10 Tips for Wearing Invisalign Aligners from Our Orthodontists
Invisalign trays have allowed patients of all ages to get the straightening benefits of braces without the brackets, wires, and frequent tightening appointments that used to be part of traditional orthodontics. Invisalign works similar to traditional braces by slowly and continuously shifting the teeth to achieve the bite correction and teeth alignment you need. The big difference is that no one ever needs to know you have Invisalign aligners in your mouth!
These convenient, nearly invisible aligners are amazing tools to straighten teeth, however, there are some essential elements you must understand to make sure you are using your Invisalign aligners correctly. Keep reading to see our orthodontist’s 10 tips for wearing your Invisalign aligners and provide everything you need to know to keep your Invisalign progress on track throughout the orthodontic process!
1. Keep Them Clean
Starting with the basics – ensure your Invisalign aligners are cleaned regularly. Invisalign aligners are completely clear and translucent, meaning any discoloration or food left in the aligner will show quite easily. So be sure to clean your Invisalign twice per day, preferably at the same time you brush your teeth!
Remove the aligners from your mouth, then rinse your aligners with water. Clean them with a mild antibacterial soap, and brush your aligners with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Keep in mind – do not use toothpaste as this can be abrasive and cause discoloration and leave a residue. Then, rinse the aligners thoroughly and return them back in your mouth!
2. Remember Your Treatment Schedule for Switching Aligners
Switching your set of aligners on time is critical for your Invisalign treatment to work to its full potential. If you fail to switch at the right times, it could set back the progress of your treatment. You will need to change aligners roughly every seven days. The exact number of days you spend in each aligner will be customized for you by your orthodontist depending on how your teeth are responding to the treatment.
It’s recommended that you set a digital reminder on your phone or computer for the days when you must switch your aligners. Some aligners come with a designated iOS or Android app to track this. Either way, create a reminder system that works for you.
3. Don’t Eat or Drink with Your Invisalign Aligners In
You must take out your Invisalign aligners every time you eat and drink any meal. You may be tempted to leave in your aligners when you are just trying a quick bite of food or having a quick sip, but it’s important to resist the urge. Although these aligners are strong, they are not designed for chewing and biting and may get damaged. Also, if food or liquids get trapped under your aligners, it may lead to the rapid development of cavities.
4. Find a Secure Storage Solution for Your Custom Aligners
When you take your aligners out to eat, drink or clean them, you’ll want to make sure you have a secure way to store them so that they don’t get damaged or disposed of. You don’t want to put them in a napkin – they may get accidentally thrown out!
You also shouldn’t throw them directly on a table or in your bag – they may get damaged or dirty. Instead, your orthodontist should give you a small plastic case during your consultation to store your Invisalign trays (similar to ones used for retainers or dentures) whenever they are not in your mouth.
5. Wear Your Aligners for 22 Hours Per Day
To get the best treatment results, you’ll need to ensure your aligners are in your mouth for at least 22 hours per day. This means they should only come out for cleaning, eating, and drinking but nothing else! Wearing them less will result in a slower treatment progression, potentially misfitting aligners, and can set back your treatment progress in big ways.
6. Allow Time for Your Teeth to Adjust To Your Treatment Plan
Like traditional braces, Invisalign works by moving your teeth in mini-increments over time to improve your bite and the alignment of your teeth. That said, even these small adjustments can cause a little discomfort from time to time.
You can expect a small amount of discomfort when changing aligners. Do not take them out if you experience discomfort! This feeling will subside once your teeth have adjusted. If you need help managing this, your orthodontist can help.
7. Prioritize Oral Hygiene – Brush and Floss Your Teeth
Oral hygiene is super important for anyone, as the mouth is a gateway to the gut so your oral health can significantly affect your entire body. Thus, oral hygiene is particularly important for those using Invisalign. These aligners fit snugly to your teeth, therefore, they can “hold in” any bacteria or food particles close to your teeth, if it gets trapped under the aligner and can therefore cause dental issues. It’s extremely important to brush and floss at least twice per day during orthodontic treatment and to regularly clean your aligners.
8. Switch to a New Aligner at Night
If you experience discomfort from switching aligners, consider switching to a new aligner before bedtime. If you can sleep through those first couple of hours, you’ll find it much easier to manage your new aligners.
9. Monitor Your Diet and Eating Schedule
Since Invisalign needs to be in your mouth for 20-22 hours a day, this only leaves 2-4 hours a day for eating. You can split these two hours into four 30-minute increments to get the most of your time without aligners. Just be sure to minimize and monitor the time the aligners spend out of your mouth. Digital timers can help!
10. Use the Chewies
Chewies are little rubber chew sticks that will be provided to you when you start your Invisalign treatment. Using the Chewies is very simple: when you put your Invisalign trays in, chew on the Chewy on every single tooth once or twice. This exercise should take no more than 60 seconds. When you chew on the Chewy you will feel your aligners tighten on each tooth. This tightness is an indication that the aligners area is fully seated, activated, and functioning optimally. Chewies make the aligners seat more evenly on your teeth with the correct pressure and will allow the Invisalign to work faster and more efficiently.
Invisalign has allowed many to enjoy the benefits of traditional braces without the metal brackets, wires, and everything else that comes along with them and are virtually invisible. Although these aligners are coveted as the more esthetic and comfortable tooth straightening treatment modality these days, they still need to be utilized properly to optimize the orthodontic results. By keeping your aligners clean, following the instructions for when and how to wear them with an Invisalign treatment plan, and protecting your aligners from damage or being lost, you will have a gorgeous new smile in no time!