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What to Do if Your Teeth Aligners Break

Published date field Last Updated:

Medically Reviewed By Colgate Global Scientific Communications

If you have clear teeth aligners, you're probably counting down the days until you can enjoy your straight smile and healthy mouth. With numerous benefits and a satisfactory alternative to metal braces, teeth aligners are a fantastic investment in your long-term oral health. But accidents happen, and as strong as clear aligners are, sometimes they break. Learn how to take care of your teeth aligners and what to do if they become damaged.

How Can I Care for My Clear Aligners?

Clear teeth aligner trays are made from a thermoplastic polyurethane resin material that custom fits to your teeth. The material is durable, smooth, and flexible, but sometimes the trays can break. Replacement aligners can cost money, so maintaining your existing trays is ideal. These care tips can keep your clear aligners safe and working correctly:

  • Take your trays out before eating anything
  • Always rinse the trays with lukewarm water after taking them out
  • Brush your teeth and practice interdental cleaning before wearing them
  • Avoid stains from food and beverages like spices, curry, wine, and coffee
  • Store old and new trays in a safe place where they can't be damaged
  • Do not clean your aligners with toothpaste or abrasive materials
  • Use two hands when removing and putting on your clear aligners
  • Aligner cleaners are commercially available for use

How Can I Fix My Teeth Aligner?

Even if your clear aligners have a minor crack, you should contact a dental professional. DIY fixes can do more harm and hinder your progress. It's best to practice caution with aligners to avoid damage that may prolong your treatment or put you at risk for injury. Depending on when the aligner broke, your dental professional may recommend moving on to the next or previous aligner tray to act as a retainer until you can visit for a refinement appointment.

What Happens if You Don't Wear an Aligner for a Few Days?

Teeth aligners are designed to be worn for 22 to 23 hours a day. Not wearing them for a few days can cause your teeth to shift back into their original position or a new misaligned position. Not only could your improvement be delayed, but your subsequent aligner trays may not fit your new teeth alignment. Forcing your trays on your teeth can lead to injury, so be sure to follow your treatment plan to avoid delays.

Clear teeth aligners are custom-made for the perfect fit. It's important to use them as intended to ensure a safe and successful treatment. Practice caution if an aligner tray breaks, so contact your dental professional to determine if it's an emergency or if it's something that can wait until your next appointment. There's always a solution if an aligner breaks. As long as you do your best to care for the trays and communicate your concerns with your dentist, you'll stay on track to get the smile you always wanted.

Oral Care Center articles are reviewed by an oral health medical professional. This information is for educational purposes only. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist, physician or other qualified healthcare provider. 

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