West Perth Dental Centre

Handling a Lost or Broken Invisalign Aligner: Dos and Don’ts

With around 3 million Australians currently undergoing some form of orthodontic treatment, it’s clear that dental health is a priority Down Under. Among the popular forms of treatment used is the Invisalign aligner, a revolutionary orthodontic treatment that has transformed countless smiles.

However, the journey to straight teeth with Invisalign isn’t always smooth sailing. Issues such as a lost Invisalign aligner or a broken Invisalign aligner can throw your treatment off track. But don’t worry; we’ve got you covered.

This blog post will provide you with essential Invisalign care tips and guide you through the process of Invisalign replacement, should you need it. So, keep reading to learn how to keep your Invisalign treatment on track, even when unexpected issues arise.

Summary of the Content

  • Invisalign aligners are a popular form of orthodontic treatment in Australia, used by around 3 million people.

  • These aligners are made from durable, medical-grade plastic and are designed to gradually shift teeth into their desired position.

  • Proper care of Invisalign aligners is crucial to avoid issues such as a broken or lost Invisalign aligner, which can disrupt treatment and increase costs.

  • Common mistakes to avoid include eating with aligners, drinking hot beverages with aligners, improper cleaning, and leaving aligners unprotected.

  • If an Invisalign aligner breaks, it’s important to assess the damage, contact your dentist, and possibly use your previous aligner until a replacement arrives.

  • In the case of a lost Invisalign aligner, thorough searching, contacting your dentist, and using your previous or subsequent aligner are recommended steps.

  • Preventive measures include handling aligners carefully, avoiding extreme temperatures, proper storage, and correct cleaning.

  • The process of replacing a broken or lost Invisalign aligner involves contacting your dentist, ordering a replacement, and a waiting period.

Understanding Your Invisalign Aligner

Invisalign aligners, often simply referred to as aligners, are a type of orthodontic treatment that uses clear, durable plastic trays to gradually shift your teeth into their desired position. Unlike traditional braces, they’re virtually invisible and can be removed for eating, brushing, and flossing. Here’s what they’re made of and why it’s crucial to take good care of them:

  • Durable Plastic:
    Invisalign aligners are made from a special type of medical-grade thermoplastic material. This material is FDA-approved and BPA-free, making it safe for long-term use in your mouth. Despite being thin and virtually invisible, it’s incredibly strong and resistant to minor cracks for long-lasting results.

  • Importance of Care: Taking proper care of your Invisalign aligner is essential for several reasons:

    • Treatment Progress: Each aligner is custom-made to fit your teeth at a specific stage of treatment. A lost or broken Invisalign aligner can disrupt your treatment schedule, potentially delaying your progress.

    • Oral Health: Dirty or stained aligners can harbour bacteria, leading to dental issues such as tooth decay or gum disease.

    • Cost: Invisalign aligners are a significant investment. Taking good care of them can save you from the unnecessary cost of replacement aligners.

The Dos: How to Properly Handle Your Invisalign Aligner

Before we delve into the specifics of dealing with a lost or broken Invisalign aligner, let’s first discuss how to properly handle and care for your aligners throughout treatment. Here are some Invisalign care tips to keep your treatment on track:

  • Regular Cleaning:
    Clean your aligners daily using a soft toothbrush and mild soap. Avoid using toothpaste or coloured soaps, as they can stain your aligners. Consider using an aligner cleaner, like Invisalign cleaning crystals, for a deeper clean.

  • Safe Storage:
    Always store your aligners in their case when not in use. This reduces the risk of misplacing them and protects them from damage.

  • Proper Removal:
    Avoid using your nails or any sharp objects to remove your aligners. Instead, use your fingertips to gently remove them from the back on both sides, then slowly work your way to the front.

  • Avoid Heat:
    Never expose your aligners to heat, as it can warp the plastic. This means no hot water for cleaning and definitely no leaving them in a hot car.

Remember, a little care goes a long way so that your Invisalign treatment delivers the desired results.

The Don'ts: Mistakes to Avoid with Your Invisalign Aligner

While Invisalign aligners are designed to be durable and user-friendly, certain actions can lead to a broken Invisalign aligner or even a lost Invisalign aligner. Here are common mistakes to avoid:

  • Eating with Aligners:
    Invisalign aligners are not designed to withstand the pressure of chewing. Always remove your aligners before eating to avoid damaging them. Eating with your aligners can cause them to crack or warp, which can lead to discomfort and ineffective treatment.

  • Drinking Hot Beverages with Aligners:
    Hot drinks can warp the plastic aligner trays, altering their shape and effectiveness. To avoid this, remove your aligners before drinking anything hot. This includes coffee, tea, and even hot water. The heat can distort the shape of your aligners, making them less effective in moving your teeth.

  • Improper Cleaning:
    Using harsh cleaning agents or abrasive brushes can scratch your aligners, making them less clear and more noticeable. Use mild soap and a soft toothbrush for cleaning. Avoid using abrasive toothpaste or coloured soaps, as they can scratch or stain your aligners. Use Invisalign cleaning crystals to remove stains and debris not removed by regular cleaning.

