Are you curious about how you can get the most possible out of your Invisalign clear aligners? How about how to wear them so you can stay comfortable? Here, our Yarmouth 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 relying on traditional braces, clear aligners can be an excellent orthodontic treatment option, complete with some advantages. They are removable and allow you to discreetly straighten your 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
Since clear aligners are made from transparent plastic, they will show discoloration and food particles. Because of this, it's important that you clean your teeth and their trays each night. Otherwise, bacteria builds up overnight in the trays while you sleep.
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 a reminder in your calendar or on your phone to keep on top of switching times. Some clear aligner brands even have apps 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
Your teeth will move in small increments with each set of aligners. While the adjustment isn't as difficult as it can be with braces, your teeth may still require a period to adjust to the sensation of your new aligners and the pressure they place on your teeth.
Some soreness will be normal, but after your mouth adjusts, things should normalize. Ask your dentist about how to ease the adjustment process and make sure you keep dental wax around just 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
Proper oral hygiene is important for everyone. But, it's even more important for patients who are undergoing clear aligner treatment. Since the point of clear aligners is to snugly fit against your teeth and move them into their proper positions, they will hold anything on your teeth right against the surface, making tooth decay and gum disease more of a risk without proper hygiene.
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 aspect of treatment with Invisalign is making sure you are getting enough wear time of your aligners to give your teeth a chance to move into their proper positions. You will need to wear your aligners at least 22 hours each day. That means minimizing the time you aren't wearing them while eating, drinking or 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 in order to discuss how you can safely include more protein or calories in your meals.
Make sure you also try to drink extra water, since this will replenish any that you may have lost through extra salivating caused by having the aligners in your mouth.
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 have been using your previous set while waiting for your replacement set to come in, you would restart the set you would have worn on your regular schedule and revise your reminders for when to switch to new aligners in the future. Though this momentary mishap may set your treatment back a week, you could experience an even greater setback if you do not have a backup or previous set around to use.
11. Change Aligners in Private
Especially during those early days as you get used to treatment, you'll also be getting accustomed to removing and placing your aligners back in your mouth. You may want to do this in the privacy of a restroom instead of in public. Since the clear aligners will be a snug fit for your teeth, you may find it a bit challenging to remove them and put them back in properly without 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 Yarmouth dentists are here to help and can address questions or concerns you may have. Feel free to request an appointment with us.