At Leaver & Gardner Orthodontics, we are excited to provide Invisalign for our adult and teen patients. Invisalign creates clear aligners that straighten the teeth over time by applying pressure. The aligners, also known as trays, are custom-made using 3D technology for each patient’s unique mouth and goals.
Invisalign offers patients many benefits, but those advantages come with a little more responsibility outside the office. That pressure can be daunting! We want everyone to get the most out of their Invisalign clear aligners, so we have gathered a few tips and tricks to help you leave treatment with the healthiest, straightest smile you can!
Let’s dive in!
Wear your aligners!
Okay, so our first tip is kind of an obvious one, but it’s still essential! The two coolest parts of Invisalign are:
1.) You can finish treatment in as little as six months, and
2.) The trays are removable, so there are no food restrictions!
However, if you are not diligent with wearing the trays, their removability could be your kryptonite. It’s crucial to wear the aligners for twenty-two hours daily and only take them out to eat, drink, and perform your oral hygiene routine for effective and efficient treatment. You don’t want to, “I’ll wear them next time,” your way into a longer overall treatment time! We know the adjustment period can be a little uncomfortable, but the more you wear them, the quicker the discomfort goes away.
If they are ever painful, you should call our office right away!
Clean Your Aligners and Brush Your Teeth.
Something we love about aligners is they are low maintenance and offer minimal disruption to your oral hygiene routine. To clean the trays, remove them from the mouth and brush them gently with lukewarm water. To clean your teeth and gums, just remove the trays to brush and floss like normal.
It is important to remember to clean your trays twice a day because unclean aligners can harbor bacteria and plaque that could cause infection or a funky smell and taste. None of those are inviting when it’s time to wear the trays! Infection and irregular wear can delay overall treatment time and prevent your smile from being what you’ve hoped for.
No Food or Drink Beyond This Point, Please.
You must remove the aligners to eat or drink anything other than water. Eating with the aligners could damage them and make them uncomfortable to wear. It can also stain them and ruin their translucent appearance. To preserve the “no aligners, but aligners look,” we recommend rinsing the mouth with water after every meal to clean the mouth of any residue that could stick to or stain the aligners.
Stick to the Plan!
We’ve likely all seen a movie where a character deviates from the rescue plan, and things go terribly awry. The same can happen if you don’t follow the treatment program carefully planned for you by Dr. Leaver or Dr. Gardner.
Each tray is worn for one to two weeks before moving on to the next. We know it can be tempting to skip ahead a few days or trays in an effort to speed the process along. Unfortunately, any attempts to quicken treatment will only slow it down!
Trying to force your teeth into a tray that doesn’t fit could damage the trays and cause a delay as new ones are made. If you wear the wrong tray for too long, it could alter your teeth’s movement pattern and result in backward steps in treatment. On top of that, you can cause yourself some unnecessary pain.
Have you ever set down a pen or bookmark and swore you’d come right back for it, only for it to be gone when you needed it again? You might be surprised to learn you can repeat that cycle with your aligners!
Whenever you remove your aligners, put them in their protective carrying case! Not only does this guard them against germs and physical damage, but it also helps you keep track of where they are. They are far less likely to end up in a restaurant or movie theater trash can if you can easily see or feel their carry case.
If you do lose them, don’t panic! Your orthodontist can have another made or adjust your treatment plan if necessary. To prepare for if this happens, we encourage our patients to keep their old aligners after they make a switch. These can prevent the teeth from retreating too far back while you wait for your replacement aligner.
But wait, there’s more!
At Leaver and Gardner Orthodontics, our entire team takes transforming your smile very seriously. We know navigating the world as an Invisalign user can be tricky, and we are always here to help! Whether you are a new, current, or returning patient with one or a list of questions, don’t hesitate to reach out. We strive to create a welcoming and encouraging environment for all our patients.