Keeping And Re-Using Your Invisalign Trays

Keeping And Re-Using Your Invisalign Trays

Once used, should you keep or throw away your transparent plastic trays?

In today’s world we are increasingly conscious of the need to preserve the environment and perhaps not live in such a disposable way as we have in the past. This probably suits the natural ‘hoarders’ amongst us, but may be more challenging for those who like to replace things regularly and often.

At our Greenwich dental practice, we try to be as ‘eco friendly’ as we can, and most of our dental equipment is sterilised and re-used. Some products, such as surgical gloves, have to be replaced to prevent cross infection. One of the more unusual, but perhaps not illogical, questions that we sometimes get asked on ‘green’ subjects, is what patients should do with their Invisalign trays once they have been used.

During the treatment period

As regular readers of this Confidental Clinic blog will know, the discreet Invisalign treatment uses a series of transparent plastic trays, made from impressions that are taken of your teeth. Each of these trays are worn for a short period of time, usually a few weeks. During this time, the trays will work to gently coax the misaligned teeth towards their desired position. The tray is then removed so that the next in the series can be fitted, and the correction continues on a gradual basis.

What do you do though, when you have finished with a tray? Should you keep it, or simply throw it away?

We generally recommend that patients undergoing this treatment should keep the tray that they have just taken out and store it somewhere safe. The reason for this is that if the tray that you are using to replace it becomes lost or damaged in any way, you can then re-fit the previous one as a ‘holding’ tray to prevent any reversing of the progress made. You should then, as soon as possible, consult our dental team to have a new tray made to replace the one that is lost or damaged.

There is no need to keep any other previous trays and these can be disposed of using the guidelines of your local council’s recycling scheme.

Full sets of trays

We can almost hear the ‘hoarders’ amongst you saying that you would probably have kept the whole series of trays ‘just in case’. There really is no need to do this at all, but, in case anyone is considering this with a view to re-using them at a later date if the teeth become crooked again, it is probably worth addressing this.

The fact is that providing that you wear your retainer, following your orthodontic treatment, to stop your teeth moving back towards incorrect positions, there should be no need for any further orthodontic treatment. If you don’t wear your retainer though, you are eventually likely  to find that your teeth return to a crooked and uneven state. It is at this point that those who have kept their trays may just consider using them again, in the hope of reversing this.

This is something that we definitely do not recommend, and you may well find that it is impossible to do so anyway. It is almost certain that your newly crooked teeth will not be in the same places as when you started your treatment previously. This may physically stop you from using trays as they won’t fit. Even if you can though, you should not do so. Each series of Invisalign trays are specifically made for each individual case and you can’t simply use the series made for your previous situation.

If you do fail to wear your retainer and find that you need to have your teeth straightened again, you will need to see the dentist at the Confidental Clinic to reassess the situation. If you leave it for a long time, you may well need to have a completely new set of trays made. If, on the other hand, you come to see us almost as soon as you notice any problems, we may be able to correct this with a faster acting type of dental brace. This will depend on the nature of the new problem and we will advise you of the best approach once we have examined your teeth.

There is little doubt that the Invisalign system is one of the most popular orthodontic treatments that we provide at our Greenwich dental clinic. It is not always the most suitable option, but where it is, patients that have used it have been delighted with it due to its discreet nature as well as the convenience of being able to remove them when they eat food or when cleaning their teeth.

If you have teeth that are crooked or uneven and would like to discover more about this innovative dental brace, we will be pleased to see you for an initial, no commitment, consultation. To make your appointment, please arrange this with our reception team by calling the Confidental Clinic on 020 8858 1422.