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How To Remove Invisalign Trays

The best and easiest way to remove Invisalign trays from your mouth is with your index finger, starting with the tongue side of the last molar. That is the simplest and most cost effective way to take off the aligners.

invisalign tray on demo model

But if you don't mind spending some money and carrying around an extra tool, there are plenty of aligner removal tools available online.

Best way to take off Invisalign trays

Honestly, you don't need any fancy tools or techniques to take the aligners off because all you need is just a single index finger.

How to remove Invisalign trays with index finger:

  1. Make a small hook with your index finger.

  2. Place finger above tray on the tongue side of the last molar.

  3. Pull down until tray unlocks.

  4. Remove aligners with finger and thumb.

Why remove from tongue side?

You want to take the trays off from the tongue side and not the cheek side because all of the attachments are on the cheek side. In other words, there is a lot more resistance if you try to remove from the cheek facing side due to the presence of Invisalign attachments.

Invisalign attachments on cheek side
Invisalign attachments on cheek side

other types of invisalign attachments
Other types of aligner attachments

Which side to remove from?

Every patient will be different due to the anatomy and orientation of your teeth but there will always be one side that is easier to remove. Whether that is the left side or right side, you will have to experiment to find out.

Remove invisalign tray from left inside molar
Left inner side of molar

Our dentists in Long island City recommend testing out taking off the trays from the last molar on the left side vs the last molar on the right side. Whichever side comes off more easily, you should stick to removing the trays from that side.

Remove invisalign tray from right inside molar
Right inner side of molar

It will get easier over time

The first few Invisalign trays will be the hardest to remove because you're not used to it and it's also when the teeth are the most crowded.

  • Not used to it. Since it's your first time doing it, there will be a learning curve. You may have to stand in front of a mirror for the first week to take it off and put it back on. However, as the weeks go by you will be able to do it by feel.

  • Crowded teeth at beginning. At the start of treatment your teeth will be the most crowded and that creates a lot of undercuts that make taking it off more difficult. However, as treatment progresses and the teeth start to straighten, you'll notice it get easier to take the Invisalign off!


Alternative way to remove trays

The second best way to take off Invisalign trays is with an aligner removal tool which is a plastic curved hook. You can purchase them online such as through amazon.

Aligner removal tool
Aligner removal tool

How to use aligner removal tool: You use them the same way that you use your index finger to take off the trays. Hook it on the inside of your last molar and then simply pull. Once the aligners unhook, you can use your finger to just grab it and gently remove.

Why they're effective: Not everyone has an index finger that is slim enough to reach towards the back of their last molar. This removal tool helps is small enough and long enough to reach back there to replace your finger.

This tool is also good for those who have a lot of long fake fingernails. You don't want to accidentally damage or pop off your nails so using this tool would be a better alternative.


Other alleged techniques

There are plenty of other ways that have been touted to help you take out your Invisalign trays but in our opinion, they're 3rd best at most.

  • Paper towel. Grab the trays with a piece of paper towel to help increase your grip.

  • Wear gloves. Gloves can aid with grip due to the texture of the material.

If you really want to give these a try, go right away but really, the index finger is usually more than adequate! Its quite rare for any of our patients who are undergoing Invisalign treatment to have trouble taking them off. At most, we have about 1-2 who are using the aligner removal tool. The vast majority are all just using their index finger...

Nonetheless, if you're in Long Island City NY and looking for Invisalign treatment, come schedule an orthodontic consultation with one of our dentists!


David Chen 200 x 200.jpg

About the author: Dr David Chen, DDS

Hello, I'm Dr Chen and I'm an actively practicing dentist in Long Island City, NY. I graduated from Columbia University College of Dental Medicine in 2016 but prior to going to dental school I was already working in the dental field. It's been more than a decade since I first got to know dentistry and let me tell you, time flies by quickly. Since then I've developed a fondness for writing, which is how this all got started!

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Medical Disclaimer:

This blog is purely meant for information purposes and should not be used as medical advice. Each situation in your mouth is unique and complex. It is not possible to give advice nor diagnose any oral conditions based on text nor virtual consultations. The best thing to do is to go in person to see your dentist for an examination and consultation so that you can receive the best care possible.

The purpose of all of this oral health information is to encourage you to see your dentist and to inform you of what you may expect during your visit. Due to the unfortunate nature of dentistry, there isn't really any true home remedies that will get rid of dental problems. Roughly 99.99% of them require in-person intervention by a healthcare professional.

Hint: That is the reason why you can't eliminate seeing dentists in your life!

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