Truth 1: The aligners need to stay on your teeth to work
One of the most attractive features of Invisalign® braces – they are called aligners – is that they are removable. Unlike the traditional wire-and-bracket type of braces, you can remove your aligner during meal times for eating, brushing and flossing. That means you won’t have to avoid certain types of food or clean with caution for fear of loosening or damaging the braces. However, for optimum results, you will need to keep your aligners on for 22 hours or more per day. Failing to wear the mouth-guard-like contraption for a minimum of 20 hours a day may be counterproductive to the treatment. Aligner wearers should be mindful of this during extended meal hours.
Truth 2: You will need to clean your teeth after every meal
Let’s just say a travel toothbrush will become indispensable. You will need to maintain proper oral hygiene to reduce the risk of infections or decay throughout the treatment period. Brushing and flossing need to be thorough, in order to remove food debris trapped in the crevices and clean those areas where there is contact between teeth and aligners. That’s a lot of brushing so it may be wise to invest in a few travel toothbrushes.
Truth 3: The treatment is not painful (for most)
More than half of Invisalign users (54%) surveyed said they experienced only mild pain during the treatment, while 35% did not experience any discomfort wearing the aligners.1Among those who experienced some form of discomfort said it usually occurred when switching to a new set of aligners. This sensation usually subsided within 2 to 3 days. The discomfort experienced in the initial days of wearing a new set of aligners may be attributed to a pressure that is needed to realign the teeth. The good news is, you will get used to this feeling – what most of the evaluated patients considered as mild pain – when the teeth begin to shift and conform.
Truth 4: Stain-causing beverages are a no-no
There is a two-pronged reason why Invisalign users would need to cut down on their morning coffees: First, they will stain your aligner; and second, they will use up your allotted time for removing the oral device. The same principle goes for red wine and tea. If you do happen to drink – not indulge in – these beverages, don’t forget to use the limited allotted time to brush your teeth before putting the aligners back on.
Truth 5: Do not clean your aligners with toothpaste
The aligners may be worn over your teeth but do not brush them with toothpaste. The abrasive ingredients found in toothpaste can cause bacteria build-up and leave a bad smell. Instead, clean your aligners with soap or mild detergent. Failing to do so will result in a yellowish and murky appearance, which probably isn’t the look you’re going for when you decided on a clear brace treatment.
Truth 6: Accidental weight loss may be a bonus
If you happen to be on a slimming program, the Invisalign treatment may give you a nudge or two in the same direction. After all, the aligner-wearing routine would force you to eat within allotted meal times and avoid snacking in-between. The hassle of removing the aligner just to eat a chocolate wafer or a slice of cake would prevent your intake of those needless calories. When the bathroom scale starts to tip in your favour, you may have a dubious, but effective, a method to thank for.
Truth 7: The aligners are virtually invisible
Of course, they are not invisible, invisible. Still, they appear invisible for all intents and purposes of the innovation – that is, others won’t notice them in your mouth, even when they are looking directly at you. Put it this way, Invisalign® has been around for some time now. I doubt, however, that you have ever noticed anyone wearing the clear braces? Conversely, I am sure you remember the last person you saw wearing traditional metal braces. That alone underlines the effectiveness of the clear brace technology that Invisalign offers.