New Invisalign patients have an incredible journey ahead of them – but we understand if you’re just looking forward to your new smile. But Invisalign puts more responsibility on the patient than traditional braces, so there is a little work ahead before you reach that happy, straight grin.
Fortunately, Invisalign makes things pretty simple for its patients. If you follow the tips below, you’ll be much more likely to speed through your treatment and feel comfortable throughout.
Invisalign is different from anything you’ve tried before, but once you get accustomed to your aligners, you’ll be living life as usual – that’s the alternative orthodontics goal.
How to Win at Invisalign – What New Patients Might Not Know
You must keep your aligners in for long enough each day
The official recommendation is that you wear your aligners for 20-22 hours a day. That might sound pretty manageable before you’re actually living it out – but this is quite a bit of time. If you’re accustomed to eating long meals, snacking frequently, or drinking coffee throughout the afternoon (more on your eating habits below), you need to be careful to clean your teeth and put your aligners back in right away.
Metal braces aren’t removable, so they’re straightening your teeth 24/7. Because you can take your Invisalign aligners out, you need to assume some additional responsibility. The more time you spend with your aligners in each day, the closer your progress will adhere to your planned treatment schedule.
There are other reasons for putting your aligners back in ASAP, too – doing so helps you keep track of them and reduces the risk of them getting thrown out or misplaced. Replacing a lost or damaged aligner takes time, and can throw off your progress.
There will be an adjustment period
You’re adding material to your mouth, and that always feels a bit strange. While Invisalign aligners aren’t especially large or bulky, your mouth is so sensitive that you will feel a little off at first.
Some patients notice themselves producing extra saliva, but this will quickly reset as you get used to your aligners. What can take a little more time is getting comfortable speaking with Invisalign. Your tongue has to navigate the aligners and you might feel like you have a bit of a lisp.
Fortunately, this is only temporary – and you can help speed along your adjustment process. Try reading aloud at home or when you’re driving to or from work. This will help you practice on your own and get a handle on your new diction. Before you know it, you’ll be sounding just like yourself again.
There will also be some soreness after you get new aligners, but this will only last a day or two (and if you’re experiencing prolonged pain, be sure to get in touch).
The last thing that women wearing Invisalign might not expect – makeup tends to stick to the aligners. That means that if you’re a fan of red lipstick or colorful lip gloss, you might want to choose something a little more neutral during treatment.
You might need to change the way you eat
One of the significant benefits of Invisalign is that you don’t need to worry about avoiding the kinds of foods that would wreak havoc on traditional braces. But this doesn’t mean that your diet will necessarily stay the same during Invisalign.
Your Invisalign eating restrictions are actually more about the way you eat and drink, rather than the snacks and beverages themselves (with a few exceptions we’ll detail below). Essentially, you need to make sure your teeth stay clean – and every time you eat, you need to brush them before you replace your trays. That tends to mean that you’ll want to eat fewer times throughout the day, and also pay attention to how any beverages you drink with your aligners in might have an effect.
Invisalign patients benefit from the following eating habits –
- Drinking more water – Water is a dentist’s favorite drink for many reasons, but it’s especially beneficial for Invisalign patients. It helps keep your teeth clean and your aligners stain-free, and is a better choice than sugary or acidic alternatives that might get trapped between your teeth and aligners.
- Snacking less frequently – Every time you eat, you need to remove your trays and then clean your teeth afterwards. If you’re a big snacker, this translates to a ton of trips to the restroom. Instead, focus on eating larger meals that nourish you throughout the day and don’t leave you reaching for the chips. This actually means that many Invisalign patients lose a little weight during treatment, as they have an incentive to skip snacks.
- Avoiding hot/dark drinks – Beverages like coffee and red wine will stain your aligners, which defeats the purpose of alternative orthodontics. You should also take your aligners out when drinking anything hot, as this can lead to aligners becoming twisted or warped and not straightening your teeth properly.
- Avoiding sugary snacks – The sweeter or starchier the food, the more acids it’s going to nourish in the mouth – which leads to tooth decay.
Your toothbrush will become your best friend
With all the cleaning you’ll need to do throughout the day, make sure it’s easy to have your toothbrush at arm’s reach. Put together a small travel kit that you can keep in your backpack, purse or briefcase throughout the day. A miniature toothbrush, toothpaste and floss will allow you to clean your teeth no matter where your schedule takes you, and avoid cavities during Invisalign.
Treatment is up to you!
As we’ve mentioned, your Invisalign success depends on what you put into the process. Simply put, if you’re a motivated patient ready to seize your straight smile, you’re going to do just fine!
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