When working with clear aligners one of the most challenging tasks with aligner delivery can be teaching the patient how to place and remove the aligners. Patients can often become easily frustrated with placing and removing aligners as the retentive aligners can give a challenge to patients that are not used to wearing orthodontic appliances.
In fact, as crazy as it sounds, some patients are uncomfortable placing their fingers in their mouth to remove the aligner! These patients feel like they cannot find a place to grip onto the aligner for easy removal from the mouth.
There have been several products developed over the years to aligner removal and I find these aligner removal tools can be a great aid to my patients.
While elastic placement hooks are traditionally used to aid patients with placing inter-arch elastics around the hooks on bands and brackets – these elastic hooks can double as an aligner removal tool too! Elastic hooks are double ended instruments with a hook at one end and a v-shape notch at the opposite end. The hook portion can be used to go over the edge of the aligner and can be pulled to dislodge the aligner from the teeth. The v-shaped notch can sit on the edge of the aligner and can be used with a pushing motion to remove the aligner from the teeth. These simple cost-effective elastic hooks can be helpful for teaching first time aligner wearers how to remove their new clear aligner and as a result are a great tool to recommend to beginners. They’re available everywhere including Walmart.
The Outie Tool is a large and sturdy tool designed to help the patient remove clear aligners from the mouth. The large size and ridged plastic prevent the tool from flexing when removing an aligner from the mouth. This double-sided instrument has one end with a u-shaped hook designed to engage the edge of the aligner and remove it from the mouth with a pulling motion. The opposite end has a flat surface designed to rest against the edge of the aligner and dislodge the aligner with a pushing motion. This tool is recommended for beginners to experienced aligner patients and are easily available on Amazon.
The PUL System by PULTOOL:
The PUL System by PulTool combines both an aligner removal tool and an aligner seating tool in one convenient compact tool. The ridged plastic material prevents the tool from flexing making aligner removal easier. The PUL System has an easy to hold loop shaped handle that allows the patient to have an easy to hold tool. The removal end of the tool is a rounded elliptical hook at a ninety-degree angle to the handle, that comes to a tapered point where it touches the aligner. The unique design to the removal end easily fits into the interproximal space of the teeth or rests on the edge of the aligner to allow the aligner to be removed with a pulling motion. A neat feature is that the PUL System has a unique rubbery chewie that can be moved down the handle to be used as a tool to seat the aligner. The PUL System combines two helpful tools that a patient can easily carry for aligner removal and insertion. The PUL tool is for all aligner patients from beginner to experienced and is available directly from the manufacturer online.
Want to learn more? Check out this video below where I review each tool!
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