The Ultimate Invisalign Handbook – Part One
Hello, my name is Dr. Ella Osborn. Congratulations on starting your Invisalign journey here at Seaport Smiles in Boston, MA. Invisalign clear aligners have become the orthodontic treatment of choice for many of our patients because of their convenience and enhanced comfort compared to braces.
But at the end of the day, just like braces, Invisalign is just a tool. The orthodontist who creates and oversees your treatment plan can be the difference between good results and amazing results. Likewise, what you do (or don’t do) during your Invisalign treatment will also affect your outcome. So we’ve compiled a handbook of sorts – a list of tips, tricks, and frequently asked questions that will help you get the most out of your Invisalign treatment.
What can I expect when I first get my aligners?
On the day you receive your first set of Invisalign clear aligners, we’ll prepare your teeth with a little polish and a little gel. Next, we’ll place little attachments on your teeth that are little chameleon-like buttons, and we will secure them with a special light. After that, we’ll teach you how to take your aligners in and out, give you a kit that has all the tools that you need to succeed, and set you up with a remote virtual monitoring system.
How do I clean my aligners?
The best way to keep your Invisalign clear aligners clean and fresh is to brush them with a little soap or water, or toothpaste. Ideally, you should do this after every meal if you want to keep your aligners from getting dingy and cloudy. You can also use the cleaning crystals that come in your kit, or a denture cleaner solution that you can get at your local drugstore or on Amazon. It works very well, and you can do it once a day to keep them optimally clean.
What can I drink while I am wearing my aligners?
You can drink water and you can drink clear liquids that will not stain your trays. ‘Trays’ is another word for aligners. A good rule of thumb is that if you spill something on a white shirt or your carpet and it stains, it will probably stain your aligners as well. Stained aligners are no less effective than perfectly clear ones, they just don’t look as invisible.
Will Invisalign hurt?
When you first begin to wear your aligners, it’s normal to have some level of discomfort. This is actually what we want because it means that your teeth are starting to respond to the force of the aligners and are beginning to move. You’ll feel some tightness with the very first tray, possibly even for two or three days. And you can classify that as soreness.
Every tray after that is usually just tight and doesn’t really cause any kind of discomfort. A little bit like Spanx, if you know what I’m talking about. After that, every once in a while you may get to a tray where you feel a little bit of extra pressure like you do with the very first one. We’re often doing different things and treatment during different times, so it’s very common to have different levels of discomfort throughout, there’s nothing wrong, and you’re doing very well.
What should I do about the discomfort?
I always say why tolerate pain if you don’t have to. So it’s perfectly reasonable, and you are encouraged if you can, to take some Tylenol to help manage that mild discomfort that you may feel.
Will Invisalign affect my speech?
Patients often want to know if their speech will change with Invisalign. It’s very common for the first few days for there to be a slight lisp, because there are different materials now on your teeth and your tongue has to adjust. The lisp can be minimized by making an extra effort to enunciate and to speak as much as you can. You’ll adjust within a couple of days and speak perfectly normally very soon.
Can I smoke while wearing my aligners?
While we discourage smoking in general for a number of health reasons, as far as your aligners are concerned, smoking while wearing them will quickly discolor and stain them yellow, which is aesthetically unappealing and makes your aligners no longer transparent. So if you must smoke during your treatment, please remove your aligners before you do so and then put them back in once you are done.
What happens when I finish my first batch of aligners?
Towards the end of your first batch of aligners, when you’ve got a few left, we’ll have you come in and we’ll take an updated scan of your teeth as well as some photos of your teeth and your face. This is so that we can track your progress and order an additional set to further refine your teeth, your smile, and your bite. You will likely go through multiple sets of aligners. It’s all part of the normal treatment process and we achieve the best results for you in this way.
Do I need to change my oral hygiene routine with Invisalign?
The attachments on your teeth are cleaned just like your teeth are cleaned. So you want to make sure that you brush them well, just like your teeth, and you floss between every tooth. There’s really nothing different with having Invisalign as opposed to just regular oral hygiene. You just want to make sure that you’re thorough, and that you brush and floss after you eat, before you put your aligners back in.
This is very important as you want to clean your teeth before you cover them up again with your aligners. If you put your aligners back in and your teeth are covered in sugar and residual food debris, that can start to cause cavities and other issues. So you want to make sure that you’re very thorough. This is very important.
Can I still play sports with Invisalign?
Our patients are very active and they love to play sports. Contact sports are great fun and you can leave your aligners in when you’re playing any kind of sport, even swimming. You may have to wear a mouth guard over them, and we encourage you to do that. And you can do that with no issues with any mouthguard that you can get at a store.
So there you have it. Following these tips and guidelines will help you get the most out of your Invisalign treatment. Be sure to stay tuned for part two and if you have any questions about your Invisalign treatment or anything we’ve talked about here today, just give us a call at (617) 752-2220 and we’ll be happy to answer them for you.
Seaport Smiles is located in Boston, MA, and is the only multi-disciplinary orthodontic and craniofacial surgery practice in New England. They offer a full range of facial plastic surgery, skincare, and orthodontic services.