If you have clear aligner trays, your orthodontist or dentist may have told you to use “Aligner Chewies” during your treatment. A clear aligner chewie is a small cylinder made of a soft spongy plastic-like material called Styrene Copolymer. It looks like a small roll of gauze or cotton.
You use clear aligner chewies to help close any air gaps between your teeth and your clear aligners. Typically when you get a new set of aligner trays, they may not fit tightly against your teeth at first. Biting on the Chewie helps your trays to fit tighter on your teeth, which helps your treatment progress more predictable.
Seating clear aligners with chewies ensures your aligners are tight against your teeth. As clear aligners move teeth in small shifts, it’s important to get the most from each aligner. Making sure they are tightly seated for the best movement. This is important in the early stages of your treatment. Especially if most of your straightening is for your front six teeth, as it’s when your teeth are the most skew and the aligners may need assistance in seating. Biting down on your aligners without a chewie generally only seats it in the molar region and not where it’s needed most.
To use an Aligner Chewie, just position it between your teeth (either “long way” or “short way” are fine) and bite down. Quickly move it from one end of your mouth to another, continuing to bite up and down, until you have bitten on it with all of your teeth. Then go back and do it again, repeating the process two or three times. Bite on the Chewie every time you remove and put it back in your mouth. A popular habit to get into is to bite on the Chewie for at least a minutes before bed. This will help your Aligner tray stay well seated and tight against your teeth while you sleep at night.
Aligner Chewies are reusable — to a point. You can wash them with a mild soap and re-use them several times before they will lose their elasticity.
Some companies like Active Aligners provide them with your treatment to your dentist or orthodontist (in your patient aligner box). Depending on your doctors aligner provider you might not get many Aligner Chewies, because they are not usually provided by the company that makes your clear aligners. Either you or your orthodontist will need to order them.
Chewie Tip – Double your amount of chewies. If you find that your chewie is large enough to cut in half and is still adequately sized for you to use.