Clear aligner removal tools – all you need to know
If you want to straighten your teeth without the need for any wires, hooks, or similar dental apparatuses, clear aligners are usually your best bet. These appliances will allow you to correct teeth alignment while also having the ability to remove them from time to time. However, many people find the clear aligner removal process to be a bit tricky, even if they obtain the best clear aligners on the market. Luckily, there is no need to remove the aligners on your own, as there are a variety of clear aligner removal tools at your disposal. In this article, we will teach you how to take proper care of your aligners and provide you with an overview of the most popular clear aligner tools on the market.
Taking care of your aligners
First off, it is important to understand that you should be wearing your clear aligners for at least 22 hours each day. While you do have the ability to remove them at will, this is something that you may want to do extremely sparingly. The best times to remove your aligners are before brushing and before eating or drinking. While it is possible to eat with your aligner in, it is something that no dentist will recommend, as doing so may damage the aligner. Basically, you do not want to remove your aligners more than 3 or 4 times a day to allow them to work their magic.
Once you do remove your clear aligners, you will want to store them properly. Most aligners come with their own protective cases that are specifically designed for safe storage. If yours did not come with a case, you would want to utilize a clean and dry case that has vent holes to allow for air drying. If you have pets or small children around the place, you will want to keep the storage case somewhere where it is out of reach of them.
You should never leave the aligners to soak in water, as doing so might change the physical properties of your clear aligners and can damage them.
As for the aligner removal process, it is something that many people have trouble with. You may find it uncomfortable simply placing your fingers in your mouth to remove the aligner, for example. Or you may not find it difficult to grip the aligner with your fingers. Either way, if you have problems with removing your aligners, there is an easy solution: Aligner removal tools.
Why do you need clear aligner removal tools?
It is perfectly possible to remove your aligners without needing to use a tool. However, the removal process might not be as easy as it seems at first glance. Aligners have thin edges, and getting a grip on them can be challenging at times. Furthermore, putting your hands in your mouth may make it more difficult to maintain your oral health, as you may be introducing more germs to your mouth. By using clear aligner removal tools, you will minimize the risks and make the entire removal process much easier.
Some clear aligners already come with their own removal tools, and some do not. Your orthodontist may also provide you with disposable removal tools.
How do you use aligner removal tools?
While each aligner removal tool has its own instructions to use, the general removal process looks something like this:
- “Hook” the clear aligner removal tool between your tooth and your clear aligner. The easiest place to start is usually just beside your back molar.
- Pull down, unhooking the aligner from your mouth.
- Pull the aligner the rest of the way out of your mouth.
- Clean or throw away your aligner. The latter is reserved for disposable aligners only.
There is some variance in the process depending on which type of tool you use. For example, if you are using plastic hooks, you will want to place the hook between the teeth and the aligner and simply press to remove the trays. Alternatively, you will want to place the other (blunt) end between the teeth and the aligner and use a pushing motion.
As for “combination” tools, those who can help you both remove and fit your aligners better, you will want to place them between your teeth with the rubbery side up. After that, all you need to do is press down until you feel that your teeth click into their trays. The removal process is pretty much the same as with plastic hooks.
There is a large variety of clear aligner tools on the market, all of which are designed to make the removal process as simple as possible. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular solutions.
The most popular clear aligner removal tools
- Outie tool
- The PUL system
- Elastic hooks
- OPGP Aligner removal tool
- Teheason Aligner removal tool
- PAGOW clear aligner removal tool
- Healifter disposable removal tool
Choosing the best clear aligner removal tool is a matter of preference. That said, you should never become frustrated with placing and removing your aligners as that may compromise the entire teeth straightening process. If the simple task of removing aligners becomes something that you dread, you may opt not to remove aligners when you really should. If that happens, you might as well be wearing traditional metal braces instead, as you will not be getting the most “mileage” out of your aligners.
Now, let’s take a look at some of the most popular options currently on the market.
One of the most popular clear aligner removal tools, the Outie Tool, is somewhat large and sturdy. Its large size, coupled with ridged plastic frame, will prevent the tool from being flexed while you remove the aligner from your mouth. The Outie Tool is a double-sided instrument, with one side having a U-shaped hook and the other being a flat surface. The u-shaped side is specially designed to hook the edge of your aligner and allow you to pull the aligner out with a simple motion. You can rest the opposite side against the edge of the aligner and utilize a pushing motion to dislodge the aligner from your mouth.
