Invisalign is a very popular and effective alternative to traditional wire-and-bracket braces for straightening teeth. It’s more comfortable and more convenient, as the aligners are easier to care for and eat with. However, it is still an orthodontic treatment, which means that it requires specific management in order for the treatment to be successful. Here are a few tips on maximizing the results of your Invisalign treatment.
- Know how to care for your aligners.
Keep your aligners clean using warm water and antibacterial soap. There are also products available from Invisalign to clean trays, but mild soap and water usually do a good job. It is not advised to clean the aligners with toothpaste, as it can scratch the plastic, creating places for bacteria to live.
- Keep your mouth extra clean.
You’re probably already brushing every day and (hopefully) flossing at least a few times a week. Once you begin the Invisalign treatment, however, it’ll be especially important to floss every day. The aligners can hold any debris left over after your cleaning routine right up against your teeth. Normally, your saliva can help clear this away, but it won’t be able to when the aligners are in place. To make sure your teeth are as clean as they can be and to reduce your risk of developing tooth decay or cavities during treatment, floss every day to clean in between them.
- Stick to the 48-hour instruction.
You should always wear your aligners for as long as possible, but this rule is especially important in the first two days. During these first 48 hours of wearing them, orthodontists recommend that you only take the aligners out to brush your teeth.
- Commit to wearing them at least 22 hours a day.
To go along with the previous rule, you have to be diligent about taking the aligners out as little as possible. You are more likely to get fast, positive results only if you are willing to wear them for at least 22 hours every day.
- Change your aligners on time and in order.
You won’t make the treatment go faster or more easily by changing aligners when you feel like it. Be sure always to follow the instructions of your doctor, whether he tells you to change it early, on schedule, or a few days later.
- It will feel a little weird, but you’ll get used to it.
It’s only to be expected that you’ll feel something in your mouth when you first begin wearing the aligners. It may even be uncomfortable (though not painful) to feel something pushing against your teeth, but as you wear the aligners as instructed for most hours of the day, you’ll notice them less and less.
- Don’t be afraid to use the Invisalign attachments.
These “buttons” are placed on your teeth before or during the Invisalign treatment and help to hold a tray in place or move a tooth. Some people shy away from them, but they can really help to speed up treatment.
- Stick to your dietary instructions.
First, it’s important that you drink a lot of water. Your mouth is going to sense the new “obstruction” and will increase saliva production to try to clear it out. You could become dehydrated if you don’t replenish with water. Also, be careful to follow the guidelines on what you can and should not eat given to you by your dentist. Not doing so could potentially set back the treatment.
- Use your retainer properly.
Just as with traditional braces, you’ll need to wear a retainer once the Invisalign treatment is complete. Not doing so could cause you to lose some of your progress. Most of the time, it’s recommended that you wear the retainer all day for a few months, then only nightly. Be sure to keep up with all follow-up appointments and pay close attention to post-care instructions from your dentist.
Additionally, you’ll probably talk with a lisp when you first begin wearing the aligners. Instead of taking them out, however, keep them in and practice talking with them. Eventually, you’ll get used to speaking with them in.