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Tips and Tricks to Maintain Dental Health with Invisalign
13 Mar 2024

Tips and Tricks to Maintain Dental Health with Invisalign

Invisalign has revolutionised orthodontics by offering nearly invisible braces that straighten your teeth without traditional braces. As a provider of Invisalign in London, we understand the significance of achieving a beautiful smile and maintaining improved oral health. This guide discusses the key aspects of undergoing the Invisalign treatment, from thorough preparation to routine care and post-treatment maintenance. It provides you with all the information you need to begin your Invisalign journey with us.

About Invisalign

Invisalign is a suitable method for straightening teeth using a series of custom-made aligners that gradually move teeth into the desired position. Unlike traditional braces, which use metal brackets and wires, Invisalign braces are made of comfortable, smooth, and virtually invisible plastic that you wear over your teeth.

How Invisalign Treatment Works:

The treatment begins with a consultation with our Invisalign provider, who will develop a customised treatment plan for you. Using 3D imaging technology, they will determine the exact teeth movement needed and create a series of aligners tailored to your unique needs. Each aligner should be worn for at least two weeks before moving on to the next set in the series, gradually shifting your teeth into their proper alignment. The duration of treatment varies based on the complexity of your case and may range from 12 to 18 months.

Benefits of Choosing Invisalign Over Traditional Braces:

  • Aesthetics: One of the most appealing aspects of Invisalign is its near invisibility. Clear aligners allow you to straighten your teeth without the need for visible metal wires and brackets, making it a popular choice for teenagers and adults who are self-conscious about their appearance.
  • Comfort: Invisalign braces are made of flexible and smooth plastic, which reduces discomfort and irritation typically associated with the sharp edges of metal brackets.
  • Convenience: Invisalign clear aligners are easy to remove, allowing you to eat, drink, brush, and floss with ease. This makes it convenient to maintain good dental hygiene habits throughout the treatment.
  • Predictability: Utilising the most advanced technology, Invisalign offers a clear and predictable treatment plan. This allows you to visualise how your teeth will appear after completing the treatment.
  • Fewer Office Visits: With Invisalign treatment, you will spend less time in the provider's office for necessary adjustments. You will receive several sets of aligners at each visit to change at home, providing comfort and convenience.

Before You Start: Preparing for the Invisalign Procedure

Beginning your Invisalign journey is an exciting step towards achieving an attractive and straight smile. However, it is crucial to ensure that your teeth and gums are in good condition. Let's explore how to prepare for your Invisalign treatment:

Importance of Routine Dental Check-ups:

Before beginning the Invisalign process, it is necessary to undergo a comprehensive dental check-up. This routine check-up allows the dentist to assess the overall health of your teeth and gums. It is important to detect any signs of tooth decay, gum disease, or other dental health concerns before starting the treatment. A healthy foundation is crucial for the success of your Invisalign treatment, ensuring that your teeth can shift effectively and safely into their new positions.

Identifying Existing Dental Problems:

If the dentist identifies any problems during the check-up, such as gum disease, cavities, or tooth decay, these issues should be treated before you begin wearing your aligners. Failure to address dental problems can lead to worsening conditions during the orthodontic treatment, potentially causing further complications or delays in your Invisalign progress. It is also necessary to remove existing dental devices, such as crowns or bridges, that might interfere with the fit of the aligners.

Setting Realistic Expectations for Dental Hygiene:

Maintaining good oral hygiene is essential during Invisalign treatment. Your dentist will provide the necessary guidance on how to care for your teeth and clear aligners. This will include brushing and flossing after each meal to prevent small food particles from becoming trapped between your teeth and aligners, which can lead to plaque buildup and tooth decay. It is important to clean your invisible aligners daily to keep them clear and odour-free. Establishing good dental hygiene habits before starting Invisalign will make it easier to maintain them throughout the treatment.

Dental Hygiene Routine with Invisalign:

Maintaining a good oral hygiene routine is essential during Invisalign treatment to ensure the health of your teeth and gums and the success of your orthodontic journey. Below are some tips to keep your smile bright and healthy:

Brushing Techniques for Invisalign:

  • Before and After Wearing Aligners: Brush your teeth before inserting aligners and after removing them to avoid trapping food particles and bacteria between your teeth and braces.
  • Soft-Bristled Toothbrush: Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to prevent scratches on the aligners, which can make them more visible and less comfortable to wear.
  • Gentle and Circular Motions: Brush gently in circular motions to clean teeth and the gum line effectively without causing damage to the aligners or irritation to the gums.
  • Cleaning Aligners: Use a soft toothbrush and denture cleaner or mild soap to brush clear aligners. Avoid using toothpaste, as it can be abrasive and make the aligners more noticeable.

