One benefit of Invisalign is that patients can remove the clear aligners in order to eat, drink, and care for their teeth. However, this key benefit can make it tempting to remove aligners more often, and for longer, than prescribed. That’s where compliance indicators can help.
In order to keep orthodontic treatment on track, it's important to wear Invisalign clear aligners for a minimum of 22 hours each day.
Significant setbacks to treatment can result from removing aligners for longer, or more frequently, than prescribed. When patients do not comply with proper wear, treatment takes longer than originally scheduled.
In order to help counter the temptation to remove the aligners, Invisalign Teen aligners have compliance indicators. Compliance indicators make it easier for the orthodontist to tell if their patients are following directions for aligner wear.
What are compliance indicators?
Invisalign Teen's compliance indicators are a series of blue dots discretely hidden on the backs of the clear aligners. Over the two week period while the aligners are worn, the blue dots gradually fade away. However, the blue dots will still be visible to their orthodontist if the patient fails to wear the aligners as they should.
If the orthodontist repeatedly sees blue dots when the patient comes into the office for checkups, they will know that the patient is probably not following directions for aligner wear. Compliance indicators give the orthodontist an opportunity to remind the patient, and their parents, why wearing the aligners as recommended is important. Alternative orthodontic treatment options, such as traditional metal braces, may be considered if the patient won't or can't comply with required aligner wear.
Compliance indicators are also helpful in telling the orthodontist if the treatment is effective. If, for example, a patient has been diligent in wearing the aligners as prescribed, but the anticipated tooth movement is not taking place, adjustments can be made to the overall treatment plan.
The patient can also use the compliance indicators to help stay on track with their treatment. Invisalign's clear aligners have been custom calibrated to achieve a certain amount of tooth movement during each stage of wear. If the patient switches to a new aligner before their mouth is ready, or leaves a given set in for too long, this can also hinder the treatment process.
Taking their aligners out more often than they should, or leaving them out for longer periods of time, makes it easy to lose track of how much longer they need to wear that set of aligners. By checking the compliance indicators they will know when it's time to switch to the next set of aligners, because compliance indicators will only fade after a given set has worn for a full two weeks. This can help patients to pick up where they left off.