The Importance of Wearing Your Clear Aligners for the Recommended Time Each Day

Spark Aligners doctor and smiling woman holding aligners

Clear aligners can be an excellent way to invest in your smile, allowing you to get the straighter, beautiful smile that you want without braces. However, much like with braces, clear aligners are an investment and come with strict guidelines you need to follow if you wish to get the most out of the experience. Some aligner patients may find wearing clear aligners for the specified amount of time each day a challenge. But how long should you wear clear aligners and what happens if you don’t wear them for the recommended time each day?

If you want to ensure that you avoid any potential issues along the way to your dream smile let’s take a closer look at the importance of wearing your aligners for the recommended time.

How Long Do You Wear Clear Aligners?

Before we dive into the consequences of not wearing the aligners for the prescribed amount of time each day, it’s important to understand just how long you are supposed to wear them. Because aligners are designed to straighten your teeth over time, you will need to wear your aligners throughout most of your day. It’s recommended that you wear your aligners for around 22 hours daily, which gives you around two hours to eat and drink your favorite foods and beverages outside of this recommended timeframe.

Of course, the question “how long do you wear clear aligners?” can quickly shift into, “what happens if I don’t wear my clear aligners for as long as I’m directed?” Hopefully, the following information will illustrate the importance of doing so as your smile can be heavily impacted by making the decision to keep them out for longer than recommended!

What Happens When You’re Not Wearing Clear Aligners 22 Hours Daily?

Braces are in your mouth for the entire period during treatment. This prevents you from taking them out to eat or drink. Clear aligners, on the other hand, require a great deal of responsibility and diligence as these items can easily be removed if you find yourself dealing with discomfort, not wanting to wear them, or simply forgetting to put them back in. But what happens when you’re not wearing your aligners for the directed length of time each day?

Much like with retainers, failure to comply with the daily timeframe may result in shifting. Put simply, without clear aligners to promote the micromovements needed to move your teeth to the desired position for a straighter smile, your teeth may end up returning to their original positions. In the worst-case scenario, your teeth could shift so dramatically that you may end up requiring new clear aligners to be made for you. This can be costly and require you to reset your progress and start from the beginning.

More importantly, failing to wear your clear aligners as directed may also result in discomfort once you put them back in. When you first begin wearing clear aligners, you may experience some mild pain and discomfort as your teeth shift over time. This pain or discomfort is only temporary. If you should continue to ignore wearing your clear aligners as directed, the shifting may result in discomfort as you progress through your treatment.**

Put simply, not wearing your aligners long enough can cause discomfort, cause your teeth to shift, eliminate some of your progress, and cost you money and time as you work to rectify the changes that occurred as a result. If you want to get the most out of your clear aligners, pay careful attention to the “how long do you wear clear aligners?” section above, and stick to the 22-hour window provided to ensure that you stay on track!

Smiling woman in doctor chair using Spark Aligners

Helpful Tips to Avoid Potential Issues Along the Way

Wearing clear aligners can be a major adjustment! However, there are ways to work around this so that you don’t end up erasing your progress and dealing with the consequences of failing to wear your aligners as directed. Here are a few helpful tips to help you along the way.

  • Record Your Eating Habits: If you eat frequently throughout the day, it can be easy to snack or enjoy a meal and forget to put your aligners back in. Take some time to record your eating habits and see how often you eat and how long you eat. This will allow you to get a better idea of whether or not you’re able to stay within the two-to-four-hour window provided, and what you can do to ensure that you will once you have your clear aligners.
  • Set Alarms or Reminders to Put Your Aligners Back In: Not wearing aligners for the recommended length of time each day may be attributed to forgetfulness. If you’re someone who might accidentally forget to put your aligners back in after a snack or a meal, set an alarm or write yourself a reminder so that you don’t run the risk of leaving them out for too long.
  • Drink Cold Water for Pain or Discomfort: Discomfort may cause some patients to remove their aligners for longer periods of time. However, minor discomfort is part of the process.** You can address this by drinking cold water or looking for other ways to soothe this discomfort.

Clear aligners can be an adjustment, but there are plenty of ways to stay on top of your aligner habits to get the best possible results.

Get the Smile You Deserve with Spark Clear Aligners

Spark Clear Aligners are clear, comfortable, easy-to-wear aligners that help you receive the smile you want.* If you’re ready to wear your aligners for the recommended amount of time each day, start your Spark Journey and find a Spark Aligners Provider near you!

*Data on file
**IFU 070-0141 Rev. F-UserGuide:

The individuals portrayed in this image are models and the product displayed was placed for demonstration-purposes only, not an actual treatment.