10 Tips for Invisalign Clear Aligners: How to Get the Most from Your Treatment
Invisalign is now one of the most popular orthodontic treatments to help patients achieve a beautiful smile that they are proud to show off. These clear aligners gently shift teeth into the correct position over time, similarly to traditional braces.
Of course, like with any prescribed treatment, if you are starting orthodontic treatment with Invisalign, it is important to follow your dentist’s instructions carefully to achieve the desired result. But, there are some valuable tips to keep in mind that can help improve your chance of success with clear aligners and make the process as smooth and comfortable as possible.
In this article, we’ve broken down 10 tips that will help you get the most from your treatment with Invisalign (or other clear aligners):
#1 – Keep Your Aligners In as Much as Possible!
The number one thing that can hinder your success with Invisalign is simply not wearing your aligners as much as you should. Ideally, you should wear them for as close to 22 hours a day as you possibly can. If you get complacent and your aligners are out of your mouth for too long, it can extend the length of time for your treatment process and even hinder results. For the best outcome from your treatment, you should wear your aligners as much as possible, removing them only to eat, drink (non-clear liquids), and brush/floss your teeth.
#2 – It Will Take a Little Practice, But Talking With Aligners Will Get Easier
In many cases, it may feel strange and slightly more difficult to speak normally with aligners in place. You may speak with a slight lisp at first. It is important to keep practicing talking with the aligners in your mouth. Normally it will just take a few days for the lisp to go away and sound like your normal speech again.
#3 – Be Proactive with Any Tenderness/Soreness
One of your dentist’s goals with clear aligner treatment is to ensure that they will sit comfortably in your mouth. But, there still may be some initial, temporary discomfort while adjusting to new aligners. Keep in mind, though, that you don’t have to just try and power through any tenderness or soreness. Trying to do that may lead to you wanting to take them out more than you should (refer back to #1).
The good news is, there are some easy, proactive steps you can take to combat minor discomfort and make the adjustment process more comfortable. These include:
- Sucking on an ice cube when your aligners are out to numb your gums.
- Avoiding crunchy, crispy, and overly chewy foods when your gums or teeth are sore.
- When it’s time to switch to a new aligner(s), switch them early in the day. This will give you plenty of time to adjust to any tenderness before you need to go to sleep.
- If you notice a rough edge on an aligner, let your dentist know right away so it can be fixed.
#4 – Properly Store Your Aligners
Don’t create the opportunity for your aligners to be lost, damaged, or even become the dog’s new favorite toy. If one or both of your aligners does get damaged or lost, your treatment will have to be paused while you wait for a new replacement aligner. Thus, extending your treatment time longer than originally planned.
So, whenever you need to remove your aligners, it is very important that they are stored in the provided case. This will ensure that you know exactly where they are and they stay protected.
#5 – Maintain a Good Oral Hygiene Routine
Good oral hygiene is imperative while wearing Invisalign to ensure that your mouth stays clean and healthy. This means briefly taking your aligners out at least in the morning and at night to brush (two minutes at a time), floss, and use an antibacterial/fluoride mouthwash.
#6 – Keep Your Aligners Clean Too!
Just like you should be taking the time to keep your teeth properly clean during your orthodontic treatment, you should also be keeping your clear aligners clean. They are very easy to clean and you can simply use warm water and antibacterial soap. Regular soap and water usually do a sufficient job but there are also cleaning products made specifically for clear aligners. Make sure to never use toothpaste to clean them because it can scratch the plastic and damage them.
#7 – Follow the Proper Schedule for Changing Your Aligners
At the start of your treatment and during the process, your dentist will provide a schedule for when your aligners should be changed and the order in which to change them. It is very important to follow this schedule to achieve the best final result.
Usually, each set is worn for roughly two weeks. Do not try and speed up your treatment by switching to the next set of aligners before it is time. They will not fit properly and this could actually end up extending the overall treatment period.
#8 – Keep Your Previous Set of Aligners
Don’t throw away your most recent set of aligners when it’s time to switch to the next set in the schedule. If you keep the last set on hand, then you’ll have a “backup” just in case a current aligner(s) gets damaged or lost.
In that situation, you’ll have the closest fit to the current placement of your teeth to wear until the replacements come in. Thus, preventing your teeth from moving back into the previous position and significantly extending the treatment time. Then, once you have the replacements, just restart the 2-week timeframe on the new set of aligners.
#9 – Don’t Skip Any Routine Dental Cleanings
There’s no excuse to skip any of your routine dental cleanings. With removable aligners, these cleanings are much easier than if you had braces on. And, as we’ve mentioned above, maintaining good oral hygiene during orthodontic treatment is very important to the final result. Continuing with your normal oral hygiene routine of dental cleanings every 6 months will prevent oral health problems from delaying treatment with your clear aligners.
#10 – Don’t Slack on Wearing a Retainer After Invisalign Treatment
Wearing a retainer after you have finished active treatment with clear aligners is critical to holding your teeth in their new, desired position. The last thing you want is to throw away all that time, energy, and money you spent by letting your teeth shift back to their previous, unaligned places. So, make sure you listen to your dentist’s recommendation on how often and for how long you should wear your retainer(s) and follow those instructions.
You Can Get a Beautiful Smile with Clear Aligners
Invisalign clear aligners provide a more convenient and discreet way to straighten your teeth compared to traditional braces. By following the tips we covered above, you can help ensure that your process with these aligners is as smooth and successful as possible.
Here at Cook & Gutsche Orthodontics, we can answer any questions you have about treatment with Invisalign and help you achieve a straight, beautiful smile that you are proud to show off. Make sure to also read our in-depth article on the Invisalign System for more information on this treatment option.
Contact us to schedule an appointment today!