10 Drawbacks of Aligners You Should Know Before Getting One

Published on Mar 22, 2021

Hello, I'm Agent G, Chief Editor of Beauty Undercover. For those who may not be aware, I started putting on Aligners in Mid-January. If you're interested, here's a closer look of a typical consultation at SmileDirectClub.

Transparent Aligners

Can you tell that Agent G is actually wearing her aligners right now?

Till today, I find it amazing to see how the aligners fit without anyone knowing I have them on. Only my closest friends (and now you) know that I'm wearing aligners. A far cry from secondary school days when I'm known to be the girl with the "metal teeth".

Do the aligners work though? 

As illustrated by the graphic below, I'm happy to share that my teeth is moving as expected (scroll down for actual photos of my teeth!)

Improvement of Teeth with Aligner

As much as I love the results, putting on Aligners isn't all a bed of roses. Sticking with the regime requires lifestyle changes that even I didn't expect. Read on to find out what they are and if you're suited to still go ahead for this 4-6 month program. 


1. Recommended duration to wear the aligners is 22 hours

I know that aligners should be a lot like wearing braces ie. 24/7 but some part of me was wondering if I could leave the aligners at home when heading out to dinner. I only had to look at the recommended time to wear aligners for my answer: 22 HOURS. 

No slacking off here. 

2 hours is barely enough for me to eat!

This means that the only time I can take them out is when I'm actually eating - a reason why I bring this handy aligner case everywhere I go.

Aligner Case

2. Discomfort when you don't

What happens if you don't? Wear it for 22 hours I mean. 

While there's no aligner police to check you into jail, your gums and teeth will do the policing for you. Don't wear it on enough and there will be hell to pay (in terms of pain) and sore gums when you finally fit your aligners in. 


If you do however wear the aligners regularly, the good news is that the pain and discomfort is A LOT LESS than when you were wearing your braces - probably good news for those of you who are afraid of pain.

Not me though. Call me masochistic but I love the sore feeling when I switch to a new aligner; that's coz this means that my teeth are moving in the right direction!

3. Chipped nails

Even if you didn't skip the 22 hours, you may find it a little challenging to remove the tight aligners especially within the first 1-2 days of change. You see, SmileDirectClub lovingly sends you your full set of aligners on the get-go. Depending on which week you are in, you have to wear the aligners for either 1 week (most of the time) or 2 weeks. It is near impossible for you to take the aligners out without using your nails... which is why you can kiss your manicures goodbye!

The good news is that SmileDirectClub provides you with a thoughtful cutie which will make the removal process that much easier. 

Still, those lazy ones (me included) will likely just remove it with our nails, which may just cause it to chip. 

4. Prepare to brush your teeth more than 5 times a Day

Imagine trapping the food particles in aligners for more than 22 hours a day; your teeth will probably decay before it gets straighter. 

To prevent that from happening, you've got to brush your teeth after every meal. If you add in 2 snacks in the middle, that probably means that you have to brush your teeth more than 5 times a day. 

Brushing Teeth

A way to get around it is to bring along a mouth rinse instead. It can't replace tooth brushing entirely but it can still remove some bacteria to avoid staining your teeth... and your aligners. 

5. No more coffee / tea / flavoured beverages

It isn't just food that gets stuck in your teeth. Coffee, tea and other flavoured drinks do the same. If you don't brush your teeth after each flavoured drink, you'll find the coffee residue getting stuck like disgusting kernels all over the aligners.

Coffee Stain on Aligners

More water for me please!

If you do find your aligners getting stained, it isn't the end of the world. SmileDirectClub has kindly included cleaning tablets in the package so all you need to do is to put them in the fizzy bath and watch them go on a bubbly spa. 

Aligners Cleaning Tablet From SmileDirectClub

6. You are likely to lose weight. 

For those who're on a diet, you'll be happy to note that you are likely to shed a few pounds on this journey. At least, that's what happened to me.

Whenever I think about snacking, I will reach out for the snack... and put it down when I think about how cumbersome it is to remove the aligners and brush my teeth afterwards. 

Sorry, aligners on :(

It also acts as a great excuse to reject an invitation to head to the pantry. Yay!

No Appetite

7. You speak with a lisp... at the beginning

It may not be obvious visually that you're wearing aligners but open your mouth and speak... and people can just tell if you're on your first week of aligners.

Cannot Hear You
Is everything alright?

I've had a couple of people come up to me and ask me if I'm okay or if I'm eating something, which can certainly be awkward.

But that only happened in the first week. By Week 2, I was speaking normally as my teeth gets used to having the aligners in. 

8. No more lipstick

I don't usually wear lipstick anyway but on the one occasion I did, I found it a BAD idea as it sticks easily to the aligner and leave a waxy residue! 

If you need, the box did include a lip balm to keep your lips moisturized.

Lip Balm From SmileDirectClub

9. You can finish your smile journey at your own pace

Your full set of aligners are sent to you at the start of your journey so the truth is that you may not need to wear the aligner according to your assigned time. If you feel that the aligner is too tight for your teeth, you can take longer than the stipulated week before switching to the next one. 

It is not as advisable (I'm sure the dentists wouldn't advise it) to do the reverse e.g. go for a tighter aligner ahead of schedule... but it's possible. 

This puts the control back into my hands and is something I really like... 

FYI, there was once I accidentally threw away the aligner and guess what, all I had to do is to wear the next aligner and the process continues as expected. 

10. You feel so happy with your new teeth!

No matter the hassle, I can tell you that everything is worth it when you see the results in the mirror. 

I'm super duper lazy so I'm sorry for being one of the errant aligner users who did not regularly take photos and upload to the platform. 

But look at my photos now (I'm halfway through)!

Teeth Improvement After Putting Aligners From SmileDirectClub

Even though I'm no professional, I can already tell that my bottom teeth have now moved so much inwards that it fits nicely beneath my front teeth. The front teeth also doesn't protrude out as much, and is pointing downwards more than it is pointing outward... something that has bugged me for a long time.

I'm honestly elated with my progress right now and am wondering what more the aligners can do for me in the next couple of months. 

Thank YOU Smile Direct Club... they sure aren't joking when they say that they're sending me a lifetime supply of confidence! 

Love the results but not so much the hassle?

SmileDirectClub launched the new Nighttime Aligners that gets rid of most issues stated above; all you have to do is to pop in the aligners before bed and wear it through the night for 10 hours to get your perfect teeth. It takes longer (10 months compared to 4-6 months) to get your straight teeth but hey, there is less disruptions to your lifestyle and schedule particularly if you're in a consumer-facing job - all at a price that is lower than that of traditional braces.

To check if it's suitable for you, head over to their 30 second Smile Assessment to find out more. 

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