As a Kelowna Invisalign dentist, Dr. Scramstad has been using Invisalign for 15 years – since 2005 – and has treated over 800 patients with aligners (that’s a lot of smiles!). The treatment has become increasingly popular among our patients and for good reason. Invisalign is a convenient, comfortable and virtually invisible way to straighten your teeth. While the impact on your day-to-day life is pretty minimal with aligners in comparison to other treatments, there are still steps you’ll have to take to ensure you get the most out of your treatment and keep your smile healthy during the process. To help, we’re sharing our best Invisalign tips and tricks in our clear aligner survival guide.
First, How Does Invisalign Work?
First things first, before we dive into our guide to living with Invisalign, let’s do a quick refresher on how the treatment works. You’ll kick things off by coming in for an Invisalign consultation. At this first visit, an Straight Smiles team member will take digital x-rays and photos and then Dr. Scramstad will perform a thorough exam. He’ll use this information to determine your diagnosis and see if Invisalign is the best option for your smile. If it is, we’ll chat about things like your Invisalign cost, our payment plans and the length of your treatment. We’ll then take digital impressions using our iTero® scanner and create a computerized 3D model of your teeth. Dr. Scramstad will map out your tooth movements directly on the model and Invisalign will create your custom aligners based on his specifications.
The aligners are fabricated in a series. As you make your way through the series, changing your aligners every one to two weeks, your new smile will take shape bit by bit. This is because the aligners are programmed to achieve certain tooth movements and they apply gentle, steady pressure to your teeth to shift them into place. Throughout your treatment, you’ll come in to our Kelowna orthodontic office for occasional check-ups so we can keep an eye on your progress. When you’re done treatment, you’ll maintain your new smile by wearing a retainer.
Wearing Your Invisalign Aligners
For the best results, we recommend wearing your aligners for about 22 hours per day. You’ll only take them out to eat and brush and floss your teeth. You’ll change to a new set every one to two weeks depending on your treatment plan. As we mentioned, each aligner tray is pre-programmed to achieve certain movements and each set builds off the last to get the final result. So, it’s extremely important to wear your aligners and change them as directed.
For this same reason, if you lose an aligner, don’t automatically skip to the next set. Call our office and we’ll let you know if you can move forward or if we need to replace that Invisalign tray. One of the best Invisalign tips and tricks is to always save your previous set of aligners because if you do lose one and have to wait for a replacement, we’ll ask you to wear your old set while your new ones are being fabricated. This will keep your treatment on track.
While Invisalign Teen comes with compliance indicators that show if you’re wearing your aligners long enough, regular Invisalign does not. You might want to download the Invisalign app to keep track of how long you wear them each day and get notifications for when it’s time to change aligners. As for keeping aligners safe, always use your Invisalign case when you’re not wearing them. Never put your aligners in a tissue or napkin while you’re eating because they can easily get thrown away. If you have pets, use your Invisalign case even when you take your aligners out to brush your teeth because pets tend to love chewing on aligners, which can damage them.
Invisalign Comfort Care Tips
Does Invisalign hurt? No, you should never feel actual Invisalign pain. However, when you first start treatment and sometimes when you put in a new set, your teeth can be a little bit sensitive. Any discomfort is mild and usually goes away in a day or two. However, if it bothers you, you can take an over-the-counter pain reliever (whatever you’d take for a headache) and stick with soft foods and cold foods and drinks until you feel ready to tackle your normal diet.
Eating and Drinking With Invisalign
You’ll take your Invisalign aligners out before eating or drinking anything aside from plain water. While drinking with your Invisalign in might not seem like a huge deal, the liquid will get trapped between your aligners and your teeth. Since the aligners fit snugly, it will then sit on your teeth and your saliva won’t be able to wash it away like it normally would. This can lead to tooth decay and if you drink something like tea, coffee or wine, it can also lead to stains on your teeth and your aligners.
Oral Hygiene With Clear Aligners
One of the benefits of Invisalign vs. braces is that oral hygiene is easier because there are no brackets and wires in the way and you take your aligners out before brushing and flossing. However, you do still need to make more of an effort when you’re wearing Invisalign aligners. To avoid trapping food particles or plaque against your teeth, you’ll want to brush your teeth after eating and before putting your aligners back in. If you’re not home and you forget your travel toothbrush, at the very least, rinse your mouth out really well before popping your aligners back in. Continue flossing once daily and brush your teeth in the morning, after meals and snacks, and before bed.
How to Clean Invisalign Trays
Another great Invisalign tip is to rinse your aligners off after you take them out and before wearing them again. Otherwise, they’ll be covered in dry spit and plaque, which can make them smell bad and will breed bacteria. As for how to clean Invisalign trays, in the morning and before bed, gently brush your aligners with a soft-bristled toothbrush and then rinse them off in lukewarm water. Avoid using hot water since it can warp your aligners and affect the fit. We also don’t recommend using toothpaste because it can be abrasive. For a deeper clean, you can purchase Invisalign cleaning crystals. However, these aren’t absolutely necessary and considering you only wear your aligners for a week or two, by the time they get gross, you’re on to your next set anyway.
Help, Invisalign is Giving Me a Lisp!
Some patients don’t notice any difference in their speech when they start Invisalign. However, others do experience a slight lisp. We promise, your speech will go back to normal once you get used to wearing your aligners. To speed up the process, talk, talk and talk some more. Chat on the phone, read aloud, talk to yourself and sing in the car. This will help your tongue acclimate to sharing space with your appliance and the lisp will go away sooner.
If you’re interested in learning even more about clear aligners or you’re ready to start Kelowna Invisalign treatment, book a consultation at Straight Smiles today!