If you’re getting ready to start treatment with Invisalign clear aligner therapy, you’re probably excited about embarking on an adventure towards a straighter, healthier smile. It’s also completely normal to feel a little unsure such a big commitment, especially if you don’t know much about Invisalign. Here at Krieger Orthodontics, we want you to be confident in your decision to improve your oral health, so we’ve put together this Invisalign Survival Guide to help prepare you. If you want to learn more about what the Invisalign system is, how it works, and how you can get the most out of your aligners, keep reading below!
(Are you a good fit for Invisalign? Find out by scheduling a free consultation!)
What is the Invisalign clear aligner system all about?
Instead of the brackets and bands traditional braces use, the Invisalign system is made up of a series of clear, removable plastic trays. The design is deceptively simple; aligners are made of a special thermoplastic resin that’s strong enough to move your teeth into alignment over time. Because Invisalign aligners are nearly invisible, as well as removable, they offer a freedom and flexibility that makes them an excellent alternative to braces.
How do Invisalign aligners work?
The first step towards a straighter smile is a consultation with an experienced orthodontist like Dr. Glenn Krieger. Once he’s determined if Invisalign is a good fit for your specific orthodontic needs, we’ll begin the process of custom designing aligners that will fit snugly but comfortably over your own teeth. A highly detailed 3D scan of your teeth and gums will be taken and used to map out a precise treatment plan for you. This will include the exact movements we want your teeth to make, and should give us an indication of how long we expect your treatment to take.
Using the scan, your custom aligners will then be created from Invisalign’s special SmartTrack® material. The total number of aligners worn during treatment can vary widely, from as little as 12 to as many as 48. Treatment time also varies from patient to patient, with the average somewhere between 5 and 15 months.
Once you receive your first aligner, the work begins! Because Invisalign aligners are removable and not a fixed appliance like braces, the system relies on patient compliance for successful results. You should be wearing your aligners for 20-22 hours daily, throughout the course of treatment. You’ll also need to keep up with switching your aligners out based on the plan Dr. Krieger has laid out for you. This will generally be every 1-2 weeks. Regular check-ups will be part of the process, as well, so we’ll schedule check-ups for you at our Lewisville office every four to eight weeks or so.
Cleaning your Invisalign aligners
When it comes to cleaning your aligners, there are several different methods that are effective. There are also some things you should avoid!
- Rinse your aligners when you remove them, since dry saliva and plaque can breed bacteria.
- Soak your aligners using denture cleaner, Retainer Brite, or Invisalign cleaning crystals to keep your trays clear and sanitized.
- Brush and floss your teeth before you put your aligner back in. Invisalign aligners are designed to custom-fit your teeth, making it easy for harmful particles to get trapped between your teeth and your aligners. Proper oral hygiene will help you maintain healthy teeth and avoid cavities and decay.
- Clean your aligners with a clear antibacterial soap to keep them fresh and free from harmful bacteria.
- Brush your aligners gently and carefully. Overzealous brushing can scratch your aligners and leave visible etchings.
- Eat or drink anything but water while you’re wearing your aligners. Many foods and drinks can stain or discolor your aligners, and may also cause odors.
- Use toothpaste to clean your aligners since many brands have abrasive agents that can dull your aligners or create small traps for bacteria.
- Use any colored soaps. Antibacterial soap is a great way to clean your aligners, but anything with color to it can stain your aligners.
- Leave your aligners exposed or unprotected when they are not in your mouth, as this can expose them to harmful germs and bacteria. Rinse them, soak them, and then rinse them again before returning them to your mouth.
- Soak your aligners in any sort of mouthwash OR heated liquid of any kind.
Your oral hygiene routine with Invisalign
Removable aligners make it super simple to keep your teeth and gums clean! Oral hygiene is important across the board, but especially when you’re undergoing orthodontic treatment. With Invisalign, you simply take out your aligner before brushing and flossing. That’s all there is to it! Make sure you’re brushing at least twice a day for two minutes each time, and flossing every night before bed. Although there are no food restrictions with Invisalign like there are with traditional braces, you should still do your best to avoid consuming too much added sugar, as it can set the stage for tooth decay if you aren’t brushing thoroughly and regularly.
The best candidates for Invisalign
Invisalign is designed to work with many of the most common orthodontic issues in teens and adults. However, there are certain cases that are complicated or severe enough that more precise tooth control than a removable aligner can achieve may be required. During your complimentary consultation with our practice, we’ll be able to determine if Invisalign is a good fit for you, or if you’d be better served by a more traditional orthodontic treatment.
Once your Invisalign treatment is complete
Even after orthodontic treatment is complete, your teeth will retain memories of their previous place in your mouth. This leads to a tendency to drift back to their original positions over time, which is why it’s important to keep them in their new positions after any form of treatment, including Invisalign. Once your treatment process is complete, Dr. Krieger will provide you with a retainer. You’ll need to wear this retainer as directed by Dr. Krieger in order to maintain your newly straightened smile.
Invisalign is the clear choice at Krieger Orthodontics
At Krieger Orthodontics, it’s important to us that your orthodontic journey is as enjoyable, stress-free, and rewarding as possible! While your Invisalign aligners may take some getting used to, they’ll be just another part of your daily routine before you know it, and our talented team is always here to help if you have any questions or concerns.
If you’re in Lewisville or the surrounding areas and want more information on how Invisalign can change your smile for the better, give us a call today and schedule a FREE consultation. We’ve got your confidence and comfort at the heart of our practice, and we’re excited to help you take the first step towards the beautiful smile you’ve been dreaming of!