Today our Amherstburg dentists share tips on how you can get the most out of your treatment with Invisalign clear aligners, and make them feel as comfortable as possible.
How to Get the Most Out of Your Invisalign clear aligners
Clear aligners may be a good treatment option for patients that want to realign or straighten their teeth without having to use traditional metal braces. Clear aligners can also offer a lot of benefits such as being removable and allowing you to discreetly straighten your teeth.
Even if you and your dentist have decided that clear aligners are the best option for you, you still might have some questions about how you can get the best possible results from your treatment and help the aligners fit into your everyday life. Our dental team has shared some tips that can help you have a good experience with clear aligners.
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 important to clean both your teeth and the trays thoroughly every day. At night, bacteria builds up on the trays while you sleep and by the end of the day, it will need another cleaning.
Rinse the aligners well every time you take them out of your 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
Approximately every two weeks, you will have to switch to a new set of clear aligners. It's essential to change 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 Clear Aligners Stored Properly
You must keep your aligners in a safe place every time you take them out to eat, play sports, brush, or floss such as a plastic storage case you can slip in your pocket. This will keep them safe from becoming damaged or dirty, and help keep your teeth clean when you put them back in. If you leave your aligners out, clean them thoroughly and soak them in solution before putting them back inside your mouth.
4. Allow Time for Your Teeth 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. Maintain Excellent Oral Hygiene Practices
While everyone needs to practice proper oral hygiene, it's even more important for patients that use clear aligners. Because the point of clear aligners is to have them fit snugly against your teeth and realign them into their proper positions, you're working with a double-edged sword; anything on your teeth will be kept there by your aligners.
While it's normal for some bacteria, food, and plaque to be rinsed away by your saliva, it won't happen when you are wearing your clear aligners. To make sure your teeth stay clean and lower your risk of decay and cavities, you will have to brush and floss every time you take your aligners out to eat or drink anything that's not 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 Every Day
A key part of treatment is making sure your Invisalign aligners get enough daily wear time so your teeth move into their proper positions. You will need to wear your aligners for about 22 hours every day, and that means minimizing the time they're off your teeth for eating, drinking, and 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. Track Your Eating Times & Diet
Since you will only have a total of two hours to eat every day, you might find that by necessity most of your snacking will need to be cut out.
If you are trying to keep weight on, you might need to talk to your doctor or nutritionist about ways you can safely include more protein or calories in your meals. And, try to drink extra water, that can keep you hydrated and replenish any water you might have lost as a result of excessive salivating, which could occur with clear aligners.
10. Carry Backup Aligners
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 your treatment, you'll also be getting used 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. Ask Us Any Questions You Have
If you ever have any questions about your clear aligners, your treatment plan, or how you can make wearing them easier, our Amherstburg dentists are here to help and can address questions or concerns you may have. Feel free to request an appointment with us.