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18 Apr 2024

Do’s and Don’ts of Wearing Invisalign Braces

Are you considering discreet teeth straightening using Invisalign? The fact that you can take your Invisalign aligners off to eat and drink is one of its biggest advantages. Your eating habits are therefore unrestricted when using Invisalign, in contrast to those wearing traditional metal braces. Nonetheless, certain rules about eating and drinking must be followed so that your treatment journey runs smoothly.

The Do’s and Don’ts

Continue with Your Usual Diet

You don’t need to change your diet with Invisalign because the aligners must be removed for eating and snacking. This means that you don’t need to worry about avoiding hard or crunchy foods. Be mindful when eating sticky foods such as caramels and chewy sweets as they can lodge in the cervices of your teeth. This can all be dislodged with good tooth brushing but if you are on the go then you may not have access to your toothbrush.  You may find that your teeth feel a little sore or tender for a day when you move up to the next aligner, if this is the case then you may want to soften your diet that day until the tenderness settles down.

Don’t Eat When Wearing Your Aligners

You may be tempted to have a quick snack with your aligners in but this is not advisable. Food can lodge under the aligners and against your teeth; it can also damage the aligners which may then need to be replaced. The aligners can also stain and this staining is almost impossible to remove.

Drink Water

Keep yourself hydrated! You can only drink cold or room temperature still water when you are wearing your aligners. Hot water and other hot drinks will distort the shape of your aligners. Remove your aligners when you have any hot drinks, juices, sparkling water or soft drinks.

Brush After Eating

Brushing after meals and flossing once a day is ideal. Food can lodge in the crevices of your teeth and between your teeth and gums after you’ve eaten. If you place your aligners back in your mouth immediately after eating then this food will remain on your teeth and in time may lead to tooth decay and gum disease. Ideally brush after every meal before reinserting your aligners. Brushing after a meal when you are on the go or at the office may be tricky, but having a travel toothbrush in your bag, car or at your desk may help. Failing that, a thorough rinse with water will dislodge the larger food particles as a temporary measure.

Clean Your Aligners

Clean your aligners twice a day to keep them as fresh as possible. Bacteria and fungus can build in the crevices within the aligners, to avoid this, the aligners need to be brushed on the inner and outer surfaces with a soft toothbrush and toothpaste and then thoroughly rinsed under cold running water. Remember to also wash and clean your aligner case regularly.

Wear Aligners for 20 - 22 hours a Day

Invisalign is an amazing way to align your teeth however treatment progress is fully dependent on the aligners being worn. You must wear your aligners for 20-22 hours each day and remove them only when brushing, drinking anything other than still water and eating. Remembering to put your aligners back on at the end of a meal is crucial as this is often where hours can be lost. If this happens occasionally then it isn’t a problem at all however if you regularly forget to pop your aligners back in after meals then you won’t be able to maintain the necessary hours. This can result in poor fitting aligners that require rescanning and replacement which will then extend your overall treatment time.

Don’t Smoke With Invisalign

It is challenging for the orthodontist to provide Invisalign treatment to a patient with a smoking habit. Your orthodontist will provide you with smoking cessation advice prior to starting your treatment. Smoking with aligners in place will cause nicotine staining of the aligners which cannot be cleaned away. Quitting the habit before starting your Invisalign treatment is ideal for your dental health and also your general health.

Keep the Aligners Safe in their Case

Carry your aligner case with you when you’re out and about. It can be very tempting to place your aligners in a tissue or on a table but the aligners are lightweight and see through and can easily be lost. Storing the aligners in your case keeps them safe and clean and also reduces the chance of needing replacement sets. Ordering replacement aligners takes 1-2 weeks and this can unnecessarily delay your treatment.

Keep the Aligners Away from Pets

Pets, dogs in particular love the smell of saliva and will chew through aligners and even aligner cases! Keep your aligners on their case and on a high shelf or worktop when they are out of your mouth.

Regular Dental Check Ups

Remember to arrange 6 monthly routine checkups with your general dentist. Your orthodontist will see you very regularly to monitor your tooth movement but these appointments do not replace your dental checkups.