After you’ve got your Invisalign aligners, you need to follow a prescribed set of procedures to ensure a successful treatment.To make sure you derive 100% benefit from your aligners, here are some of the most important tips on wearing and caring for them.
The Correct Way of Wearing the Aligners
In order for Invisalign to work, the patient needs to wear each set of aligners 22 hours daily for 14 days. This means that the only time when the aligners won’t be on your teeth is when you eat or you brush and floss. If, for some reason, you can’t wear the aligners for a full 22 hours on a certain day, just make sure to track the amount of time that’s missing and add it at the end of the 14 day interval.
What if you forgot how many hours you’ve missed?
It’s always better to wear the aligners a bit longer than required, as it causes no harm at all.
The important thing is that each set of aligners stays on your teeth 22 hours times 14.Even if it took you 15 days and not in 14 to get this amount it’s still okay.
Always remember that if one set of aligners is worn only 80% of the time, it will only do only 80% of the job.
What this means is the next set of aligners will need to accomplish 120%, which is an impossible task.
How to Maintain Proper Oral Hygiene when Wearing Invisalign Aligners
There are no special oral hygiene rules other than those you usually follow. Brush your teeth after every meal, floss and use a fluoride rinse. If you can’t brush your teeth after some meals, you may chew a little bit of chewing gum or rinse your mouth as well as you can before placing the aligners back on your teeth.
Aligners need cleaning as well, but you shouldn’t use toothpaste for this job. A mild liquid soap is best for cleaning them. Either apply it with a soft toothbrush or with a q-tip and rinse it very well afterwards.
Avoid exposing your aligners to extreme heat or cold.They may get distorted and won’t fit properly on your teeth anymore. Never attempt to boil your aligners to sterilize them, because you’re going to ruin them instead.
How to Put On the Aligners
Always check that you have the correct set of aligners you need to wear that week. This is easy to see, as they are all clearly marked with labels.
Start with the top aligner. Place it over your teeth and push it gently until it fits into position. Repeat the procedure with the lower one. You can apply a slight pressure by pressing your jaws together, but don’t force it.
Always start by pushing the aligners with your fingers until there’s no gap between them and the teeth. You could hurt your gums or damage the aligners if you just put them in your mouth and bite your teeth to make them snap into position.
If you feel uncomfortable wearing your aligners, go to your dentist and ask for an adjustment. In case it’s only a minor pinching or scratching sensation, you may attempt to adjust the aligner yourself with an emery board.
How to Remove the Aligners
The removal of the aligners should always start from the back of the mouth. Use your fingers to remove it from your back teeth, and then advance slowly to the front ones, until you’re done.
In order to prevent damage caused by unusual wear, only remove your aligners when you need to eat or clean your teeth and do it from a different spot each time.
Never use scissors, toothpicks or other sharp objects to remove your aligners, because you could easily damage them or hurt yourself.
Whenever aligners are not in your mouth, they should be stored in their protective case. If you simply put them in napkins or tissues, you may forget and throw them away with the trash.
If this happens, though, make sure you always have the previous set of aligners handy, so you can wear those until you order a new set similar to the one you either destroyed or lost. If you don’t wear any aligner for the 2-3 weeks that are needed to produce a new set of trays, the teeth will migrate back in their old positions, so your Invisalign treatment will fail.
When you start with Invisalign, you’ll most probably be provided with a starter kit containing everything you need for a correct treatment. These kits contain fluoride, among other things. Fluoride is good because it prevents decalcification of the teeth, thus protecting you from getting cavities.
Last but not least, always store your aligners and all items in your starter kit in a safe place, away from the reach of children or pets.