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Invisalign is a type of orthodontic treatment that uses clear aligners to straighten your teeth or to treat a misaligned bite. They may be used as an alternative to traditional braces for some people.
Using impressions or digital scans of your teeth, your orthodontist is able to create a series of clear aligners. Each aligner in the series works to move your teeth a little bit at a time.
You’ll typically wear an aligner for 1 to 2 weeks before switching to the next aligner in the series. You’ll need to wear your aligner most hours of the day, only removing it to eat, drink, and clean your teeth.
In order to work well, your aligner needs to fit snugly over your teeth each time you put it in. In order to achieve this, you can use aligner seaters, or chewies. Keep reading to learn more about chewies, what they do, and how to use them.
Aligners apply gentle pressure to your teeth to move them into their new positions. In order to do this, they must fit properly over your teeth and stay in place.
Aligners are designed to gradually move your teeth. Because of this, each new aligner will differ ever so slightly from the current position of your teeth. This can sometimes make it a little difficult to get the aligner properly situated.
Aligner chewies can be used to help seat your aligner. They are soft plastic cylinders that are about the size of a cotton roll.
After you’ve put in your aligner, you can bite down on a chewie for several minutes. This repeated biting action helps your aligner to better conform to the shape of your teeth.
You may have heard that using aligner chewies can help to speed up your Invisalign or clear aligner treatment. This is partially true.
The proper fit of an aligner is essential for effective treatment. Because chewies can help improve an aligner’s fit, using them can help ensure that your treatment proceeds as planned.
In contrast, wearing aligners that don’t fit snugly over your teeth can slow treatment. This is why chewies may seem to “speed up” treatment.
When you put in an aligner, it applies gentle pressure to your teeth in order to move them. This can cause pain or discomfort, particularly when you’re just starting or when you’ve switched to a new aligner.
While feelings of discomfort can often be caused by the aligner, chewies may contribute as well. Since they require a repeated biting or chewing motion, it’s possible that your jaw may become a little sore when using them.
Discomfort or pain due to a new aligner typically goes away over time. In the meantime, you can ease this symptom using an over-the-counter (OTC) pain medication like acetaminophen (Tylenol).
Generally speaking, you’ll use chewies when:
- you’re starting out on a new aligner
- you’re replacing an aligner after a meal or after cleaning your teeth
- you’ve noticed an area of your mouth where your aligner doesn’t seem to fit well
In order for chewies to be effective, it’s important to use them correctly. To do this:
- Position your aligner in your mouth as instructed by your orthodontist. Aim to get it to fit as snugly as possible.
- Place a chewie between the teeth of your upper and lower jaw.
- Bite down repeatedly on the chewie for several seconds.
- Move the chewie to a different area of your mouth and repeat step 3. To ensure that all teeth bite the chewie, it may be helpful to start on one side of your mouth and gradually move to the other side.
- Try to use a chewie for about 5 minutes twice per day. Your orthodontist may also give you specific instructions on when and how long to use chewies.
If there’s a specific area that doesn’t seem to fit well, you can use the chewie at that location. You can tell that your aligner isn’t fitting well when there’s a visible “air gap” between your teeth and the aligner.
It’s possible that your orthodontist will give you a supply of chewies when you start with Invisalign. However, you may be wondering where you can get more.
You may be able to find chewies or similar products in the dental care section of a grocery or drugstore.
Chewies are one type of Invisalign aligner seaters. There are some alternatives available:
- Movemints. Movemints are edible mints that you can chew on to seat your aligner. They’re specially shaped to fit comfortably between your teeth when you have your aligner in. Shop for Movemints online.
- Munchies. Munchies come in several different hardness options (from gentle to firm). They’re made of silicone and return to their original shape after you bite them. Shop for Munchies online.
Aligner chewies, or aligner seaters, are small plastic cylinders that you can use with clear aligners for teeth. Biting on them can help your aligner conform well to your teeth, which is essential for effective treatment.
It’s typically recommended to use chewies for a few minutes multiple times per day. When you start using clear aligners such as Invisalign, your orthodontist will likely give you your first supply of chewies, as well as instructions on when and how to use them.
Using chewies may lead to temporary pain or discomfort that can be eased with OTC medications like acetaminophen. Talk with your orthodontist if the pain is persistent or your aligner still doesn’t appear to fit properly.