Are you interested in learning how to get the most out of your Invisalign clear aligners for your smile – and how to wear them comfortably? Our Ottawa dentists go over a few pointers with you.
How can I get the most out of wearing Invisalign clear aligners?
Clear aligners can be a great orthodontic treatment option for patients who want to straighten or realign their teeth without wearing traditional metal braces. They're removable and allow you to straighten your teeth without drawing attention to yourself.
If you and your dentist decide that clear aligners are the best option for you, you may still have concerns about how to properly wear them and fit them into your hectic schedule. These are some helpful hints from our dentists for a great clear aligner experience.
1. Keep Your Aligners Clean
Because Invisalign aligners are clear and transparent, food particles and discolouration are easily visible. That's why it's critical to brush and floss your teeth as well as your trays daily. Bacteria builds up on the trays while you sleep, and it will need to be cleaned again by the end of the day.
Each time you take the aligners out of your mouth, give them a thorough rinse. We recommend washing your aligners with clear, antibacterial soap and soaking them in either denture cleaner or the cleaning solution that came with them.
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
You'll switch to a new set of clear aligners every two weeks or so. It's critical to switch to the next set in the series at the appointed time so that your teeth shift as they should and you can complete your treatment on time.
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. Store Your Clear Aligners Properly
You'll need a safe place to store your clear aligners when you take them out to eat, brush or floss, or play sports. Keep them in a secure location, such as a pocket-sized plastic storage case. This will keep them clean and prevent them from becoming dirty or damaged when you replace them. If they've been left out, thoroughly clean them and soak them in solution before reintroducing them to your mouth.
4. Give Your Teeth Time to Adjust
With each set of clear aligners, your teeth will move in small increments. Even though the adjustment is not as difficult as it is with braces, which have brackets and wires to contend with, your teeth may still need some time to adjust for the first few days after you start wearing a new set. Some soreness is to be expected, but once your mouth adjusts, you should be fine. Consult your dentist for tips on how to adjust go more smoothly, and keep dental wax on hand in case you need it.
5. Use a Whitening Toothpaste
Did you know that your Invisalign aligners can aid in teeth whitening? You can use this to your advantage to keep remnants of the whitening agent and fluoride from washing away after teeth brushing because they are good at holding substances right up against teeth.
6. Practice Excellent Oral Hygiene
While good oral hygiene is important for everyone, it's especially important for clear aligner patients. Because clear aligners are designed to fit snugly against your teeth and realign them into their proper positions, you're dealing with a double-edged sword: anything on your teeth will be held in place by your aligners.
When you have clear aligners in, bacteria, food, and plaque will not be rinsed away by your saliva as they would normally. Brush and floss every time you remove your aligners to eat or drink anything other than water to keep your teeth sparkling clean and reduce your risk of decay and cavities.
7. Change to New Aligners at Night
If you're having trouble sleeping through the first few hours after switching sets of aligners, switching them at night might be a good solution. Before going to bed, you might want to take an over-the-counter pain reliever like ibuprofen or acetaminophen. But consult with your dentist before you do.
8. Wear Your Aligners for 22 Hours Each Day
Making sure your Invisalign aligners get enough daily wear time to move your teeth into their proper positions is an important part of treatment. You'll need to wear your aligners for about 22 hours a day, which means cutting down on the amount of time you take them off for eating, drinking, and socializing.
Any insecurity you may have about wearing clear aligners on your teeth will likely fade as you get used to them – and others will likely be unable to tell you're straightening your teeth. If you have a slight lisp during the first few days of treatment, practise speaking to give your mouth and yourself time to adjust to your aligners.
9. Monitor 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're trying to maintain your weight, talk to your doctor or a nutritionist about how you can safely increase the number of calories or protein in your meals. Also, drink plenty of water to rehydrate yourself and replace any water lost due to excessive salivating, which is common with clear aligners.
10. Have Backup Aligners With You
Some clear aligner plans include backup aligners in case your first set is lost or damaged, but if not, keep your previous set of aligners as a backup in case your current set is lost or damaged.
This is because new aligners usually take a week to arrive, and if you don't wear them during that time, you risk losing valuable progress.
If you've been wearing your old aligners while waiting for your new ones to arrive, you'll want to resume wearing them regularly and update your reminders for when you'll need to switch to new aligners in the future. Though this temporary setback may delay your treatment by a week, if you do not have a backup or previous set on hand, you may face an even greater setback.
11. Change Aligners in Private
You'll become accustomed to removing and replacing your aligners in your mouth, especially in the early days as you adjust to treatment. Instead of doing this in public, you might want to do it in the privacy of a restroom. Because the clear aligners will be a tight fit for your teeth, you may find it difficult to remove and replace them without a mirror.
12. We're Here to Answer Questions
Our Ottawa dentists are available to answer any questions or concerns you may have about your clear aligners, your treatment plan, or how to make wearing them more comfortable. Please contact us to schedule an appointment.