Mission Viejo, CA – We do a lot of weird things to improve our own looks. Yogurt facial masks. Putting potato peels under our eyes. Smearing toothpaste on zits. Even sticking metal train-tracks onto our teeth.
Read that last sentence again… we’re talking about braces! That’s the weirdest one, right?
They’re in your mouth every day, 24 hours a day, for two years straight. Braces are an obstruction, and they are painful just to look at. But gone are the days that we subject ourselves to being called “metal mouth” – you chose Invisalign.
And we’re glad you did! Because studies have shown that people with straight teeth are more likely to be perceived as happy, healthy, and smart. While we already knew that you’re all of those things, having a straight set of teeth can only make you feel even better. It’s nice to know that you can achieve that perfect smile without metal wires poking around in your mouth.
Whether you’re in your teens or well into adulthood, Invisalign can be a great option for you. In addition to Invisalign, there are many other clear aligner options. But to make sure that you have beautiful, straight teeth as soon as you are finished with all of your trays, you do have to take good care of them.
Read on for some tips that we compiled for you, so that you can have a great experience using Invisalign.
1. Clean the trays while you eat
Since dentists recommend that you keep your aligners in for 20-22 hours per day, the hours that you have them out are precious for two reasons: cleaning the trays and eating. Since you cannot wear your aligners while you eat, the obvious choice is to soak the trays in a cleaning solution while you enjoy dinner.
To clean them, you can leave the aligners in a cleaner for dentures or even a diluted mouthwash, as long as it is NOT colored. Beware, if you do try to use a colored mouthwash, it will stain your aligners. Blue teeth don’t look so great.
Leave the aligners in for about 5 minutes, and then take them out. Do this twice a week, and your trays will stay fresh for a long time!
2. Set a timer
Make good use of that timer on your smartphone, and give yourself an obnoxious reminder to put your aligners back in. Forgetting to put them back will delay the progress towards your beautiful straight teeth. The first few weeks might be tough, but pretty soon you will remember on your own. It takes time to build habits!
If you’re really interested in speeding up the realigning process, you can ask your dentist for Invisalign attachments. Also known as “buttons,” these are small, round pieces of dental bonding that are attached to your teeth. They hold your aligners better and they can correct your bite more effectively.
3. Brush your teeth before inserting your trays for whiter teeth
This one isn’t really a hack, let’s be honest. But it’s very important to keep this in mind, especially since the Invisalign trays will stick to your teeth. Any food particles, plaque, or other bacteria that are left on your teeth when you put the trays back in will stay there for an extended amount of time. Flossing can also help get rid of those pesky chunks stuck in the back of your molars. You’ll thank yourself for following this tip when you’re done with the aligners!
For any patients who want to have whiter teeth, whitening toothpastes have been reported to be more effective with the use of Invisalign. Often, the whitening agent, hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide, is left on your teeth after you brush, but it gets washed away with saliva and other fluids. The Invisalign trays trap the residue, keeping it in contact with your teeth.
4. Keep a travel size dental hygiene kit with you
Since you’ll have to brush your teeth a little bit more than usual, it’s definitely handy to keep a travel-size dental kit with you. That way, you don’t have to rush back home to brush your teeth before putting the trays back in.
Get a small pouch with a toothbrush, a tube of toothpaste, chewies, your case, and some floss too for good measure. These travel-size pouches are usually available at your local drug store. Find a restroom that you can use after breakfast or lunch, and brush away (ignore the judgmental restroom-goers that watch you spit). If you forget your chewie, here are a couple substitutes you can use:
- Folded business card
- Rolled up napkin
- Your thumb (don’t hate!)
5. Switch aligners at night time
When you’re ready to switch to new aligners, do it right before bedtime! Your teeth can move into their new position best when the aligner can be left in for a long and undisrupted amount of time.
6. Use a nail buffer
Because your nails could really use some work. Just kidding!
This handy little tool is very helpful if the plastic material of your trays starts to irritate your mouth and gums. Sometimes the trays have sharp edges, and this can be smoothened with a nail buffing tool. It’s a great hack for instant relief!
7. Use a removal tool
While we’re still talking about nails, if you frequently get manicures or just don’t want to risk your nails getting damaged when you have to remove your aligners, you’ll want to get a removal tool. Removing your trays without using the tips of your nails is just not possible, which is why we recommend the removal tools. That way, you can avoid the ordeal of putting fingers in your mouth. Gross. We certainly don’t do that every day. #DentistLife
8. Keep the case with you at all times
When you’re out at dinner with your friends and you don’t have a case, you’ll have the urge to put your aligners in a napkin. Don’t do it!
All too often, we have to replace Invisalign trays because they were accidentally thrown away or inadvertently stolen by a waiter at the restaurant. Avoid the expense of having new trays made. and keep your case with you at all times.
If you have trouble remembering to bring your case, try coming up with a memory trick. Like setting your keys and phone next to the case. You could even try taking a picture of your case and setting it as the background on your phone! That will confuse the heck out of anyone who tries to sneak a peek at your phone.
The beauty of Invisalign is that no one can see them – all they see is your amazing smile! Don’t be afraid to show it off to the world.
Follow these tips and tricks to make sure that you have the best experience with Invisalign. A little bit of commitment to wearing the trays will go a long way. You’ll be very happy with your new teeth when you’re done with all of them!
The team at New Generation Dentistry is committed to restoring your confidence in your smile. If straight teeth are what you want, our team of dentists in Mission Viejo will do what it takes to help you get there! Our cosmetic dentistry experts can help you perfect your smile after Invisalign with teeth whitening, veneers, and teeth bonding. Stop by at our office or schedule an appointment online for a consultation.
Updated for 2018.