Congratulations! You’ve now got your Invisalign clear aligners and you are ready to begin the journey to your beautiful smile. One thing your dentist probably emphasized was that the aligners only work if they are used properly. They gave you a schedule for changing the aligners, checking in with their office periodically, and wearing the aligners as directed each day.
But what else can you do to maximize your treatment?
That’s a great question! In this article, we break down 10 Invisalign tips for ensuring that your experience brings you the best results possible.
10 Tips For Successful Invisalign Treatment
If you’re anxious to get started and want to do this right, just follow these 10 tips for Invisalign treatment and you’ll be well on your way!
#1 – Accept That There Will Be an Adjustment Period
Your Invisalign aligners will feel strange at first. They will take up space in your mouth and your speech will sound different. You may experience soreness and tenderness, too. Be assured that you will get used to the aligners and the tenderness will only last a short time.
Don’t wear your invisible aligners for a few minutes, take them out because you’re uncomfortable, and think you will try them again tomorrow. Wear them as directed so your teeth can begin to move into the right alignment for your eventual, beautiful smile. You can do it!
#2 – Be Proactive with Any Tenderness/Soreness
You may experience discomfort each time you change your aligners. This is temporary. You can suck on ice cubes and take over-the-counter pain medicine to relieve the soreness. Make sure to also stay away from crunchy or chewy foods for a few days. The soreness will go away before you know it. One note: Don’t try to relieve the tenderness by taking the aligners out. This will only prolong the soreness.
If you do experience anything more severe than mild discomfort or it lasts longer than a few days, let your dentist know right away. You don’t have to suffer and there may be another problem that needs attention.
#3 – Wear The Aligners Unless You Are Eating, Drinking, Brushing, or Flossing
This rule makes it simple: Always have the aligners in unless you are eating, drinking, brushing, or flossing. You have invested a great deal in treatment with Invisalign and you don’t want that investment to go to waste.
The guideline for wearing the aligners is 22 hours a day, even when you sleep. You only remove them when eating or drinking, which also means you don’t have restrictions on food. That’s one of the advantages of aligners over metal braces. The only other time you remove the aligners is for cleaning them and brushing and flossing your teeth.
#4 – Put Your Aligners in the Case When They Aren’t in Your Mouth!
During the two hours a day that they aren’t in your mouth, your aligners should always be in the case you were given for them. In fact, get an extra case and keep one with you all the time. When you go out, put your aligners in the case while eating. Don’t wrap them in a napkin or lay them on your plate. It’s easy to forget them and they may be lost. When you are at home, keep in mind that pets love to chew on them, too!
If you do lose an aligner, contact your dentist right away. They will advise you on how to keep your teeth from reverting to their previous positions while waiting for replacement aligners.
#5 – Follow Your Customized Schedule for Changing Aligners
Success depends on changing your aligners on time and following your dentist’s directions if there are changes in the schedule. Set reminders in your phone or mark the schedule on a calendar to remind you. If you forget to change an aligner on time, you will delay your treatment. Be sure to tell your dentist right away if you lose or damage an aligner or if you don’t change an aligner on time.
#6 – Clean Your Aligners Regularly
Aligners must be cleaned daily. Remove them and mix a small amount of gentle, antibacterial soap in a bowl of slightly warm water. (You can also use one tablespoon of white vinegar mixed in warm water or a tablespoon of baking soda in a cup of water.) Let the aligners soak for about 25 minutes. This will eliminate most of the bacteria. Then rinse them with cold water and put them back in your mouth.
There are also cleaners specifically made for clear aligners if you would rather use them. You can also brush them gently with a soft toothbrush, but be careful. A hard toothbrush will scratch the plastic.
One important thing to keep in mind: Don’t use toothpaste! It can damage the plastic aligners and then they won’t fit properly. Don’t use any cleaner with any color in it; the color can be picked up by the plastic aligner and they will no longer be invisible in your mouth.
#7 – Keep Up Your Good Oral Hygiene Routine and Checkups
Your brushing and flossing habits are even more important now. Bits of food can be trapped under the aligners, so take the aligners out at least twice a day to brush, floss, and rinse your teeth with mouthwash.
You will have periodic appointments to check on your treatment progress. Don’t assume these take the place of your routine exams and cleanings. In these, your dentist will be able to identify any dental problems, like tooth decay or gum issues before they become bigger, more expensive problems. Invisalign clear aligners make your routine dental cleanings easier than if you had traditional metal braces, so don’t skip any cleanings.
#8 – Don’t Throw Aligners Away
Don’t throw aligners away until your dentist tells you to do so. You never know when you might need a backup. If you lose or damage an aligner, the last one you removed is the closest fit to your teeth. Your dentist may want you to wear the older one until the replacement arrives. It’s better than not having one at all. Whatever happens, you don’t want your teeth to start slipping back to their previous, misaligned positions.
#9 – Drink Lots Of Water
Increasing your water intake while undergoing any orthodontic treatment is a great way to keep your mouth clean. Just swish with water while you’re out to wash food particles out of your mouth and away from the aligners, especially if you forgot your travel toothbrush.
The first week or so of wearing clear aligners is a period of adjustment. Your mouth tends to generate more saliva because it recognizes something different and the saliva is trying to wash it away. Drink water every hour or so to keep your mouth comfortable and clean.
#10 – Understand That You Will Need to Wear a Retainer After Invisalign Treatment
Don’t be caught off guard when your dentist tells you that a retainer will be necessary when your treatment is over. The retainer’s job is to hold your teeth in their final position. Your dentist will tell you how often and how long you need to use the retainer. You’ve gotten this far, so don’t take a chance that your teeth will slip back to their misaligned positions!
You’re On Your Way to a Great Invisalign Experience!
Clear aligners to straighten teeth have become hugely popular. They are more comfortable than traditional metal braces, plus they are practically invisible on your teeth. By following the tips we’ve covered above, you can help optimize the success of your Invisalign clear aligners.
Our team here at Strafford Dental believes in providing top-quality care to every patient and can help you achieve a straight, beautiful smile through treatment with Invisalign. We are committed to making sure that everything goes smoothly throughout your treatment plan.
Don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions you may have about your Invisalign treatment. We are here to help!