The Best Clear Aligner Removal Tools & Where to Get Them

Clinical Content Reviewed by Dr. Jay Khorsandi, DDS
Last Modified:

Table of Contents

  1. What Are Removal Tools?
  2. How Removal Tools Work
  3. Why They Are Necessary
  4. Best-Rated Removal Tools
  5. Frequently Asked Questions
  6. References

One of the great things about straightening your teeth with clear aligners is being able to remove the aligners from time to time. It's so nice to eat without an orthodontic device in your mouth.

But people sometimes struggle to remove their aligners. And as a new wearer, it can take some time to figure out the process.

Clear aligner removal tools can make taking out aligners much easier, and investing in them is a smart step to take for your dental health and peace of mind. As aligners grow in popularity, manufacturers add more brands and newer styles to the market.

What Are Removal Tools and What Do They Do?

Aligner removal tools are mostly plastic devices that you can use, in lieu of your fingers, to remove your aligner trays from your dental arches. There are a few styles on the market:

  • Elastic Hooks: These tools have a hook to place elastics on the teeth on one side, and a V-shaped notch for dislodging aligner trays on the other end.

  • Combination Seating and Removal Tools: These tools have a chewy that you can use to seat or place the aligner, plus a hook you use to remove the aligner.

  • Simple Plastic Hooks: These simple plastic tools have a u-shaped hook on one end.

How Clear Aligner Removal Tools Work 

Most clear aligner removal tools come with instructions inside. Follow them carefully. 

Here's what you'll typically see on those printed directions. Normally, you'll use these tools toward the back of your teeth, not right in front. If they don't work well, discuss your options with your aligner care team. 

How to use elastic hooks 

These clear aligner removal tools typically have a hook at one end and a notch on the other. To remove your aligners, focus on that hook. You will do the following:

  1. Grasp the tool between your fingers with the hook facing out. 

  2. Loop the hook over the edge of your aligner. 

  3. Pull gently to remove the aligner from your teeth.

If this method doesn't work, you can use the notch instead. Seat the aligner between the tines of the notch and push down (for upper trays) or up (for lower trays) to remove your aligners. 

How to use plastic hooks 

These tools are specifically designed for clear aligners. Place the hook between your aligner and teeth, and press to remove the trays. If this doesn't work, put the blunt end between the aligner and your teeth and push. 

How to use combination seating & removal tools 

These tools can help your aligners fit better. You'll place the device between your teeth with the rubbery side up and press down until you feel your teeth click into your trays.

To remove your clear aligners, you will do the following:

  1. Grasp the tool with the hook facing your teeth.

  2. Place the hook between the aligner and your teeth.

  3. Pull to unseat your trays.

Why Removal Tools Are Necessary

While it is possible to remove an aligner with one's fingers, doing so is not as easy as it may seem. It's difficult to get a good grip on the thin edge of the aligner. An aligner tool makes it easier to grab and pull the aligner tray.

Putting your hands in your mouth is also not the most sanitary practice. Using a clean aligner removal tool introduces fewer germs to your mouth, helping to reduce the risk of illness and infection.

Where to Find the 10 Best-Rated Removal Tools

Although removal tools are a niche product, they belong to a growing industry. More and different tools hit the market all the time. If you’re shopping for one, you’ll have plenty to choose from. You can almost always order them from Amazon, although at times you can buy directly from the manufacturer.

1. OrthoKey

Orthokey is a simple, plastic hook device that you can easily use to remove your aligners. It's about three inches long and made from durable materials. It should fit into your aligner case for storage. The materials used to make OrthoKey are BPA-free and phalate-free, and wearers love the ergonomic design. 

2. Pultool

Developed by a registered dental assistant, Pultool is a compact aligner removal tool that you can store in your aligner case. You can wash the Pultool in the dishwasher for easy sterilization.

3. Outie Tool

Outie Tool is a simple, plastic hook device that comes in packs of seven, which makes it easier to use clean and sanitary instruments when one starts to show signs of wear. Outie Tools have a hook to remove your top aligner on one side and a lever to remove your top aligner on the other side. 

4. OPGP Aligner Removal Tool

The OPGP Aligner Removal Tool is made from BPA-free and phalate-free materials. It can be immersed in 100-degree water for disinfection purposes. Users report that they’re effective for removing tightly fitting aligners.

5. Healifty Disposable Removers

The Healifter Disposable Elastic Placer and Removal Tool has a design to place elastics on one end and a hook to remove aligners on the other end. Use it once, then throw it away. They're great for travel and dorm life.

6. OraBrite Ortho Aligner Removal Tool

The OraBrite Ortho Aligner Removal Tool comes in bright, fun colors like purple and lime green. Each one comes individually wrapped for safety. An ergonomic shape makes it easy to attach to your aligners.

7. Teheason Aligner Removal Tool

The Teheason Aligner Removal Tool has a simple hook shape. Its size (three inches) makes it ideal for travel because compact and easy to store. It also comes with a case and two chewies to help with the installation of aligner trays.

8. Aligner B-Out

The Aligner B-Out aligner removal tool comes in multi-packs. You can keep one in your car, another in your purse, backpack or briefcase and yet another one another at work.

9. EverSmile

EverSmile sells a multi-pack that comes with orthodontic comfort chews and an aligner removal tool. This is everything you need to get your aligners in and out.

10. PAGOW Clear Aligner Removal Tool

The PAGOW Clear Aligner Removal Tool also comes in a multi-pack. Its ergonomic handle is easy to grip and it fits in most carrying cases.

Frequently Asked Questions

To remove your aligners with your fingers, you use your fingernail to pop the aligner off your back tooth. Then, you grab your aligner with your thumb and forefinger to remove it completely. Some people find this hard, which is why removal tools were developed.

Some do, and some don't. Orthodontists and dentists sometimes send patients home with a few disposable removal tools. When you run out, you'll need to buy your own reusable removal tool or a collection of disposable ones.

Hook the aligner removal tool between the clear aligner and your tooth. The easiest place to do this is beside your back molar. Pull down to unhook the aligner. Then, pull the aligner the rest of the way out of your mouth. Clean your aligner tool as directed, or if you're using a disposable remover, throw it away.

Aligner removal tools make removing your clear aligners easier and more sanitary. Consider the top-rated removal tools listed above. You may need to experiment with a few different disposable and reusable options before discovering the perfect removal tool for your needs. At the end of the day, it's all about making your aligner experience as effective as possible while also keeping it safe and easy.

Disclaimer: This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to serve as dental or other professional health advice and is not intended to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any condition or symptom. You should consult a dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.