In earlier times, straightening teeth could never be done aesthetically. Orthodontic treatments were equal to living with a mouth full of highly complex and extremely uncomfortable metal for several months or even years.
However, as dentistry evolved over the years, with new advancements and innovations such as , a.k.a clear plastic aligners offer an opportunity to enhance the smile without feeling self-conscious. Moreover, treatment with Invisalign is painless and much more comfortable as compared to traditional braces.
However, while you enjoy the benefits of Invisalign aligners, it is essential to be mindful of some of the drawbacks and tips to tackle them, mainly if you use them for the first time. Today’s article will highlight the tips you must follow as a first time Invisalign user. Furthermore, we will also reflect on some of the problems that you may encounter while using Invisalign.
What is Invisalign?
Invisalign is a form of orthodontic braces that are made from transparent thermoplastic sheets. These sheets are custom fabricated to mold on the patient’s dental arch. Typically, a person undergoing Invisalign treatment gets 14-28 clear aligners that have to be used in series and changed every two weeks. The aligners help put pressure on specific parts of the teeth to move them into a better position (1)
Each replacement tray will feel slightly different, as it’s designed to continue shifting and moving your teeth. You will usually have to wear Invisalign trays for most of your day, maybe around 20–22 hours per day to get the desired outcome. However, clear aligners are convenient to use and can be easily removed for eating, brushing, flossing, or for special occasions.
What are the tips you must follow while wearing Invisalign?
Now that you know some of the problems you might face while using Invisalign let’s check out some tips that can help you make your experience more comfortable –
Protect Your Tongue from trauma
Usually, the Invisalign has sharp plastic edges that may have the potential to damage the gums and surrounding soft tissue. Often first time Invisalign users experience soreness while wearing the aligners. However, as you keep using the aligner, the muscles start to adapt and toughen around the edges.
You may use orthodontic wax to cover the sharp edges and rough spots for a more comfortable experience. The best way to use it is by rolling the wax into a cylindrical shape and applying it to the sharp areas. Some sharp edges that cannot be relieved by orthodontic wax can be smoothened by using a professional file. Generally, orthodontists can help to smoothen the edges without distorting the aligner’s fit. (2)
Pain relievers – chewing exercises
Pain and discomfort may be common during the first few days of using aligners. This happens when the aligners force the teeth to move them into the ideal position in the arch. Some chewing exercises or mouth opening and closing exercises with the aligners have proven to help relieve the pain. Moreover, these exercises help to get used to the comfort of wearing aligners for a long time during the day.
Another benefit of chewing exercise is that it helps massage the gums and stimulate nutrient-rich blood flow to the mouth, thereby maintaining the oral tissues’ health. Moreover, chewing exercises help the aligners to fit tightly for maximum tooth movement.
Orthodontists can aid in this activity by providing styrofoam chewies, which help significantly in performing chewing exercises.
An alternative to Styrofoam chewies is Movements, which are meant to train your jaw to get accustomed to the clear aligners and provide relief from discomfort. However, you can consult your orthodontist to get the best options for Invisalign’s comfortable experience.
Record the total time you wear Invisalign during a day
Most people tend to avoid or forget wearing Invisalign for the most part during the day. However, it is essential to understand the importance of wearing Invisalign for as much time as possible. Ideally, dentists recommend wearing aligners for 22 hours per day. This helps to complete the treatment on time and provide quicker results.
Having a time tracker will help you to keep a record of the total hours you wear Invisalign. Moreover, it will also be a reminder for you to wear Invisalign aligners if you forget to wear them. There are many time-tracking apps and cases specially designed for Invisalign, which ensure that the treatment is followed properly. (3)
Some Invisalign time tracking apps also notify you if you have exceeded the ideal wearing time. This way, you can easily manage the breaks and aligner time throughout the day.
It is very crucial to safely remove the Invisalign aligners, especially from the retainer box. Most retainer boxes come in handy with an aligner removal tool. It is often a small key-like component that helps remove the aligner without damaging its shape or fit carefully.
Although some people try to scoop the aligner out of the case with their fingers, however, they tend to fish out the trays and distort the shape of the aligner leading to losing fit or change in the fit of the aligner on the dental arch. Another risk of pulling out aligners with your finger is the tray’s damage due to sharp nails. Dent marks or perforations are widespread incidents that often require replacement of the aligner. This delays the treatment and increases the expenses. (4)
Clean your aligners regularly.
Most people have the habit of indulging in coffee and tea breaks. However, it is advised to reduce the consumption of such beverages as they can stain the aligner as well as the teeth. Most often, people cannot ignore it, especially in social gatherings where they may be forced to drink up.
In such situations, the best way to keep your aligners stain-free is to clean it regularly with toothpaste and toothbrush. The abrasive ingredients of the toothpaste help remove the stains and discolorations from the aligners’ surface. Moreover, it also helps to keep the aligners plaque and odor-free.
There are also specialized Invisalign cleaning pastes and sprays which aim at providing a squeaky-clean aligner. Additionally, they also have flavoring agents which give a pleasant taste in the mouth. Invisalign cleaning spray also helps in providing an odor-free breath.
While you may follow a good hygiene routine, it is essential to carry a travel toothbrush and toothpaste everywhere you go. This is to ensure you clean the teeth and the aligners after every meal you eat.
Take away message
Invisalign is one of the most advanced and innovative orthodontic treatments designed to straighten the teeth without compromising the aesthetics. Some of the dental problems corrected by Invisalign include crooked teeth, gaps between teeth, and underbite. However, significant malocclusions like bite problems, crossbite, or protruding teeth, cannot be treated with Invisalign.
Typically, Invisalign is made from a transparent thermoplastic sheet custom-fitted to each dental arch of the patient. Usually, a set of 14-28 aligners are used in two weeks for several months and years to get the desired result. While it may be the most aesthetically pleasing treatment, Invisalign aligners must be taken care of.
The best way to complete your treatment on time is by tracking a long time, cleaning the aligners regularly, wearing them for long hours, and learning safe removal techniques. The orthodontist will help significantly to guide you at every step to take proper care of your aligners and speed up the treatment.