Invisalign Tips and Tricks: What Your Dentist Wants You To Know
Although most of us believe that having a beautiful smile is important, it’s rare for someone to naturally have a perfect set of teeth. For decades, braces have been used to straighten teeth and correct dental issues that may be either cosmetic or functional.
But now, metal braces are often replaced with the clear aligners known as Invisalign. If you plan to visit the dentist shortly and want to ask about this orthodontic option, you certainly aren’t alone. It’s become more popular and more accessible with each passing year and is known as a much subtler way to straighten teeth.
That said, using Invisalign does come with some unique responsibilities. To get the most out of this treatment option, you’ll want to follow all recommendations made by your dentist. Below, you’ll find some tips and tricks of the trade that will make your treatment process go much more smoothly.
Don’t Eat or Drink With Your Aligners In
Traditional metal braces are worn all the time, but one of the best things about Invisalign trays is that they can be easily removed when necessary. You should remove your aligners when eating and drinking. Water is the only thing you can consume with your aligners in place. Even drinks like coffee and tea can stain your aligners, while food of any kind can cause your aligners to become dirty or damaged. As a rule, remember to remove your aligners before eating a meal, grabbing a snack, or taking a sip.
Know How to Combat New Tray Discomfort
Although Invisalign is generally considered to be more comfortable than metal brackets, patients may still experience a bit of discomfort every time they switch to new trays. If your mouth feels sore after starting to use a new set of aligners, you might consider taking an over-the-counter inflammatory as a preventative or sucking on an ice cube to numb your gums a bit. (Just make sure not to chew on the ice, as this isn’t a good choice for your teeth!) Many dentists also recommend that their patients start using their new trays early in the morning; that way, you don’t have to adjust overnight and wake up with discomfort. If your trays have sharp edges, talk to your dentist or orthodontist about fixing it to reduce the risk of cuts or sores.
Practice Talking With Your Aligners In
Invisalign is designed to be difficult to see, but if you aren’t used to speaking with aligners in, your speech may give away your dental treatment at first. Aligners can feel clunky in the mouth until you get used to the sensation; some people even have a lisp when they first start wearing them. If you practice talking on your own, you can make adjustments that will make your aligners much less noticeable. That way, you won’t feel self-conscious in class, at work, or when socializing.
Clean Your Trays the Right Way
Brushing and flossing your teeth is immensely important when wearing Invisalign. But you’ll also need to clean your trays correctly to maximize their lifespan and ensure they aren’t noticeable when worn. You should never use toothpaste to clean your aligners, as it can cause discoloration. Instead, use a clear anti-bacterial soap and a soft-bristled toothbrush to get the job done. You can also soak them in a denture cleaner or specially-made cleaning crystals to remove debris.
Track Your Wear Time
The average Invisalign treatment time is just over one year — but the process may be delayed if you don’t wear your aligners for enough time each day. You should wear your aligners for around 22 hours per day for the best results. If you have trouble remembering to put them back in after a meal, consider using an app that can help you track your wear time. Using technology to remind you can allow you to form healthy oral habits.
Always Keep Your Dental Appointments
Finally, the use of clear aligners — and any kind of long-term orthodontic treatment — will require you to keep your regularly scheduled dental visits. While going to the dentist may not be your favorite activity in the world, these appointments will ensure your trays can be changed promptly and that your progress is being monitored. What’s more, your dentist will ensure your oral health is the best it can be. When your treatment is over, you’ll be able to confidently grin from ear to ear.
Now that you’re familiar with how to get the most out of your clear aligners, it might be time to talk to your dentist about whether this option is right for you. For additional information or to schedule an appointment, please contact us today.