  • Leaving Aligners Unprotected:
    When your aligners are not in your mouth, they should be in their case. Leaving them exposed increases the risk of damage and loss. Pets, in particular, are attracted to the smell of your aligners and may see them as chew toys.

The consequences of these mistakes can range from minor inconveniences to significant setbacks in your treatment plan. A broken Invisalign aligner or a lost Invisalign aligner can disrupt your aligner schedule, delay your treatment progress, and increase your treatment cost.

What to Do If Your Invisalign Aligner Breaks

If you find yourself with a broken Invisalign aligner, don’t panic. Here are the steps to take:

  • Assess the Damage:
    Determine the extent of the damage. If a minor crack is present, it may not impact your treatment; however, if the cracked pieces begin to separate or if there is a broken piece, it is necessary to replace the aligner tray. It is advised not to wear the aligner in this situation, as it could potentially affect the alignment of your teeth.

  • Contact Your Dentist:
    As soon as you notice the damage, get in touch with your dentist. They can advise you on the next steps and arrange for an Invisalign replacement if necessary. Your dentist will assess the situation and provide you with the right course of action.

  • Use Your Previous Aligner:
    If advised by your dentist, you might need to wear your previous tray until you can get a replacement. This will help keep your treatment on track. It’s always a good idea to keep your previous aligner as a backup.

Remember, time is of the essence when dealing with a broken Invisalign aligner. The sooner you act, the less likely it is to impact your treatment plan.

Dealing with a Lost Invisalign Aligner

A lost Invisalign aligner can be a source of stress, but it’s important to act quickly and calmly. Here’s what to do:

  • Search Thoroughly:
    Look for your aligner anywhere you might have removed it, such as near the sink, in the bathroom, or in your bag. Check your napkins before throwing them away, as it’s common for people to wrap their aligners in napkins during meals and accidentally discard them.

  • Contact Your Dentist:
    Notify your dentist about the lost aligner. They can provide guidance on the next steps. Depending on how long you’ve been wearing the lost aligner, your dentist might recommend moving on to the next one or ordering a replacement.

  • Use Your Previous or Subsequent Aligner:
    Depending on the stage of your treatment, your dentist might advise you to wear your previous aligner or move on to the next one in the series. This is why keeping your old aligners is important, as they can serve as a temporary replacement in case of loss.

Losing an aligner can be a setback, but with quick action and the right Invisalign care tips, it doesn’t have to derail your journey to a beautiful smile.

How to Prevent Your Invisalign Aligner from Breaking

While we’ve covered what to do if you find yourself with a broken Invisalign aligner, prevention is always better than cure. Here are some tips to keep your aligners intact and your treatment on track:

  • Handle with Care:
    Always remove your aligners with clean, dry hands. Start at the back of your mouth on both sides, then slowly work your way to the front. Avoid yanking or pulling too hard, which can cause the aligner to crack.

  • Avoid Extreme Temperatures:
    Exposing your aligners to hot temperatures can cause them to warp and lose their shape. Always remove your aligners before drinking hot beverages, and never leave them in a hot car or near a heat source.

  • Store Properly:
    When not in use, store your aligners in their case. This protects them from damage and reduces the risk of a lost Invisalign aligner.

  • Clean Correctly:
    Use a soft toothbrush and mild soap to clean your aligners. Avoid using abrasive toothpaste or coloured soaps, as they can stain the aligners or scratch their surface.

Following these Invisalign care tips can reduce the risk of a broken aligner tray and keep your treatment progressing smoothly.

The Process of Replacing a Broken or Lost Invisalign Aligner

If you end up with a broken tray or lost Invisalign aligner, it’s important to know the process for getting a replacement. Here’s what you can expect:

  • Contact Your Dentist:
    The first step is to get in touch with your dentist. They will assess the situation and determine the next steps to be taken.

  • Ordering a Replacement:
    If necessary, your dentist will order a replacement aligner tray for you. This usually involves taking new impressions or scans of your teeth.

  • Waiting Period:
    It can take a few weeks for your new aligners to arrive. Depending on your dentist’s advice, you may need to wear your previous aligner or move on to the next one.

Your dentist plays a crucial role in this process, providing guidance and facilitating the Invisalign replacement process. It’s important to inform them of any issues with your aligners as soon as they arise.

Final Thoughts

Navigating the world of orthodontic treatment can be daunting, but with the right knowledge and care, you can keep your Invisalign treatment on track, even when faced with a broken or lost Invisalign aligner. Remember, the key to successful treatment is proper care and handling of your aligners, quick action when issues arise, and open communication with your dentist.

If you have any concerns or issues with your Invisalign aligners, don’t hesitate to reach out to your dentist. They are there to support you throughout your treatment journey so you can achieve the smile you’ve always wanted.

If you’re in need of professional dental advice or are considering Invisalign treatment, feel free to book a consultation appointment with us at West Perth Dental Centre. You can reach us by phone or through our website. We’re here to help you achieve a healthy, beautiful smile.

Dr. Michael Wu


Dr. Michael Wu

Dr. Michael Wu holds a Doctor of Dental Medicine degree from the University of Western Australia. He never stops learning and regularly attends post-graduate education seminars, courses, and conferences to ensure he is providing his patients with excellent dental care.

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