In this blog, our dentists at Wembley Dental Clinic in Parksville share some tips and tricks on how you and your smile can get the most out of your clear aligners treatment.
How can I make the most out of my Invisalign clear aligners treatment?
For patients that wish to realign or straighten their teeth without having to use traditional metal braces, clear aligners could be a great option and, it comes with many advantages. They can be removed to eat and offer a transparent appearance to provide patients with a discreet orthodontic treatment option.
If you and your dentist determine that clear aligners are the best option for you, you still might have some lingering questions about how to wear them effectively and make them fit into your busy schedule. Below, our dentists are providing you with a list of tips that can help you have the best clear aligner experience possible.
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 each time you remove them from the 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
About every two weeks, you'll switch to a new set of clear aligners. It's important to switch 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 Safely
When you remove your aligners to eat, brush, floss, or play sports, you will have to store them in a safe place. For example, you can keep them in a plastic storage case that slips into your pocket. This will protect them from getting damaged or dirty, and help keep your teeth clean when you go to put them back in. If you leave your aligners out you will have to thoroughly clean them and soak them in a proper solution, before you put them back on your teeth.
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. Switch to 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 Habits
Even though proper oral hygiene is essential for everyone, it's even more important for patients that use clear aligners. Because the main point of clear aligners is to fit snugly on your teeth to realign them into their corrected positions, you're managing a double-edged sword; anything that's on your teeth will be kept there by your aligners.
Usually, some plaque, food, and bacteria are rinsed away by your saliva, but this won't happen when you have your clear aligners on. To help keep your teeth properly clean and lower your risk of decay and cavities, you'll have to brush and floss every time you take your aligners to eat or drink anything that is not water.
7. Change to Your New Aligners Before Bed
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 at least 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. Schedule Your Diet & Eating Times
Because you will only have two hours a day to eat, you might find that you will have to cut snacking out of your diet.
If you are trying to maintain or gain weight, you might want to talk to your doctor or nutritionist about ways you can safely include more calories or protein in your meals. And, try to drink extra water, which will rehydrate you, and replenish any water you might lose as a result of excessive salivating, which could happen with clear aligners.
10. Carry Backup Aligners With You
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 Your Aligners in Private
Especially during the early days as you get accustomed to your treatment, you'll also be getting used to removing and placing your aligners back in your mouth. You might want to do this in the privacy of a restroom rather than in public. Because the clear aligners will be a snug fit for your teeth, you migiht find it a bit challenging to remove them and put them back in properly without a mirror.
12. Our Dentists are Here to Answer Your Questions
If you ever have any questions about your clear aligners, your treatment plan, or how you can make wearing them easier, our Parksville dentists are here to help and can address questions or concerns you may have. Feel free to request an appointment with us.