Are you wondering how you can get the most out of your Invisalign clear aligners for your smile – and how to wear them so you'll feel as comfortable as possible? Our Lethbridge dentists review some tips for you.
How can I get the most out of wearing Invisalign clear aligners?
For patients who want to straighten or realign their teeth without wearing traditional metal braces, clear aligners can be a great orthodontic treatment option with a lot of advantages. They are removable and allow you to straighten your teeth discreetly.
If you and your dentist decide that clear aligners are the best option for you, you may have questions about how to wear them effectively and fit them into your hectic schedule. These are some pointers from our dentists for a great clear aligner experience.
1. Keep Your Aligners Clean
Because Invisalign aligners are clear and transparent, discoloration and food particles are easily visible. That is why it is critical to thoroughly clean both your teeth and the trays every day. Bacteria build up on the trays while you sleep at night, and they will need to be cleaned again by the end of the day.
Rinse the aligners well each time you remove them from the mouth. We recommend using clear, anti-bacterial soap to wash them, and soaking them in either denture cleaner or the cleaning solution they arrive with.
Brush and floss your teeth thoroughly before placing the trays back in your mouth, and you're good to go.
2. Track Your Schedule for Switching Times
About every two weeks, you'll switch to a new set of clear aligners. It's important to switch to your next set in the series at the prescribed time so your teeth shift as they are supposed to and you progress through your treatment as scheduled.
You can write it in your calendar or set a reminder on your phone to keep it top of mind, and some clear aligner brands have an app designed to help you track your treatment.
3. Store Your Clear Aligners Properly
When you remove your clear aligners to eat, brush or floss, or participate in sports, you'll need a secure place to keep them. Keep them in a secure location, such as a plastic storage case that fits in your pocket. This will keep them clean and prevent them from becoming dirty or damaged when you put them back in. If they are left out, thoroughly clean them and soak them in solution before reintroducing them into your mouth.
4. Give Your Teeth Time to Adjust
With each set of clear aligners, your teeth will move in tiny increments. Though not as difficult as with braces, which have brackets and wires to contend with, your teeth may still require some adjustment for the first few days you wear a new set. Some soreness is normal, but you should be fine once your mouth adjusts. Discuss with your dentist how to make the adjustment easier, and keep dental wax on hand in case you need it.
5. Use a Whitening Toothpaste
Did you know your Invisalign aligners can help you whiten your teeth? Because they are good at holding substances right up against teeth, you can use this to your advantage to keep remnants of the whitening agent and fluoride from washing away after teeth brushing.
6. Practice Excellent Oral Hygiene
While good oral hygiene is important for everyone, it is especially important for patients who choose clear aligners. Because the purpose of clear aligners is to fit snugly against your teeth and realign them into their proper positions, you're dealing with a two-edged sword: anything on your teeth will be held in place by your aligners.
Where usually, some bacteria, food and plaque would be rinsed away by your saliva, that won't happen when you have your clear aligners in. To keep your teeth squeaky clean and reduce your risk of decay and cavities, you'll need to brush and floss each time you remove your aligners to eat or drink anything other than water.
7. Change to New Aligners at Night
If you find you're feeling some discomfort when you first switch sets of aligners, a good hack may be to switch them at night, so you can sleep through those first few hours. Taking an over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen before bed may also work well.
8. Wear Your Aligners for 22 Hours Each Day
A key part of treatment is making sure your Invisalign aligners get enough daily wear time so your teeth move into their proper positions. You will need to wear your aligners for about 22 hours every day, and that means minimizing the time they're off your teeth for eating, drinking and socializing.
As you become accustomed to wearing your clear aligners, any insecurity you may have will likely vanish - and others will likely be unable to tell you're straightening your teeth. If you have a slight lisp during the first few days of treatment, practice talking to allow yourself and your mouth to adjust to your aligners.
9. Monitor Your Diet & Eating Times
Because you'll only have two hours in total to eat each day, you may find that by necessity most snacking will have to be cut out.
If you're trying to maintain your weight, talk to your doctor or a nutritionist about how you can safely include more calories or protein in your meals. Also, drink plenty of water to rehydrate yourself and replenish any water you may have lost due to excessive salivating, which is common with clear aligners.
10. Have Backup Aligners With You
Some clear aligner plans will come with backup aligners in case you lose your first set, but if not, hang on to your previous set of aligners to use as a backup in case your current set gets lost or damaged.
This is because it usually takes about a week for new aligners to come in, and in that time, you could lose valuable progress if you are not wearing them.
If you had been using your previous set while waiting for your replacement set to arrive, you would restart the set you would have worn regularly and revise your reminders for when you should switch to new aligners in the future. Though this temporary hiccup may delay your treatment by a week, you may face an even greater setback if you do not have a backup or previous set on hand.
11. Change Aligners in Private
You'll become accustomed to removing and replacing the aligners in your mouth, especially during the early stages of treatment. You might prefer to do this in the privacy of a restroom rather than in public. Because the clear aligners will be a tight fit for your teeth, you may find it difficult to remove and replace them without a mirror.
12. We're Here to Answer Questions
If you have any questions or concerns about your clear aligners, your treatment plan, or how to make wearing them more comfortable, our Lethbridge dentists are here to help. Please contact us to schedule an appointment.