Are you looking for a guide to walk you through how to remove Invisalign clear aligners? If the answer to this question is yes, then you are in luck, because this article contains all of the detailed information and instructions you need.
Before starting your Invisalign treatment, you probably thought that removing your aligners, for example when you need to eat or brush your teeth, would be the simplest thing in the world. And if you have gone into your treatment with that expectation, the reality that clear braces can be rather difficult to take in and out can be a bit of a rude awakening.
Invisalign braces have to be handled firmly but carefully every time you want to remove them from your mouth – otherwise, removing them can be rather painful, not to mention the fact that you might snap your aligners in two.
If you want to become an absolute pro at handling your Invisalign aligners without hurting either them or yourself in the process, this article was written for you. Go on, read the whole thing in one sitting and learn everything you need to know about handling and removing aligners whenever you want or need to.
How to remove Invisalign aligners
Let us not beat around the bush but cut right to the chase. You are here because you want to know how to remove Invisalign aligners, and we are going to tell you precisely how to remove aligners with minimum effort, minimal discomfort, and minimal chances of accidentally breaking your braces.
In most cases, removing your aligners is refreshingly simple and easy to do – and of course, there are exceptions, but we will be getting into those later on in the article.
For the most part, Invisalign aligners can be removed by placing a fingertip on the inside of one of your back molars. It doesn’t matter whether you start with your upper or lower teeth, or with the right or left side of your mouth. You simply need to start somewhere.
Find the edge of the aligner with your finger. Now, use your fingertip to gently but firmly pull the edge of the aligner free from your teeth and gums. The key is to have patience, and to do it slowly and carefully, one little bit at a time, to minimise discomfort and any risk of breaking your aligners.
Once you have managed to loosen your Invisalign aligners ever so slightly on one side, move your attention to the other side and repeat the same process. Use microscopic movements of your fingertips to loosen the Clear aligners from the back teeth.
Loosen your aligner firmly but slowly
When the aligner has become dislodged from the molars on both sides of your mouth, the tricky part is already behind you. All that is left for you to do is to remove your front teeth where, granted, it tends to want to cling on for dear life. The secret is to handle your aligner firmly but gingerly with your fingertips. Working from both ends of your clear aligner, you will soon be able to dislodge it completely.
Removing your aligner can be a bit tricky, and a bit unpleasant, for the first few days after you begin your Invisalign treatment. This is completely normal, and after a few days, and certainly after a few weeks, you will have gotten so accustomed to the process of putting your aligners in and taking them out again that you barely need to consciously think about it anymore. Plus, it is also worth noting, your Invisalign aligners are likely to be at their tights and most uncomfortable in the beginning – not only will you get used to your aligners, your teeth will also soon have adjusted to them, which in turn has the effect of making them feel like less of an infringement and less of a chore.
When you are brand new to Invisalign aligners, you may be worried about breaking your new aligners every time you put them in or take them out for the first few days. Trust us, this feeling is going to fade, as you become more confident and comfortable handling your aligners.
Another thing worth being aware of is that new aligners are always going to feel tighter tightest the first few times you wear them. As soon a you have worn them for a couple of days, or even just a couple of hours, they are going to be slightly more cooperative the next time you take them out and put them back in again. What were are driving at here is that you should not be disappointed if removing and reinserting your new aligner takes a while and is rather uncomfortable the first few times around.
Tips and tricks for removing your Invisalign braces
Removing clear Invisalign braces from your teeth is not always going to be a walk in the park. This is particularly true in the beginning, but it is also important to keep in mind that everyone’s teeth and pain thresholds are different, and that many external factors also play into how easy or how difficult you are going to find both removing and wearing Invisalign aligners to be.
If your braces are particularly tight and stubborn when you want to remove them, here are our best tips and tricks for how to remove them anyway. Applying any or all of the following advice can make a huge difference to how easily you are able to remove and change aligners when you need to.
Insert your aligners last thing before you go to bed
If you are sensitive to discomfort, we recommend turning the insertion of your Clear aligners a part of your evening routine. Make it one of the last things you do before you go to bed, and if you think they are going to bother you overnight and keep you from getting a good night’s sleep, take a mild painkiller before you fall asleep.
By inserting your Invisalign aligners last thing before you go to bed, you ensure that you are sleeping through the first several hours of wearing them – and as you will soon discover if you are only just about to start your Invisalign treatment, the first few hours of wearing a new set of aligners are by far the most uncomfortable. After the first few hours, your teeth will already have adjusted ever so slightly to the aligner, which in turn makes the aligner easier to remove and put back in. It follows that if you go to sleep with your new aligners in and don’t remove them until it is time for your breakfast, morning coffee and brushing and flossing your teeth in the morning, you will find it a little easier to remove the aligners if you have been wearing them overnight, during which time your teeth have already slightly shifted.