Flossing and Use of Suitable Products:

  • Daily Flossing: Flossing is essential to remove plaque and food particles from between the teeth, where your toothbrush cannot reach. Be sure to floss once daily, preferably before bedtime.
  • Flossing Tools: If traditional flossing is challenging, consider using interdental brushes, floss picks, or a water flosser. These tools make flossing more convenient and efficient, especially with the additional presence of braces.

Rinsing Routine and Recommended Products:

  • Rinsing After Meals: Rinse your mouth with water after each meal or snack to remove food particles and prevent staining of aligners.
  • Antibacterial Mouthwash: Incorporate an antibacterial mouthwash into your daily routine to reduce bacteria and plaque buildup. Choose a mouthwash without alcohol to prevent mouth dryness.
  • Cleaning Aligners: Other than brushing, you may soak aligners in a cleaner or cleaning crystal to keep them fresh.

Taking Care of Your Invisalign Aligners:

Proper care of Invisalign aligners is essential for maintaining their clarity, preventing odours, and ensuring their effectiveness in teeth straightening. Here are some tips for keeping your aligners in good condition:

How to Clean and Maintain Aligners:

  • Daily Cleaning: Clean your aligners daily to eliminate bacteria and plaque. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and gentle soap or a specialised aligner cleaning solution. Avoid using toothpaste, as it may be abrasive and cause scratches.
  • Rinse Before Wearing: Always rinse your aligners with water before placing them back in your mouth. This helps remove debris or residue from cleaning solutions.
  • Soak Regularly: Soak your aligners in a cleaner or cleaning crystals to keep them sanitised. Follow the instructions for the cleaning product for the best results.

Common Mistakes to Avoid:

  • Do not use hot water: Avoid using hot water to clean or rinse your aligners, as it may warp the plastic and affect their fit.
  • Avoid eating or drinking with aligners: Remove your aligners before consuming anything other than water to prevent damage and staining.
  • Never use coloured soaps: Do not use coloured or scented soaps to clean your aligners, as they may leave residue or cause discolouration.

Storing Your Aligners Safely:

  • Use an Aligner Case: Always store your aligners in the case provided by your orthodontist when you are not wearing them. This will protect them from loss, dirt, and damage.
  • Keep Away from Heat: Store the aligner case in a cool, dry place away from heat sources and direct sunlight to avoid warping.
  •  Avoid Children and Pets: Keep your aligners out of reach of children and pets, as they can be easily damaged or lost.

Eating Habits and Invisalign

Invisalign provides the convenience of eating and drinking without any restrictions related to traditional braces. There are certain guidelines you need to follow to ensure the braces remain in good condition and the treatment progresses smoothly.

Foods to Avoid When Wearing Aligners:

While you remove aligners when eating, it is important to be mindful of certain foods that may impact your dental health and potentially affect your treatment:

  • Hard Foods: Avoid biting into hard foods such as apples, hard candies, or carrots, as they may cause damage to your teeth and aligners.
  • Sticky Foods: Stay away from sticky foods like caramel or chewing gum, which can adhere to your teeth and increase the risk of cavities. They can also make it difficult to clean your aligners properly.
  • Highly Pigmented Foods and Drinks: Certain foods and beverages, such as tea, coffee, berries, and red wine, may stain your aligners. It is best to remove your aligners before consuming these items.

Tips for Eating and Drinking with Aligners:

  • Remove Aligners: Always remove your aligners before eating or drinking anything other than water to prevent damage and staining.
  • Rinse mouth Properly: After eating, rinse your mouth with water to remove food particles before reinserting your aligners.
  • Brush and Floss: Brush and floss your teeth after meals and before reinserting the aligners to maintain good dental hygiene.

Effective Strategies for Dining Out:

  • Carry a Case: Bring your aligner case with you when dining out so you can safely store your aligners while eating.
  • Excuse Yourself: If you need to remove your aligners at the table, excuse yourself and discreetly remove them in the restroom.
  • Plan Ahead: Try to align your meal times with the scheduled aligner removal time if you plan to dine out. This can reduce the amount of time your aligners are out of your mouth.

