth a little nudge. Ergo, the first time you put them on, they’ll be incredibly snug. It may even take you a few times to get the hang of snapping them into place and getting them back off again because they’re not an exact fit for where your teeth are—they’re a fit for where your teeth will be. Each set is typically worn for two weeks, so by the end of those two weeks, they will be a perfect fit. In any case, they start snug and finish snug.

Aligners are Made from Durable Plastic

It’s also worth noting that the aligners are made from a tough plastic material that is designed to withstand biting forces and apply pressure to your teeth. If not for that, they wouldn’t move them. Invisalign has gone so far to patent its material. Under any kind of ordinary circumstances, they will not break. You’d actually have to work pretty hard to get them to snap. The aligners are designed to be worn a couple of weeks, but they’re durable enough that some people keep their final set for years and wear them as a retainer.

You Shouldn’t Wear Them If You’re Incapacitated

You’re naturally self-aware of what happens while you sleep. If you didn’t have some awareness, you’d fall out of bed every night. The same is true of what’s going on with your aligners. Although it’s incredibly unlikely they’d slip out of place or break, chances are you’d wake up right away if they ever did. However, if something interferes with your natural processes, such as alcohol or medications, you might not. In those cases, it would be more understandable to skip the aligners that night. Equally, if you suffer from a sleep condition and take sleep aids, it’s worthwhile to mention this to your dentist before you start treatment. Although you’d probably be fine regardless, the two of you may agree traditional braces are a better fit for your needs.

You Shouldn’t “Break the Rules”

If you don’t adhere to the schedule, the results aren’t predictable. There’s some chance your teeth will shift back to their original positions each night and you’d never make any progress. If you miss one night here and there, you probably won’t have an issue, but if it becomes a habit, you will. Lastly, as long as you’re taking care of them and switching them out when you should, they’re going to remain in top condition the whole time they’re in use. It’s once you start edging away from the instructions that you run the risk of having trouble.

This blog is sponsored by Elgin Invisalign provider, Dr. Steve Sirin.

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