Make sure your aligners aren’t cold
Did you know that temperature can have a powerful effect on how tight your Invisalign braces are, and thus on how easy or difficult it can be to remove them? Well, now you know.
Cold temperatures have a way of making most materials shrink. This tendency to shrink in cold temperatures is common in organic matter, from wood to human skin, but it also applies to the durable, flexible plastic material that Invisalign clear aligners are made of.
In other words, when the weather is cold – or if, say, you have just had a cold drink filled with ice cubes – your Invisalign braces are going to be at their tightest and most rigid. When your braces are at their most firm and unbending, you are going to have a much harder time removing them. Plus, you are also much more likely to break them.
Conversely, warmer temperatures are good for removing aligners, as they have the opposite effect, namely that of slightly relaxing and softening materials, including the material that Invisalign trays are made of. It is also worth noting that, when your aligner trays are more subtle, they are also much less likely to break as you attempt to remove them.
In order to warm up your mouth, you may choose to have a hot drink before removing your aligners. Go for a cup of herbal tea, hot cocoa or whatever your preference is. If you are not a fan of hot drinks, you can even just boil some water and slosh it around your mouth for a bit to soften your clear aligner trays before removing them. Then again, you may not want a hot drink because it is a blistering hot summer and you are already feeling overheated, in which case, you probably don’t need one. All you need to do in that case is to avoid having a very cold drink or eat just before taking your Invisalign trays out.
Start from the back teeth
Always, always, always start from the back teeth and make your way towards the front teeth when removing clear aligner trays from your mouth. Not only is this way of going about it easier, it also minimises risk of discomfort and damage to your aligner trays.
Removing clear braces is usually rather simple, as long as you are able to find the edge of the aligner so you can start loosening it.
If there is an attachment or multiple attachments, this can make the aligners more difficult to loosen and remove, so as well as starting from the back, start by lifting the parts that have no attachments, before carefully hooking your fingernails under the edge of the aligner so you can lift it up over the attachment, or over any other area where it feels stuck for that matter.
While your fingernails may be of some use to you when you need to remove your aligner trays, there are plenty of other implements and ‘props’ you can use to both speed up and ease up the process of removing your clear aligners.
One thing you can do is to try wearing surgical gloves while you remove your trays. Thick rubber gloves of the kind used for house cleaning are not really suitable because the rubber they are made of is too thick and inflexible. Surgical gloves, on the other hand, were designed for doctors and dentists to use and the material they are made of (often latex, or a latex alternative in case you are allergic) is thin and nimble. Surgical gloves allow you to get a good firm grip, while still allowing you to feel what you are doing.
Another great tip if you are having difficulty getting a grip on your aligner trays is to use kitchen paper towels. Rip off a square or two of paper towel, hold it in your hand, and place it over the aligner firmly. Now, lift the aligner off the back molar, and repeat in the other side of your mouth, and then the front teeth.
Many Invisalign patients have also reported success using a so-called outie, which is an aligner hook designed specifically to be able to get hold of the edge of the aligner so that it can be lifted off with much greater ease. Outies are easy to find on the largest online retailer platforms such as Amazon and eBay.
Some have found other inventive ways and unusual implements to help them remove their aligners – a good example could be a crochet hook or a knitting needle, though using something like this to remove your aligner is definitely not Invisalign approved. We don’t endorse it either, as you could easily damage either the aligner, your teeth or your gums if you attempt to remove your trays with crochet hooks, knitting needles and the like.
Take your time + don’t stress
Patience is key. When you are removing your clear braces, never rush it. Removing your aligners will get easier over time, both because your teeth quickly start adjusting to the aligner and because you become better at removing the trays.
You should expect it to be difficult the first time you remove your aligner. In fact, the fact that your aligner fits snugly is a good sign, an indication that our aligner fits as it should and is doing what it is supposed to do.
It is best not to remove your aligners immediately when you wake up, even if you have been wearing them all night and are hungry for breakfast! If you are able to give your aligners an extra hour of wear in the morning before you take them out, this could result in the aligners coming out a little easier as they will be less tight once your teeth have had even just a single hour extra to adjust.
It is also incredibly important not to stress and panic. If your aligner is very tight and you fail at getting hold of the edge of it a few times, you might start getting anxious, thinking that your aligner is truly stuck. This is very unlikely to be the case, so try to remain zen, take deep breaths and take your time.
