Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Things to Consider During Your Invisalign Treatment

It's been over six months since I've finished my Invisalign treatment and I thought I'd share a follow up post specifically addressing some considerations to keep in mine in order to make the experience a little easier for anyone just starting their journey to a straighter smile! A comfortable, removable, and virtually invisible method of aligning teeth, Invisalign offers a unique way for orthodontic patients everywhere to straighten their smiles. In order to achieve the best outcome, there are some things to avoid while in treatment.

“The clear aligners are removable,” says Dr. Robert Gire of Gire Orthodontics, an orthodontist and Invisalign provider. “But that doesn’t mean you can take them out whenever you want. To stay on track, the aligners must be worn 22 hours per day. They work by eliciting gentle, constant force on the teeth – and they can only do that when they are in your mouth.” My orthodontist was sure to emphasize that the success of the treatment really depended on how dedicated I was to wearing the trays, so I became very diligent about doing so!

So what are other considerations to keep in mind while wearing your aligners?

1) Avoid eating with the aligners in. One of the biggest advantages of Invisalign is that the aligners are removable, meaning you don’t have to alter your diet while in treatment. But it is important to remember to always remove the aligners before eating. Chewing places too much pressure on the aligners, which can distort them and alter the fit.

2) Do not drink anything but water while wearing the aligners. Dark drinks, such as coffee, tea, or red wine can stain the aligners, making them more visible in your mouth than you’d like. Hot drinks can distort the shape of the plastic, affecting how they fit and therefore how effective they are at moving your teeth. Drinking sodas, juice, and other drinks with sugar may cause cavities since the liquid sugar sits close to your teeth under the aligners and the buffering capacity of your saliva isn’t as effective.

3) Don’t forget to pack your toothbrush. It’s important that you brush your teeth after every meal or snack prior to placing the aligners back in the mouth. Not doing so can increase the chance of developing cavities because the aligner can trap food particles and bacteria under them, keeping them in constant contact with the teeth. I kept a travel toothbrush and toothpaste in my desk at school to keep up with brushing!

4) Don’t change aligners early unless indicated by your orthodontist. You may be itching to speed up your treatment time, but every move your teeth are making has been precisely planned out by your doctor. Moving to a new set of aligners too soon may damage the roots and/or the supporting structures of your teeth. Dr. Gire advises "To be safe, follow the recommendations of your orthodontist. If you use Acceledent (the accelerated treatment option at Gire Orthodontics), we’ll guide you on the proper frequency of changing the aligners."

5) Every time you brush your teeth, be sure to brush the aligners as well. Brush the inside and outside thoroughly. You can also use a simple antibacterial soap rather than toothpaste to ensure they get clean and stay fresh if you prefer. If they develop some build-up and brushing alone doesn’t remove it, soak them in clear white vinegar while you’re having dinner, for example. Soak them for 20-30 minutes, remove them from the vinegar, brush them normally, and they’ll shine like a brand new aligner.

6) Don’t be afraid of attachments. Some patients have more complex orthodontic issues that will require attachments and/or rubber bands to correct using Invisalign. These have opened up the kinds of cases Invisalign can treat, allowing more people to reap the benefits of the technology. I did have several 'buttons' as I called them on my teeth but they were still less noticeable than regular braces.

7) After treatment ends, don’t forget your retainer. You took the time to get your perfect smile, so don’t let that hard work go to waste by forgetting to wear your retainer. At some Orthodontics, your set of retainers are included with your treatment. I wear my retainers virtually every night, which doesn't seem very difficult after having to wear the trays all day every day for almost a year!

“Invisalign is a wonderful treatment option for many patients,” says Dr. Gire. “But it does require more work on the part of the patient than other treatments. It’s up to the patient to remember to wear the aligners and to properly care for them throughout treatment. But with following all directions properly, patients can enjoy their beautiful new smiles in no time.”

For more insight into my decision to get Invisalign, please check out my previous post detailing my experience as an adult with braces! If you have further questions, please feel free to email or leave a comment!

*This post was written in collaboration with Gire Orthodontics. All opinions and thoughts are my own, however!

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