You may or may not have heard of Invisalign treatment through a friend, family, dentist, or TV commercial. Invisalign is an exciting advancement in dentistry in which we are able to straighten teeth with clear aligners and leave metal braces in the past. The process will often be faster than alignment with metal braces and take less than a year to happen.
Before starting Invisalign treatment it is important to understand how it works and what is required from you for it to work properly. Here is a list of 10 facts you need to know before beginning treatment:
- Invisalign trays are virtually invisible
Invisalign is so invisible to the eye that you likely have spoken to someone going through Invisalign treatment and did not even know it! Initially the feeling of the tray to your tongue may cause your speech to slightly lisp, however, after only a day or two this will subside. When your trays are over the teeth they will often look whiter, brighter, and straighter to others since the plastic gives a slight shine. This is great for wedding photos- believe it or not many patients prefer to have the trays in rather than out for these photography sessions!
- You must wear the trays all the time
Invisalign treatment is a commitment. If you want your teeth to move into the right place and become straight you have to wear the trays all day and all night for a minimum of 22 hours per day. You can take them out to eat your meals but once you are done eating, rinse the trays and place them back on. This may seem difficult; however, once a habit is formed it becomes second nature for most patients.
- Your oral hygiene will likely improve
Since you will be taking the trays out in between meals you will need to brush your teeth before putting the trays back in. This will mean that you are brushing more often than normal. Also as the teeth are moving new spaces open up which traps food differently. This encourages most to floss more regularly so food is not trapped under the Invisalign trays. Many patients invest in mini toothbrushes and floss to carry around so throughout the day they can be sure to keep their teeth clean
- You may (unintentionally) lose weight
With Invisalign trays in place most patients tend to snack a lot less. Patients will find themselves with their clothes fitting better and tell us that their mindless snacking has drastically reduced.
- Coffee intake may decrease
Drinking coffee with the trays in place will stain the trays to look yellow. We tell patients to use a straw however even with this trick the stain still builds on the tray. This leads patients to think again before having a cup of coffee, cutting down caffeine intake.
- Your dentist may send you to a specialist
Invisalign treatment is designed to move the teeth just like metal braces do. There are some cases that may require a combination of metal braces AND Invisalign, which could mean your dentist refers you to a specialist, an orthodontist. This depends on your specific case and how much movement is required
- It is practically painless
You may remember metal braces being extremely painful and uncomfortable as a kid, especially when you needed to go and get the braces tightened. Invisalign is nothing like this throughout treatment. For the first few days in your trays, the teeth will go through shock and feel sore, however, this only lasts a short while. As time passes your teeth become used to the trays and patients even tell us that they “miss having the trays in” once they are done treatment!
- Do not brush the trays with toothpaste
Toothpaste has abrasive ingredients that can damage the Invisalign trays. Your eye might not see the scratches however you will notice the trays will stain more. Sometimes they can get an odor too from toothpaste. It is better to clean your trays with mild soap and water, or purchase retainer cleaning tablets at the drug store.
- Treatment is often shorter than straightening with metal braces
The way the Invisalign trays are engineered will more often than not allow the trays to move teeth more quickly than metal braces. Your dentist will be able to give you an approximate timeline on treatment and most treatment is completed in one year or even less than one year
- It is WORTH IT
Patients tell me all the time how happy they are they moved forward with Invisalign treatment. They are more confident with their smile which improves confidence in every aspect of their lives. Patients are also able to keep their teeth healthier since straight teeth are easier for them to clean and for their dental hygienist to clean too.