Invisalign aligners are removable, meaning patients can remove them to eat, drink, and care for their teeth. This can make it tempting to remove them more often than prescribed… and that’s where compliance indicators come in.
To keep your orthodontic treatment on track, you must wear your Invisalign aligners at least 22 hours a day.
The more often you take your aligners out and the longer you keep them out, the more significant the setbacks to your treatment will be. For patients who do not comply with proper wear, treatment will take much longer than anticipated.
To help remedy this problem, Invisalign Teen aligners have compliance indicators on them to make it easier for the orthodontist to tell if their patients are following directions.
What are compliance indicators?
Compliance indicators are a series of blue dots on the backs of the aligners, where they’re not visible when the aligner is worn. Over the two week period the aligners are worn, the blue dots will slowly fade away. So if you’ve failed to wear the aligners as you should, the blue dots will still be visible to your orthodontist.
If a patient comes back for checkups and the orthodontist consistently sees the blue dots, they’ll be able to tell that the patient is probably not following directions for aligner wear. This will give the orthodontist the opportunity to remind the patient and their parents about why wearing the aligners as recommended is so important. The orthodontist may discuss other treatment options, like traditional metal braces, if the patient can’t or won’t comply.
The compliance indicators also tell the orthodontist if the treatment is effective. For instance, if a patient has been diligent in wearing the aligners as prescribed, yet the hoped-for tooth movement is not taking place, adjustments can be made to the treatment plan.
The compliance indicators can also help the patient stay on track with treatment as well. The aligners have been carefully calibrated to achieve a certain tooth movement during each stage of wear. Switching to a new aligner before your mouth is ready, or leaving a given set in for too long, can actually hinder the treatment process.
If the patient has been taking their aligners out more often than they should be, or leaving them out for long periods of time, it will be easy for them to lose track of how much longer they need to wear that set of aligners.
Because the compliance indicators will only fade after a given set of aligners has worn for a full two weeks, it will make it easier for the patient to pick up where they left off.