I’m really freaked out that I’m going to catch coronavirus from my Invisalign. Most people are at home and staying away from the general public, but I work in a grocery store and they’ve got me working all kinds of overtime right now. I’m really careful about not handling my aligners at work but I do take them out when I have my lunch break. Should I stop wearing them altogether? If I do, will it mess up my treatment?
This question inevitably gets asked a lot during flu season but everyone is hyper-aware now with coronavirus too. Care practices don’t shift because of COVID-19 but you can take extra precautions if they set your mind at ease.
There’s no reason to stop using your aligners. There’s nothing to suggest that wearing them increases your risk of getting sick, but you are going to want to be especially mindful about hygiene since you do handle them at work where you’re presumably exposed to hundreds if not thousands of people each day.
The greatest risk is going to be when you’re taking the aligners off to eat. It may go without saying, but you’ll want to be sure you’re not handling them unless your hands are freshly washed. You’ll also want to be sure you’re putting them someplace safe while you eat. Their case is the best place. For an added layer of protection, you can place them in a plastic Ziplock-style bag as well.
During this time, you may be tempted to disinfect your aligners will all sorts of household cleaners. They’re not designed for this and many cleaners can degrade the plastic, thus ruining your aligners or changing their color. While the CDC does not recommend vinegar because it’s not an EPA-registered disinfectant, it has demonstrated antimicrobial activity. If you choose to use this or bleach, dilute them to minimize damage to your aligners.
It’s important to note that your teeth are mobile right now. By design, the aligners gradually move your teeth into their desired places. They don’t firm up right away when you finish treatment, which is why retainers are used. Ergo, if you stop treatment right now and don’t do anything to make sure your teeth stay where they’ve moved to, they will start shifting again. That means you’re not only out the time you didn’t wear the aligners but may backtrack some too. Moreover, your teeth may shift into positions that don’t match your aligners. If this happens, you’ll have to have them made again, which can be costly as well.
Bottom Line: Keep wearing your aligners. Just be sure you’re practicing good hygiene.
This blog is sponsored by Dr. Steve Sirin, an Elgin Invisalign provider.