Today, our Nanaimo dentists share a handful of tips on how you can get the most out of your treatment with clear aligners.
Getting the Most Out of Your Invisalign Clear Aligners
Clear aligners may be a great treatment option for those who want to get straighter teeth without having to wear traditional metal braces, they can even be removed and straighten your teeth discreetly.
If both you and your dentist agree that clear aligners are the right method of treatment for you, you may still have some lingering questions on how they can fit into your busy lifestyle and be used as effectively as possible. Below our dentists have shared some advice on how you could have a great experience with clear aligners.
1. Keep Your Aligners Clean
Since these aligners are transparent and clear, they will easily show any food particles and discolouration. This makes it essential to thoroughly clean your aligner trays and teeth each day. Bacteria builds up on the trays at night while you sleep and throughout the day, so they will have to be cleaned again.
Every time you take your aligners out of your mouth you need to rinse them. We suggest washing them with clear, antibacterial soap and soaking them in either the cleaning solution they come with or denture cleaner.
Brush and floss your teeth very well before putting your trays back in your mouth, then you are set to go.
2. Schedule the Times You Switch Your Aligner
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. Properly Store Your Aligners
When you take your clear aligners out to eat, brush or floss, or play sports, you'll need a safe place to store them. Keep them in a safe place such as a plastic storage case you can slip in your pocket. This will protect them from getting dirty or damaged, and help keep your teeth clean when you put them back in. If they are left out, clean them thoroughly and soak them in solution before placing them back in your mouth.
4. Give Your Teeth Time to Adjust
With each set of your aligners, your teeth will shift in tiny increments. While the adjustment isn't as hard as with braces, which have wires and brackets to deal with, your teeth might require time to adjust during the first several days you wear a new set. It's normal to experience a bit of soreness, however, you should be back to normal after your mouth has adjusted. Speak with your dentist about how you can adjust to your treatment easier, and make sure you carry dental wax with you in case you have to apply it.
5. Brush With 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 Great Oral Hygiene
While proper oral hygiene is important for everybody, it's even more critical for patients who choose clear aligners. Since the point of clear aligners is 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 there by your aligners.
Where usually, some bacteria, food, and plaque would be rinsed away by your saliva, that won't happen when you have your clear aligners in. To keep your teeth squeaky clean and reduce your risk of decay and cavities, you'll need to brush and floss each time you remove your aligners to eat or drink anything other than water.
7. Switch to New Aligners at Night
You can switch to your next set of aligners at night if you experience some discomfort when changing to a new tray. This way, you could sleep during the first several hours. Another thing you can do before bed is take over-the-counter pain medication, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
8. Wear Your Aligners for 22 Hours a 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. Watch Your Diet & Monitor 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 are trying to keep weight on, you may want to speak with your doctor or nutritionist to discuss how you can safely include more calories or protein into your meals. And, try to drink extra water, which will rehydrate you, and replenish any water you may have lost due to excessive salivating, which may happen with clear aligners.
10. Carry Replacement Aligners
In some plans, clear aligner treatments come with backup aligners just in case your first set becomes lost, however, if you don't have replacement aligners carry a previous tray as a backup in case you lose or damage your current one.
You should take these measures as it usually takes approximately a week for new aligners to come in, and in that time, if you are not wearing your aligners your treatment could lose valuable progress.
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 Privately
During the early days when you are getting accustomed to your treatment, you'll also be getting used to taking your aligners out and putting them back in your mouth. We suggest doing this privately in a restroom, instead of in public. Because the clear aligners fit snuggly against your teeth you might find it tricky to remove them and put them back on properly without using 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 Nanaimo dentists are here to help and can address questions or concerns you may have. Feel free to request an appointment with us.