Do I Really Need to Wear My Clear Aligners to Bed?

Clear aligners allow for orthodontic treatment that isn’t nearly as visible as standard braces while still helping you achieve your goals. They are also less uncomfortable than standard braces and won’t hurt nearly as much when you get your first set.

While clear aligners are great and have numerous advantages, you do need to use them properly to truly benefit from them. If you aren’t willing to follow your clear aligner orthodontist’s instructions or think you can get away with a cheat day or two, think again. Every part of your orthodontic treatment plan is based on you using your clear aligners as instructed and this also includes wearing them to bed.

Do I Really Need to Wear My Clear Aligners to Bed?

Yes, you really do need to wear your clear aligners to bed. For your treatment to be effective, you need to wear your aligners for at least 22 hours every day, and this isn’t possible if you don’t wear them to bed. You’ll likely use your limited time without your aligners to eat and drink, leaving no room for other moments to take them off or go without for a while.

Fortunately, wearing your aligners to bed isn’t that hard. After all, you won’t be eating, drinking, or talking. You’ll just be sleeping. It’s one of the best times to use your aligners and one of the most important times.

Why Do I Need to Wear My Clear Aligners to Bed?

First and foremost, you need to wear your aligners for most of the day. With 24 hours in a day, it’s already going to be challenging to stick to the 22-hour guideline unless you’re extremely disciplined about putting your aligners back in as soon as you finish eating and drinking. Most people aren’t, though, so the amount of time they wear their aligners is reduced.

Wearing your aligners ensures they have time to do their job and move your teeth. If you only wear them for 8 hours a day, your treatment is going to either not work at all or take much longer than planned. Committing to wearing your aligners to bed guarantees you’ll have more treatment time without it impacting your daily life.

Secondly, your teeth move even when you sleep. If you’re wearing your aligners, this means your treatment is continuing even while you catch up on some well needed rest. If you don’t wear your aligners, though, your teeth can potentially reset to how they were before and you’ll be back at the starting point. This makes your treatment take longer and become less efficient.

Thirdly, it’s just more comfortable. Every time you go without your clear aligners, your teeth will start to shift back to how they were before. When you finally do put your aligners back in, they’ll feel tight and may be more uncomfortable than they were before.

While your aligners should always be tight in order to move your teeth, there’s a difference between painfully tight and effectively tight. If you don’t wear your aligners overnight or for the specified amount of time, your teeth will slowly shift back. This makes your aligners feel tighter, causing your treatment to become more uncomfortable and your aligners to be more painful.

Start Your Clear Aligner Treatment With Modern Orthodontics

At the end of the day, wearing your aligners to bed is really in your best interest. Your orthodontist isn’t trying to make things harder by requiring you to wear your aligners overnight. In fact, we’re trying to make your treatment plan go as smoothly and be as pain free as possible. 

By wearing your aligners overnight as instructed, you not only get more effective treatment, but you’ll also be in less pain and discomfort.

Author: Dr. Alan Wong
Dr. Alan Wong is a dedicated orthodontist who loves helping his patients achieve healthy, beautiful smiles. He is committed to providing gentle, effective care in a patient-centered environment. Dr. Wong is also a strong believer in continuing education, so he can provide his patients with the latest and greatest treatment options.