The Outie Tool is recommended for people who have never used an aligner removal tool before, as well as experienced aligner patients. You can order these aligners directly from the OutieTool website, or you can find them on the Amazon website.
The PUL system
If you are looking for an aligner removal tool and an aligner seating tool in one convenient package, the PUL system by PulTool might be your best choice. The tool itself is made out of ridged plastic, quite similar to the Outie Tool, and it also features a loop-shaped handle for easier handling. The removal part of the system features a rounded elliptical hook that is positioned at a 90-degree angle to the handle. This allows the PUL system to easily fit into the interproximal spaces as well as to rest on the edge of the aligner.
The unique design of the PUL system also features a rubbery “chewie” that you can move down the handle, allowing you to seat the aligner more easily. This is extremely helpful with patients that have one of the common types of crooked teeth, as it allows for extremely easy aligner insertion. Overall, this system provides you with a “2 in 1” solution for both aligner removal and insertion.
If you are looking for a simple, cheap, clear aligner removal tool, you can’t go wrong with elastic hooks. These double-ended instruments have a hook at one end and a v-shape notch at the other end. You can place the hook side over the edge of the aligner, allowing you to dislodge the aligner from your teeth in an easy manner. Alternatively, you can utilize the v-shaped side to push the aligner from the teeth. You do so by placing the v-notch on the edge of the aligner and by applying a simple pushing motion.
The best part about elastic hooks is that they are extremely cost-effective. Considering the average cost of braces in 2022, you might want to save as much money on your clear aligner removal tools as possible. However, the fact of the matter is that most people use elastic hooks as “learning tools”. Once you are used to using elastic hooks to remove your clear aligners, purchasing a specialized tool will make the process much easier and more enjoyable.
OrthoKey is a very simple plastic clear aligner removal tool. The tool is about three inches long, made from durable materials, and is small enough to fit inside your aligner case alongside your aligners. This tool features a great ergonomic design and is made out of phthalate-free and BPA-free materials.
OPGP Aligner removal tool
This is another tool that features phthalate-free and BPA-free materials and is best utilized for aligners that have an extremely tight fit. One of the unique things about this aligner removal tool is that you can easily disinfect it in 100-degree water.
Teheason Aligner removal tool
Similar to OrthoKey, the Teheason aligner removal tool also features a simple hook shape and a small size. This makes it ideal for travel purposes, as the entire tool is incredibly compact. However, the difference between Teheason and OrthoKey is that the former also comes with two chewies and its own case, allowing for easier installation of aligner trays.
EverSmile is a handy pack that contains an aligner removal tool as well as OrthoChews to help you fit your aligners properly. The reason why you might want to purchase this pack instead of some of the other solutions is the fact that OrthoChews are extremely useful when changing to a new set of trays. Furthermore, they will help close any air gaps you may have between the teeth and clear aligners, allowing your teeth to start moving immediately. This makes the treatment progress as fast as possible.
PAGOW clear aligner removal tool
Another multi-pack, PAGOW clear aligner removal tool features an ergonomic handle that is extremely easy to grip. Its size also allows you to fit it inside pretty much any carrying case.
Healifter disposable removal tool
The last tool on our list features a unique design, with a hook on one end and elastics on the other end. As its name suggests, this is a “Use it once, then throw away” type of clear aligner removal tool. This aligner type is ideal for anyone that travels a lot or lives inside a dorm.
Which clear aligner removal tool is best for me?
There is no easy answer to this question, as everyone is different. It may so happen that you do not require a clear aligner removal tool at all! The truth of the matter is that you do not “really” need any of these tools to remove your aligners. Every clear aligner has a design that allows for its easy removal. However, many people find the act of jamming their fingers inside their mouths to be quite uncomfortable.
One of the primary reasons why people use clear aligner removal tools is the fact that using aligner removal tools is more sanitary than using your hands. Therefore, you will want to choose the tool that allows you to minimize any contact between your hands and your mouth. Ideally, you will want to start with disposable aligners until you get the hang of the process. You may need to experiment a bit before you find the ideal tool for your needs. Ultimately, it is all about creating the most enjoyable aligner experience possible.
For more information on clear aligners, invisible braces, and anything else that involves teeth correction, Consumer Opinion Guide is your go-to resource. We can help you find the best orthodontists, provide you with tips and tricks on how to maintain your oral hygiene, and much more!