Our team have perfected thousands of smiles using Invisalign – a well-known ‘invisible’ brace that straightens teeth using removable, clear aligners. So there’s not much we don’t know about this fantastic brace.
Whether you’re thinking about Invisalign treatment, or already part of the Invisalign family, here are some of our top tips to help you through the experience.
1. Wear your aligners for at least 20 hours a day
The official guidance from Invisalign is to wear your aligners for between 20 and 22 hours a day. That gives you up to four hours of freedom every day. This may seem like a lot of time but once you factor in meals, snacks and teeth brushing you’ll realise it’s not. Don’t be tempted to wear your aligners for less time, though, as there’s a good chance it will impact on your treatment.
2. Always put your aligners in their case
When you take your aligners out, make sure you pop them straight into their protective case. Because they are clear they can be frustratingly easy to misplace – and wrapping them in tissue is a sure-fire way for them to end up in the bin. Outside of your mouth they’re also quite fragile, so putting them in their case will protect them from breakages.
3. Always carry a toothbrush
You’ll need to brush after every meal to make sure there’s no food lurking between your teeth before you put your aligners back in. We appreciate this isn’t always easy, especially when you’re eating on the go, but your teeth and aligners will thank you for it. Trapping food between your teeth and brace can cause tooth decay, bad breath and staining – so it’s definitely best avoided. If it’s really not convenient for you to brush your teeth, we recommend chewing some sugar-free gum or investing in some disposable toothbrushes.
4. Only drink water when you’re wearing your aligners
When you’re wearing your aligners the only thing that should pass your lips is water. Tea, coffee and cola can all stain your aligners. Even worse, if you enjoy a sugary drink it will seep between your aligners and your teeth where it can cause acid erosion and decay. It’s best to not keep taking your aligners in and out, so we recommend sticking to water in between meals, which has the added bonus of keeping you healthy and hydrated!
5. Don’t put your aligners in hot water
While it’s important to keep your aligners clean, don’t put them anywhere near hot water. This can cause them to heat up and lose their shape, rendering them useless.
6. Don’t use toothpaste to clean your aligners
We also advise our patients not to use toothpaste to clean their aligners. Some toothpastes can be too abrasive for aligners and will cause them to become dull and less inconspicuous. Instead, simply brush your aligners with cold water or a mild detergent.
7. Don’t throw your aligners away
Once you’ve finished with an aligner, don’t throw it away. You’ll be given a dedicated case to put your last set of aligners in, but make sure you keep the ones before safe, too. It’s unlikely you’ll need them, but very occasionally we do ask patients to wear a preceding aligner, for example when another aligner has broken or been misplaced.
8. Remove your aligners carefully
There’s a knack to taking your aligners in and out, which you’ll quickly pick up. Starting at the back of your teeth, gently loosen your aligners with your fingers, working your way around your mouth. You should then find that they’ll easily lift out. If you still struggle you can ask us for a little tool to help. Always handle your aligners gently to avoid any damage.
9. Wear your retainer
Last but not least, don’t forget to wear your retainers once your Invisalign treatment has finished. It can take a while for the bone that supports your teeth to stabilise, so your retainers will make sure everything stays in the right position while this happens.
Even once your bone has settled (which takes around a year) you still need to wear fixed and or removable retainers indefinitely to prevent orthodontic relapse. This is because the ligaments surrounding your teeth will always have a natural tendency to move back to their pre-treatment position – moving your teeth with them!
We hope you find these Invisalign tips useful. You can find lots more information on Invisalign and our other ‘invisible’ braces throughout our website.