LAST UPDATED: JULY 29, 2016
Invisalign is a popular choice among individuals of all ages for straightening teeth. Unlike traditional metal braces, they are practically invisible. There are no wires that can cut or irritate your mouth. And they can be removed for eating and tooth cleaning. What’s not to like?
The Invisalign aligner is made out of a thermoplastic material to your orthodontist’s specifications. Each patient will need a progression of aligners to gradually move the teeth to their desired location. Some patients will need as few as five; others will need as many as 50, depending on how much movement is needed. A few patients will need to have a small attachment device bonded to one or more teeth to assist in the straightening process.
The aligner needs to be worn at least 20 hours a day. Each aligner in the progression will need to be worn for two or three weeks, before moving on to the next aligner. For most patients, the entire process will take a year. A retainer will need to be worn for perhaps another year after finishing with the aligners.
How do you clean them?
Since each aligner needs to be worn for several weeks, for many hours a day, the patient will have to take care of and clean the aligner. Most patients can easily clean the aligner when they are brushing their teeth. The aligner has to be removed for tooth-brushing anyway, so why not clean it at the same time? It can be cleaned by brushing it and then rinsing it. Or it can be cleaned with a special cleaning kit. If using the kit, the aligner is soaked for 15 minutes in a special solution, then rinsed off. Alternatives to using the special kit include soaking the aligner in a solution of hydrogen peroxide or soaking them in Listerine for 15 minutes.
Things to Avoid
- Exposing the aligner to heat- it will melt and deform.
- Do not leave an aligner in a hot car.
- Pour boiling water on it.
- Accidentally microwave it.
What can I eat with Invisalign?
- It’s important to remove the aligner when eating. That way, you won’t have to worry about damaging the aligner while trying to chew. And food particles won’t get stuck in the aligner, or work their way down between the aligner and your gums. Do not chew gum while wearing the aligner- it will ruin it.
- When sipping beverages, the aligner don’t need to be removed but it’s a good idea to use a straw when drinking with the aligner in, to avoid getting the beverage on the aligner. They can become stained by certain beverages such as coffee, tea and red wine. Drinking very hot liquids with the aligner in can cause the plastic material to melt.
- It’s best to avoid consuming sugary foods and drinks while being treated with Invisalign because they can contribute to tooth decay. Normally the teeth are rinsed frequently with saliva, which helps prevent tooth decay. However, when wearing the aligner the teeth don’t get rinsed and the risk of developing tooth decay increases. It’s important to thoroughly brush the teeth after eating before putting the aligner back in.
- If you happen to be in a situation where it is truly impossible to brush the teeth after eating, try rinsing the mouth out well with water before re-inserting the aligner. Many users report they actually lose a little weight while undergoing the Invisalign process because of the logistical difficulties of snacking while wearing the aligner.
How to clean Invisalign?
- Wearing Invisalign can cause the mouth to dry out, which can lead to excessive bacterial growth in the teeth and in the aligner. This can lead to bad breath and tooth decay. Most orthodontists recommend brushing, flossing and using mouthwash at least three times a day in order to keep the bacteria under control. Any of the various mouthwashes on the market can be used for this purpose. Mouthwash can also be used with the aligner in place- it won’t damage the trays.
- Due to the bad breath, many Invisalign wearers reach for breath sprays and mints. Alcohol and sugar free breath sprays won’t hurt the aligner at all, and can help freshen the breath in between cleanings. Sugar-free breath mints can also be safely used. However, if your bad breath is severe, most likely there is something wrong with your tooth and aligner cleaning routine. The smell is coming from bacteria growing somewhere in the mouth. Instead of trying to cover up the smell, a better approach is to try to remove the bacteria.
- Consult your orthodontist if your breath gets particularly bad. The orthodontist can review your oral hygiene routine and make suggestions about how to cure the problem. Sometimes simply sipping water all day will cure the dry mouth which will also cure the bad breath.
- Some orthodontists suggest using breath mints that contain Xylitol. This substance can help prevent the growth of bacteria in the mouth. If you opt to try this, be sure your dog can’t get hold of the mints. Xylitol is highly poisonous to dogs.
Will there be discomfort?
Some people report experiencing some discomfort at first. The gums can get sore and irritated by the aligner, and sometimes the teeth will ache due to being pushed into a new position. Occasionally, people will experience some difficulty in speaking clearly at first, too. Most people report quickly getting used to the aligner and after a week or so they barely notice them anymore, are able to speak clearly and do not suffer any discomfort.
When switching to a new tray, there may be a temporary recurrence of tooth discomfort for the first day or two as the teeth are pushed into a new position by the new tray. Most patients feel the final results of the process are well-worth it, when they see their lovely new smile.
Team Demas Orthodontics Provides Strong Teeth in Southington, Connecticut
For strong teeth in Southington, contact Team Demas Orthodontics for an appointment with one of these orthodontists:
- Donald C. Demas
- Mark Clauss
With an examination through medical images of your face and mouth, our orthodontists can determine the best type of braces or aligners for your needs. The types of orthodontic treatments available at Team Demas Orthodontics include:
- Invisible braces / Invisalign
- Ceramic braces
- Lingual braces
- Metal braces
Team Demas Orthodontics
27 Meriden Ave #2a, Southington, CT 06489, USA
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