Invisalign can work wonders for crooked teeth, allowing you to enjoy the straight smile you've always longed for in as little as a few months. However, your success with Invisalign depends, in part, on how much effort you put into the treatment process. Since you'll be responsible for taking the aligners in and out, changing them, and caring for your teeth properly while the aligners are in place, you need to stay vigilant throughout the treatment process in order to get the results you desire. Here are four tips to help you get the most out of Invisalign.
Keep track of how long you wear the aligners each day.
One of the great things about Invisalign is that you can take the aligners out when you eat and to brush your teeth. However, a lot of users take the aligners out and then forget to put them back in, or they take them out too often. Experts recommend wearing the aligners for 20 to 22 hours per day throughout your entire treatment. If you don't wear the aligners for this long, it may take longer to straighten your teeth, or they may not become as straight as you'd hoped.
Keep careful track of how long you keep the aligners in each day. Set reminders in your phone to trigger your memory if you tend to forget to put them back in after eating. Ask friends and family members to ask you "Do you have your aligners in?" after each meal and throughout the day.
Change your aligners on time.
Your dentist will tell you how often to switch to a new aligner. Usually, this will be about every 2 weeks. It's important not to change your aligners late. By the time you've worn a certain aligner for the recommended period of time, it has done all that it can do for you; it is no longer moving your teeth. Failing to change it will just slow down your treatment process.
Try marking all of your "change" days on your calendar when you first get your set of aligners. This should help prompt your memory to switch to a new aligner on time. If your schedule calls for you to change the aligner every 2 weeks, make your "change" day a day of the week when you tend to be less flustered and have more time. (Weekend days work best for most people.)
Stick to drinking water when you have the aligners in.
You remove Invisalign to eat, but you can drink with the aligners in place. You should not, however, get into the habit of drinking anything other than water without removing your aligners. Other drinks can stain your aligners and also get caught between the aligner and your teeth, perpetuating tooth decay. You don't want to trade crooked teeth for cavities, so be careful to drink only water when your aligners are in place.
When treatment with Invisalign is over, wear your retainer.
Your Invisalign results are not worth much if they don't last. When you're finished wearing Invisalign, your orthodontist will likely recommend that you wear a retainer to keep your teeth in their new positions. Depending on your jaw structure and dental health, you may need to wear your retainer for a few months or for the rest of your life -- usually just at nighttime. Failing to wear your retainer will allow your teeth to slowly shift back into their old positions. So, get into the habit of wearing this device immediately.
Invisalign is a great choice for correcting misaligned teeth, but it does require some effort on the part of the patient.