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Clear teeth straighteners

Invisalign aligners and storage case. Invisible braces. Clear teeth straighteners. plastic bracers


At Shine Orthodontics in Thornton, CO, Invisalign is one of our favorite treatment methods to create the smile you deserve discreetly. Each Invisalign aligner is custom-made according to Dr. Brandon Scheer’s treatment plan. When you wear them, the aligners gently and safely move your teeth into the correct alignment. So long as each aligner fits snugly, you are on the right path!

Every patient’s journey with Invisalign looks slightly different, but one of the most common concerns is the Invisalign fit. Our orthodontist sometimes hears, “Why is my Invisalign not fitting?” or “Why is my Invisalign not fitting on one tooth?” If this happens to you, don’t worry. It may just be a sign that it’s time to break out your Invisalign chewies, or bite sticks. 

In this blog, we will cover the following: 

  • How Invisalign should fit
  • Why your Invisalign aligners are not fitting properly
  • Three steps to get your Invisalign to fit again

How should Invisalign fit?

If you are new to Invisalign, it may take you a couple of weeks to get comfortable with the feeling of aligners. Generally, your Invisalign tray should sit snugly over your teeth without any gaps or bubbles. However, when you start a new set of aligners, you might notice some small spaces around your teeth — this is normal! 

Each set of aligners is carefully designed to achieve specific tooth movements. After a few days of wearing an Invisalign tray, the aligners should be looser, and your teeth should fill in those gaps. We refer to this as “tracking,” which means how effectively your teeth move into their correct positions and fill the spaces. 

Before moving onto your next Invisalign tray, there should be no visible gaps between your teeth and the aligners.

Why aren’t my Invisalign fitting properly?

Are your Invisalign popping off the back of your teeth? The most common reason we see our patients’ Invisalign not fitting properly is due to their amount of wear. You should wear your aligners for at least 20 hours per day. If each set of aligners isn’t worn long enough to move your teeth properly, your new set will have even larger gaps.

Ideally, we recommend patients wear their Invisalign trays for 22 hours to achieve optimal results. You remove your trays only to eat, drink, brush, and floss.

Pro Tip: Bring a travel-sized toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss while on the go. This allows you to clean your teeth and pop in those aligners no matter where you are or where you’re going! 

How do I get my Invisalign aligners to fit?

Step 1: Use your “Chewies” or “Bite sticks”

Remember those colorful, spongy sticks we gave you when you first got your Invisalign? Now is the time to put them to work. 

How to use your Invisalign chewies is very simple. Start by analyzing where the gaps are between your aligner and your teeth. Use your Invisalign chewy to bite down on the area and hold by pressing your teeth into the material. Repeat several times for each area that has spaces. Then, move on until you’ve bitten down on the chewy with every tooth, for a total of about 10 minutes a day. 

As you bite down on a chewy, your aligners will be massaged over your teeth, encouraging them to move to their proper position. 

Your chewies or bite sticks should be your first line of defense as soon as you notice your Invisalign aligners not fitting properly. If you find that this isn’t working, move on to Step 2.

Pro Tip: Are your Invisalign popping off your back teeth? A common complaint we hear from our patients is that their Invisalign doesn’t fit their back teeth or that their Invisalign is not fitting their back molar. If you are experiencing this, remove your aligner, and squeeze it with your fingers to close the opening tighter. Sometimes this is all it takes to get your aligners to fit more snugly over your teeth.

Step 2: Ask your Orthodontist about “Backtracking” to Your Previous Set 

Have you been consistently using your chewies, but your aligner still isn’t fitting properly? The next step may be to “backtrack” to your previous aligners.

Wearing a previous set of aligners for an additional week or so may shift your teeth to their desired place and allow your treatment to catch up. It is important that you not do this without consulting your orthodontist first! Dr. Scheer may ask you to come in for an appointment or complete a virtual check-in to assess your progress and ensure this is the right course of action.

Step 3: Schedule a Check-up With Your Orthodontist

If nothing seems to work, schedule an appointment with your orthodontist. Whether your Invisalign aligner was inadvertently warped from washing it in hot water or something else is going on, Dr. Scheer will figure out the reason and get your Invisalign journey back on track.

Keep wearing your aligners! 

Even if there are some gaps between the plastic of your aligner and your teeth, your Invisalign is still working. Try using chewies, manually fixing the back of your aligner, and asking your orthodontist about backtracking to see if you can adjust your aligners. 

If you still find yourself struggling to achieve the proper Invisalign fit, schedule an appointment at Shine Orthodontics today. 

Haven’t started treatment yet? Book a complimentary consultation with our Thornton, CO orthodontist and Invisalign provider to find out if clear aligners are the best option for you!