Here, our Edmonton dentists share 12 tips on how you and your smile can get the most out of your treatment with Invisalign Clear Aligners.
How to Get the Most out of Your Invisalign Clear Aligners
Clear aligners can be a great treatment option for patients that want to get a straighter smile or realign their teeth without having to wear wearing traditional metal braces. Clear aligners also have several advantages such as being removable and allowing you to straighten your teeth discreetly with their transparent appearance.
If you and your dentist determine that clear aligners are the right choice for you, you still might have a few questions about how you could wear them effectively, and make them fit comfortably into your busy life. Below, our dentists share tips on how you can have the best possible clear aligner experience.
1. Keep Your Aligners Clean
Because Invisalign aligners are clear and transparent, they show discolouration and food particles quite easily. That's why it's essential to clean your aligner trays and teeth efficiently every day. During the night, bacteria builds up on your trays while you are sleeping and by the end of the day, they will need to be cleaned again.
Rinse your aligners very well every time you take them out of your mouth. We suggest using clear, anti-bacterial soap to clean them, as well as soaking them in either denture cleaner or the cleaning solution your aligners come with.
Brush and floss your teeth thoroughly every time you put your aligners back in your mouth, and then you are ready 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. Keep Your Aligners Stored Properly
Every time you remove your aligners to play sports, eat, brush or floss you'll have to put them in a safe place. You can store them in places such as a plastic storage case that you can slip into your pocket. This can keep them from getting damaged or dirty and help keep your teeth clean when you put them back in. If you leave your aligners out, clean them well and soak them in a solution before putting them back in your mouth.
4. Give Your Teeth Time to Adjust
Your teeth will move in tiny increments with every set of clear aligners. Though the adjustment is not as difficult as with braces, which have brackets and wires to contend with, your teeth may still need a period of adjustment for the first few days you wear a new set. Some soreness is normal, but once your mouth adjusts you should be back to normal. Talk with your dentist about how to make the adjustment easier, and keep dental wax around in case you need to apply 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. Implement an Excellent Oral Hygiene Routine
While proper oral hygiene is critical for everybody, it's even more essential for patients that wear clear aligners. Because clear aligners fit snugly on your teeth to realign them into their proper positions, you're dealing with a double-edged sword; anything left on your teeth will be kept there by your aligners.
Where usually, some food, plaque, and bacteria would be rinsed away by your saliva, it can't happen when you are wearing your clear aligners. To help keep your teeth clean and lower your risk of decay and cavities, you'll have to brush and floss every time you take your aligners out to eat or drink anything that's not water.
7. Switch to Your 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 Every Day
An important part of your Invisalign treatment is ensuring that you are wearing them for the right amount of time every day, so your teeth will be able to shift in the corrected positions. You'll have to wear your aligners for approximately 22 hours a day which means you will have to minimize the time they're off your teeth for socializing, eating, and drinking.
As you get accustomed to the aligners being on your teeth, any insecurities you feel will most likely fade- and many people will probably not even notice that you are having your teeth straightened. If you do happen to speak with a slight lisp during the first few days of your treatment, you can practice talking to give yourself and your mouth the opportunity to adjust to your aligners.
9. Track 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. Carry 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 the 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 are Available to Answer Your Questions
If you ever have any questions about your clear aligners, your treatment plan, or how you can make wearing them easier, our Edmonton dentists are here to help and can address questions or concerns you may have. Feel free to request an appointment with us.