#1. Time is Everything
Invisalign aligner trays needs to be worn for 20-22 hours a day. That’s most of the day—including when you are asleep!
Plan on keeping those trays in all the time, minus the times you eat or when you really need them out (such a job interview or date).
If you know that you will need to have your trays out for a long period of time, compensate ahead of time by wearing your trays a little longer for a few days.
#2. Keep Those Trays (And Your Mouth) Clean
Invisalign trays are designed to fit right over your teeth, and that tight seal can trap in bits of food, not to mention bacteria. Unless you like the idea of pockets of caged bacteria all inside your mouth, you’ll need to keep everything clean through consistent brushing and rinsing.
The trays themselves can be cleaned with a standard toothbrush and toothpaste, or else you can invest in a water pick or similar cleaning tool. Plan on cleaning your trays at least 2-3 times a day.
#3. Clean While You Eat!
So, you need to keep those trays in for 22 hours. But you need to remove them to eat, and to clean the trays. Can you get it all in? Sure! …if you multitask.
Here’s an easy hack: As you are preparing to eat, create a “soak” for your trays with lukewarm water and some denture cleaners (or Invisalign crystals). While you eat, let the trays soak. When done eating, give them a quick brush then pop them back in. Voila! Aligners cleaned while you eat.
#4. Set a Timer
Another challenge that gets in the way of your 22 hours with trays in: Forgetting to put them back in when it’s time. It’s way too easy to take the trays out for, say, a job interview or client meeting, and then get so swept up in your day that your forget about them until you get home at night.
To avoid this, set a timer when you take out your trays. (Yes, you have one—try your phone!) For example, if you know lunch will take no more than an hour, set your timer for an hour so that you have a reminder to put your trays back in.
#5. Avoid Gum
We can’t tell you how many times a patient has gotten gum stuck on aligner trays. “But you said not to eat any food with my trays in, but gum isn’t food!” they say.
The only thing you should put in your mouth when your trays are in is water, period. Anything else, and you are inviting trouble. And gum is the worst kind of trouble.
#6. Diet for Success
We don’t mean your typical weight loss diet; we simply mean watching what you eat. How long an Invisalign treatment takes depends a lot on how healthy your teeth are, so you should eat a diet that keeps them in shape and ready to move.
Food that are good for your teeth include:
- Food high in protein, calcium and phosphorus (Dairy—such as cheese, milk, and yogurt— meats, and nuts, especially almonds)
- Green vegetables high in calcium (broccoli and spinach
- Fruits and vegetables with high water content (apples, celery, cucumbers, etc.)
#7. Switch Aligners at Night
When it comes time to switch from one set of trays to the next, there can be some pain and discomfort. However, this is a critical period when it is important to keep your aligners on for an extended period of time.
To cut down on the discomfort, put the new trays in right before bedtime. You can then easily keep them in while you sleep and not worry about how they feel all throughout the day.
#8. Seek Advice from an Invisalign Preferred Provider
Need advice about something in particular, or simply have a question? Sure, you can turn to the internet. And there’s probably some good advice there. (You came to this article, didn’t you?)
But there is also a lot of bad advice as well. For example, some folks are encouraging people to do their own orthodontics at home, DIY style. This is a bad idea. There’s a reason why orthodontic professionals take years to get a degree to learn to do what they do.
So we encourage you to seek educated, professional advice when you can. Specifically, get it from an Elite Invisalign Preferred provider. Having this status means that the orthodontist or office has extensive Invisalign case experience, and can answer a broad range of questions in a professional manner.
Ready to Find An Invisalign Preferred Provider Near You?
If you are just starting your Invisalign journey, we recommend coming in to one of our North Carolina offices for a free consultation. Simply select your closest office below to arrange an appointment.
If you already have Invisalign, we would still be happy to answer your questions. Simply contact us and one of our professionals will be in touch with you. We just ask that you keep us in mind for your future orthodontic needs!
Want to explore Invisalign as it compares to braces?
We invite you to download our free eBook on this subject.