How can I get the most out of wearing Invisalign clear aligners?
For individuals seeking an alternative to traditional metal braces, clear aligners offer a compelling orthodontic treatment option with numerous benefits. These aligners are removable and provide a discreet means to straighten or realign teeth.
If you and your dentist decide clear aligners are the best option for you, you may still have questions about how you can wear them effectively, and fit them into your busy lifestyle. Our dentists have these tips to share for an excellent clear aligner experience.
1. Keep Your Aligners Clean
Due to their transparent design, Invisalign aligners are prone to displaying discoloration and capturing food particles. Therefore, it is crucial to diligently clean both your teeth and the trays on a daily basis. While you sleep, bacteria can accumulate on the trays, necessitating thorough cleaning at the end of each 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 take your clear aligners out to eat, brush or floss, or play sports, you'll need a safe place to store them. Keep them in a safe place such as a plastic storage case you can slip in your pocket. This will protect them from getting dirty or damaged, and help keep your teeth clean when you put them back in. If they are left out, clean them thoroughly and soak them in solution before placing them back in your mouth.
4. Give Your Teeth Time to Adjust
With each set of clear aligners, your teeth will gradually shift in small increments. While the adjustment process is typically less challenging compared to traditional braces with brackets and wires, your teeth may still require a period of adaptation during the initial days of wearing a new set. It is normal to experience some soreness, but once your mouth adjusts, you should return to normal. To make this adjustment easier, consult your dentist and inquire about helpful tips.
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 proper oral hygiene is important for everybody, it's even more critical for patients who choose clear aligners. Since the point of clear aligners is to fit snugly against your teeth and realign them into their proper positions, you're dealing with a double-edged sword; anything on your teeth will be held there 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
Ensuring sufficient daily wear time for your Invisalign aligners is crucial for successful treatment and the proper alignment of your teeth. It is essential to wear your aligners for approximately 22 hours each day, which requires minimizing the time they are removed for activities such as eating, drinking, and socializing.
As you get used to your clear aligners being on your teeth, any insecurity you may feel will likely disappear – and other people likely won't even be able to tell you're straightening your teeth. If you do happen to speak with a slight lisp during those first few days of treatment, practice talking to give yourself and your mouth a chance 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 are trying to keep weight on, you may want to speak with your doctor or nutritionist to discuss how you can safely include more calories or protein into your meals. And, try to drink extra water, which will rehydrate you and replenish any water you may have lost due to excessive salivating, which may happen 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.
In the event that you have been utilizing your previous set of aligners while waiting for your replacement set, it is recommended to restart the set you would have originally worn according to your regular schedule. Additionally, make sure to adjust your reminders for future aligner switches accordingly. While this temporary setback may delay your treatment by a week, not having a backup or previous set to use could potentially result in a more significant setback.
11. Change Aligners in Private
In the initial stages of your treatment, it's important to familiarize yourself with the process of removing and reinserting your aligners.
During this adjustment period, it may be preferable to handle your aligners in the privacy of a restroom rather than in public settings. Given that the aligners fit tightly on your teeth, you might find it slightly challenging to remove and reinsert them accurately without the aid of a mirror.
12. We're Here to Answer Questions
If you ever have any questions about your clear aligners, your treatment plan or how you can make wearing them easier, our Calgary dentists are here to help and can address questions or concerns you may have. Feel free to request an appointment with us.