Can You Wear Aligners at Night Only?
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Table of Contents
- Traditional vs. Night-Only Aligners
- Do They Work?
- Treatment Time
- Night-Only Aligners FAQs
Yes, you can wear aligners at night only if you have that kind of treatment plan.
Nighttime aligners are customized clear trays that fit over the teeth and are worn only at night to correct tooth and bite alignment problems. Like regular clear aligners, they are removable and use gentle continuous pressure to move teeth into an optimal position.
And like regular aligners, night aligners are worn in a progressive series. Each tray will be worn for about two weeks before moving to the next one. After the last tray, the bite is corrected.
Teeth aligner manufacturers make these night-only aligners, which call for 10 hours of consecutive wear. While they work, standard aligners, that are worn for 22 hours per day, will generally give faster and more effective results. Night-only aligners work best for mild correction issues.
Traditional vs. Night-Only Aligners
The recommended wear protocol for standard teeth straightening aligners is at least 22 hours a day. You should replace each set of custom aligners every one to two weeks.
However, there are night-only aligners for wearing at night, and you have them in for at least 10 consecutive hours. Less wear time overall may work better for you if you find 22 hours of aligner-wear too disruptive for your daily routine.
Could the 12 or so fewer hours of treatment each day impact aligner safety and outcomes? This concern merits discussion with your orthodontist or aligner treatment company if you’re considering at-night aligners.
|Traditional aligners||Night-only aligners|
|Wear time||At least 22 hours a day||10 hours a day|
|Avg. length of treatment||6 months||10 months|
|Treatable conditions||Mild to severe||Mild cases|
Do Night Aligners Actually Work?
Night-only aligners can work, but they are less effective than traditional aligners. Any type of teeth straightening therapy works best if used virtually full-time, such as braces.
Traditional clear aligners shift teeth by applying light, continuous pressure. You should wear these appliances at least 22 hours a day to move your teeth into their intended positions before your next set of aligners.
Generally, compression and tension forces cause your teeth to shift when you wear aligners. They’re responsible for the alternating bone loss and formation during treatment.
According to one study, whole-day aligner users experienced more breakdown and generation of new bone than night-only users. Their tooth movement was nearly twice that of nighttime users.
In short, part-time aligners can work for some patients with mild issues, but it will take them longer to produce desired outcomes. It is important to consult your provider or orthodontist before accepting these appliances to treat moderate or severe teeth misalignment problems.
Make sure to discuss the cost-effectiveness of buying night-only aligners. Sometimes, this treatment requires more sets of aligners than you would need with traditional aligners.
Risks of Night Aligners
While the benefits of night aligners sound appealing to many, there are also risks to consider. These include the following:
- They may be less effective. No studies published in peer-reviewed journals recommend a 10-hours-a-day clear aligner therapy (CAT) over the 22-hour therapy.
- Less wear time may expose you to orthodontic relapse, in which the lack of optimal, continuous orthodontic pressure causes your teeth to move back to their pre-correction position.
- Some people may be unaware that they grind their teeth at night. This could damage aligners or irritate gums.
How Long Does Night Aligner Treatment Take?
If traditional aligners do not suit your job or lifestyle, nighttime options might enable you to straighten your smile.
You would be wearing your night-only aligners for at least 10 straight hours each day until you have complete alignment of your teeth. For the flexibility to achieve a great smile without compromising your daily routine, you may need up to 10 months of treatment.
However, some nighttime aligner companies promise results in as few as six months, similar to all-day wear aligners. The treatment process usually begins after you order and receive your impression kit from a direct-to-consumer aligner company.
Next, you will take impressions of your teeth at home and mail those to your nighttime aligner provider. A team of orthodontists will formulate custom aligners based on your dental impressions.
If you mail back the models of your teeth promptly, you may receive your custom-fit aligner trays in four to six weeks. Your orthodontic treatment can begin right away.
You will wear each aligner for a week or two, with every subsequent aligner set shifting your teeth further toward your alignment goal.
Unless you experience dental complications during treatment, you should achieve the smile you’ve always wanted in about 10 months.
Night-Only Aligners Frequently Asked Questions
What happens if you only wear aligners at night?
Wearing night-only aligners can slow your orthodontic treatment, but they are an effective option if you have mild alignment issues.
If you have a traditional aligner treatment plan, you need to wear your aligners 22 hours per day. They won’t work as well if you only wear them at night.
Can I just wear Invisalign at night?
No, you cannot. There are no nighttime-only versions of Invisalign aligners. For best treatment results with Invisalign, you should wear the aligners 20 to 22 hours every day. You’ll be replacing each aligner set every seven days.
Byte, however, offers At-Night Aligner plans that can fit your schedule and budget.
Living with Invisalign: Orthodontic Treatment Amidst the Pandemic. (2021). Annals and Essences of Dentistry.
Byte Aligners: Review. (August 2021). Forbes.
Teeth Aligner Cost Comparison: What's Affordable? (March 2022). Byte.
Biological Mechanisms in Orthodontic Tooth Movement. (2015). Esthetics and Biomechanics in Orthodontics (Second Edition).
Effect of Clear Aligner Wear Protocol on the Efficacy of Tooth Movement. (March 2021). The Angle Orthodontist.
Bruxism (Teeth Grinding). Mayo Clinic.