One of the best things about straightening your teeth with Invisalign is that you can pretty much live your life the way you always have, free from limitations and with minimal disruption to your daily routine. Unlike with braces, you don’t need to change how you brush or floss your teeth with Invisalign, and there are no food restrictions either. These are just some of the many reasons the orthodontic specialists at Align Ortho recommend Invisalign to patients of all ages.
But that all said, there are still some “rules” to help you get the most out of your Invisalign treatment. This includes the best way to clean your clear aligners, how often to wear Invisalign, and how to properly care for your teeth throughout treatment. Fortunately, as a general practitioner dentist offering orthodontics in Kelowna, Dr. James Scramstad has decades of experience in treating a wide range of orthodontic concerns using the Invisalign system. In fact, he’s a Gold+ Invisalign Provider, which means he’s among the top Invisalign providers in the Okanagan Valley, so you can trust that your future smile is in the very best hands.
So, if you’re wondering how to take care of your teeth during treatment with Invisalign, you’re in the right place. In this post, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about brushing and flossing with Invisalign, eating and drinking with clear aligners, and our top tips to take care of your teeth until your orthodontic treatment is complete. Read on!
How Does Invisalign Work?
Before we dive into how to take care of your Invisalign aligners and your teeth during treatment, let’s start with a refresher on what Invisalign is and how it works. Invisalign, sometimes referred to as “invisible braces,” is a modern teeth-straightening system that involves a series of custom, clear, removable aligners that are made from smooth, BPA-free plastic. The aligners gradually and sequentially shift the teeth into their proper places according to your orthodontist’s prescribed treatment plan.
But what exactly can you expect from the Invisalign process at Align Ortho? After a comprehensive consultation and examination of your teeth and jaw, Dr. Scramstad will use our iTero® Element scanner to take digital scans of your teeth and gums and create a 3D model of your upper and lower jaws. This technology allows him to plan out your tooth movements directly on the model and he’ll even be able to show you a simulation of your results before you start treatment! Dr. Scramstad will then send your specifications straight to Invisalign.
The Invisalign experts will craft your custom set of aligners according to Dr. Scramstad’s specifications, which means you’ll get the ideal fit and the most precise outcome. Throughout your treatment, the aligners apply steady, gentle pressure to shift the teeth into place. Each set of aligners is programmed to achieve certain tooth movements, so you’ll switch to a new set roughly every two weeks. As you make your way through your treatment, you’ll see your new smile gradually take shape.
Tips for Healthy Teeth & Gums with Invisalign
Now that you know what your clear aligners are doing behind the scenes, let’s talk about what you can do to get the most out of your Invisalign treatment. After all, straightening your teeth is about so much more than improving your smile. It’s an amazing investment in your overall health, starting with your teeth and gums. Here are Dr. Scramstad’s top tips for taking care of your teeth, gums and aligners during treatment with Invisalign.
Prioritize Effective Brushing & Flossing (Especially After Eating or Drinking)
As you already know, brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing at least once is the most powerful way to keep your teeth and gums healthy. But did you know that the importance of brushing and flossing increases significantly when you’re undergoing any orthodontic treatment? That’s because orthodontic devices (both braces and Invisalign) can make it easier for food particles to get trapped in your teeth, which creates the ideal conditions for plaque and bacteria to thrive. To avoid the risk of excessive build-up, you’ll need to continue to floss at least once daily, and you’ll have to brush your teeth after every meal, snack or beverage, before you put your aligners back in. Not only will this protect your oral health, it will also help you avoid stains and keep your clear aligners, well, clear!
Always Remove Aligners to Eat or Drink
On the note of drinking or eating with Invisalign, many of our Kelowna orthodontic patients are unsure whether they’re supposed to remove their aligners or not. This is your reminder to always, always, always take out your clear aligners before eating or drinking. If you attempt to eat or drink with your aligners in, you’re pretty much guaranteeing that your aligners will become stained. You also run the risk of damaging the plastic, which means you’ll need to make an appointment with your Kelowna orthodontic specialist to come up with a game plan to keep your treatment on track.
Wear Your Aligners for At Least 22 Hours a Day
Even though we just told you to take your aligners out to eat and drink, we can’t emphasize enough the importance of wearing your Invisalign aligners the recommended amount of time. This means keeping your aligners in for at least 22 hours a day, every day, for the entire course of your treatment. This is truly the only way to make sure you get the beautiful results you expect! It may sound like a lot at first but trust us: a few weeks into treatment, you’ll be so used to wearing your aligners that you’ll forget they’re even there.
Brush Your Aligners Daily
On top of keeping your teeth clean during Invisalign treatment, you’ll also need to clean your aligners. Fortunately, cleaning Invisalign aligners is super simple. All you have to do is brush the trays with a toothbrush and liquid dish soap (yes, really!), using lukewarm water. We recommend avoiding hot water because it may warp the soft plastic trays, as well as toothpaste because it can be too abrasive and may scratch the aligners. Just like your teeth, make sure to brush your aligners after every meal, snack or beverage to avoid staining.
Keep an Invisalign To-Go Kit with You
So it’s easy enough to keep your aligners clean, and to brush and floss your teeth effectively, when you’re at home. But what about when you’re on the go? We recommend putting together a little to-go kit so that you always have everything you need to take care of your Invisalign even when you’re out and about. Include a toothbrush, toothpaste, a case for your Invisalign aligners so they don’t get lost, and dental floss. Just toss the kit in your purse, backpack or bag and take it with you wherever you go.
Wear Your Retainer Post-Treatment
When our patients are getting closer to the end of treatment, one of the first questions they ask is, “Do I have to wear a retainer after Invisalign?” Well, this may not be what you want to hear, but the answer is yes. If you want to preserve your beautiful new smile, you absolutely need to wear a retainer once you complete your last set of aligners. Throughout your Invisalign treatment, your teeth have gone through a significant transformation. It’s only natural that they’ll want to shift back to their original positions once they no longer have the pressure of aligners keeping them in place. A retainer helps to literally retain your teeth’s new position, guaranteeing that your results last a lifetime. In the beginning, you’ll have to wear your retainer all the time, but eventually you will only need to wear it in the evenings and overnight (at least 12 hours a day).
So now you’re an expert on how to take care of your teeth during treatment with Invisalign! You’ve got all the information and tools you need to maintain the health of your teeth and gums during treatment, as well as how to keep your plastic aligners clean. If you’re already part way through your Invisalign plan, you can confidently keep moving forward to the finish line. And if you’re still thinking about starting Invisalign, the team at Align Ortho is here for you. Contact us today to book a free consultation. We’re here to help you make the best decision for your smile goals.