Contact your dentist
Now, if your aligner truly is stuck and impossible to remove, you should contact your dentist for advice, rather than doing anything drastic. Your dentist or orthodontist has the training and the experience needed – he or she will know what to do, or will be able to remove the aligner trays for you, absolutely guaranteed.
How to insert your Invisalign aligners
You now know everything there is to know about taking them out, but how do you get your aligners in, in the first place?
Fortunately, inserting your clear aligners over your teeth is both much faster and much easier than removing them. Here is how to go about it: Place your clear aligner tray over your teeth, and gently push them down over your front teeth. Then, using your finger tips and placing them on the left and right back molars, apply firm and equal pressure on both sides until your aligner tray snaps into place. As you can see, inserting your clear aligners is precisely the reverse of removing them – it is almost the same process turned on its head.
How to care for your clear aligners throughout your Invisalign treatment
If you know hot to insert your aligners and remove them again, you have got most of the equation. However, there is a third element to a successful Invisalign treatment that results in a beautiful smile, and that is caring for and maintaining your clear aligner trays throughout the treatment process.
Cleaning your aligner trays is a daily endeavour, and one that you should not skip. For as long as you are wearing your Invisalign aligners, you should take the same great care of them that you take of your teeth everyday.
As a rule of thumb, you should wash and clean your aligners prior to each time you insert them. You should also remember to remove them before you eat, and before you drink anything other than water. When you are not wearing them, store your invisible aligners in their designated Invisalign case – and make sure that this is out of the reach of pets or small children, as they might play with and end up choking on the trays.
Cleaning your aligner trays is very straight-forward. Give them a rinse under cool tap water and then brush them using a soft bristle tooth brush and just a little bit of toothpaste. You should use a separate tooth brush for your aligner trays and not the same one that you use for brushing your teeth. After you are done brushing your aligners, give them a thorough rinse to get rid of any tooth paste residue.
Removing Invisalign clear aligners FAQ
Why is it so hard to remove Invisalign?
Invisalign trays can be difficult to remove, particularly at the beginning, when you are new to wearing aligners and your aligner trays are new. Over time, you will become better and faster at removing your clear aligners. Some of that comes down to your teeth shifting, which makes the aligners easier to remove, and some of it comes down to having more experience removing them.
How do you remove Invisalign aligners?
Once the two ends of your aligners have become slightly loose, use your fingertips to loosen the rest, working your way in from the sides and ending with the front teeth and any difficult areas, such as any areas where there are attachments in place.
To make things a little easier for yourself, wear surgical gloves or use a bit of kitchen paper to get a better grip on the aligner. You can also purchase a specially designed tool called an ‘outie,’ which is a small metal hook that you can, well, hook under the edges of the aligner trays in order to lift them.
How can you remove Invisalign without it hurting?
Start by making sure that your aligners are not too cold. If you are freezing, or if you have just had an ice cold drink, your aligner trays are going to be tighter and stiffer than if you are warm or have just had a nice hot cup of tea. A lot of different materials respond to cold temperatures by shrinking and tightening, and the plastic material that Invisalign aligner trays are made of is one of them.
Waiting a bit longer before removing your aligners can also make a huge difference. The hardest time to remove aligners is always going to be soon after you have inserted them. The reason why they are easier to remove once a little more time has passed – and here, even an hour counts – is that your teeth are constantly subtly shifting positions while you are wearing your aligner. Once your teeth have adjusted slightly, the aligner will be easier to slip off.
In addition to timing, patience and the right temperature conditions, use tools and implements to help you gently lift and remove your Invisalign trays. Surgical gloves are a good idea, as they help you get a grip, and paper kitchen towel is another option. Some people use fingernails or even knitting needles, but we recommend sparing your finger nails and purchasing an outie, a specially designed tool that is able to slip under the edges of aligner trays.
Can Invisalign get stuck?
Having said that, it is not unthinkable that your clear aligners really do get stuck, and if that happens, the right course of action is to call your dentist.
So, now you know how to remove Invisalign aligners with minimum effort, minimum discomfort and no breakage.
If you have been worried about getting Invisalign clear aligners because you are worried that you may not be able to get them on and off whenever you need to eat or brush your teeth, we hope that this article has shown you that there are plenty of actionable steps you can take and simple tools you can use that will make it easier to slip your aligners on and off at will.
And of course, let us not neglect to repeat that clear aligners do get easier to insert and to remove once you have worn them just a few times. As soon as you have worn them for a few hours, your teeth will have slightly adjusted and the aligners will be significantly easier to lift off.