By Dr. John White

Smiles by White

It’s not often orthodontists encourage their patients to chew gum. However, in one instance it can be beneficial by helping to seat, or set fully in to place, clear aligners.

When wearing clear aligners, such as Invisalign, sometimes a tooth does not fully go into place and there is a small gap between the tooth and aligner tray, so you need to seat the aligner fully. Even though there are high-tech gadgets on the market that can help, I tell my patients to chew gum for a couple of minutes. I also tell them to leave in their aligners when eating a meal if they need help getting a better fit. By chewing on gum or food, it will help to seat them. When stimulated by chewing, it jiggles the teeth a little bit and settles the bite. It is a practical way to make the aligners work even more effectively. You can also push up or down with your fingers a few times to get a better fit.

While you can put almost anything in your mouth to help seat your aligner, there is a high-tech version called Aligner Chewies. By biting on these small foam cylinders, it helps close any gaps between your teeth and aligner tray. I do find that many of my patients are able to set their aligners properly, just through chewing gum, which is why I suggest it as good starting point