Dealing with Discomfort and Other Issues:

It is common to experience some discomfort and minor issues during your Invisalign treatment. Here's how you can manage these challenges effectively:

Managing Initial Discomfort:

  • Cold Compress: Apply a cold compress to the outside of your mouth to reduce discomfort and swelling.
  • Pain Relievers: Consider taking over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen to alleviate pain. Follow the recommended dosage instructions as advised by your provider.
  • Soft Foods: Opt for soft foods in the first few days of each new set of aligners to reduce discomfort while chewing.

Dealing with Sudden Oral Health Issues:

  • Gum Irritation: If your aligners are causing gum irritation, apply dental wax to the edges of the aligners or gently file rough spots with a nail file.
  • Loose Aligners: If your aligners become loose, contact your dentist immediately. They may need to adjust the fit or move you to the next set of aligners.
  • Broken or Lost Aligners: If you lose or break your aligners, see your dentist immediately for a replacement. In the meantime, wear your previous set of aligners to maintain your progress.

When You Need to Consult Your Dentist:

  • Severe Pain: If you experience ongoing discomfort or pain that does not improve with home remedies, it is necessary to consult with your dentist.
  • Change in Oral Health: Any changes in your dental health, such as gum disease, new cavities, or unexpected tooth movements, need to be addressed by your dentist.
  • Aligner Problems: If you encounter any issues with the condition or fit of your aligners, schedule an appointment with your dentist for a thorough evaluation.

Routine Dental Visits During Treatment:

Maintaining regular dental visits during your Invisalign treatment is necessary to ensure the health of your teeth and gums for a successful orthodontic journey. Here's what you should know about these regular check-ups:

Importance of Regular Check-ups:

  • Evaluate Overall Progress: Routine visits allow the dentist to monitor the progress of your treatment and ensure your teeth are shifting as expected.
  • Maintaining Oral Health: These regular check-ups provide a suitable opportunity to evaluate overall oral health, detect possible issues early, and provide necessary adjustments or treatments.
  • Stay on the Right Track: Regular dental appointments help keep track of the treatment and prevent any complications or delays.

What You Can Expect During These Visits:

  • Aligner Fit: The dentist checks the fit of your current aligners to ensure they are sitting comfortably.
  • Teeth Movement: Your dentist will assess the movement of your teeth to determine if they are aligning according to the treatment plan.
  • Dental Health Assessment: An examination of your teeth and gums will be conducted to identify any signs of gum disease, tooth decay, or other issues.
  • Cleaning: A professional cleaning may be performed to remove plaque or tartar buildup and maintain your oral hygiene.

Adjustment and Progress Monitoring:

  • Adjustment of Aligners: The dentist makes adjustments to your aligners when necessary or provides you with a new set to continue treatment.
  • Tracking Progress: Your dentist will monitor your treatment progress and make necessary modifications to the treatment plan.
  • Guidance and Support: These visits are a good opportunity to ask any questions, address concerns, and receive guidance on how to optimise your Invisalign experience.

Routine dental visits during Invisalign treatment are essential to ensure your treatment progresses as planned and your oral health is maintained. By attending these appointments, you can achieve the best possible results from your Invisalign journey.

Lifestyle Adjustments for Optimal Results:

Invisalign treatment may require adjustments to your daily routine. By following the right approach, you can seamlessly incorporate it into your lifestyle and achieve optimal results. Below are some tips for managing different aspects of life during treatment:

Manage Social and Professional Situations:

  • Communication: Invisalign braces are virtually invisible, but you may feel self-conscious when speaking or smiling in social settings. Practice speaking with your braces to boost overall confidence.
  • Eating and Drinking: Plan ahead for your meals and snacks when you are outside. Remove braces discreetly before eating and then keep them safely in their case.
  • Maintain Good Hygiene: Carry a travel-size oral hygiene kit when you are away from home for brushing and rinsing after meals.

Balance Invisalign Treatment with Routine Life:

  • Wear Time: Aim to wear your aligners for the suggested 20-22 hours per day. Plan a routine for cleaning, removing, and reinserting aligners to ensure you stick to this schedule.
  • Scheduling Appointments: Coordinate dental visits with your work to minimise any disruption to your daily routine.
  • Activity Adjustments: If you play contact sports or musical instruments, it is important to discuss with the dentist how to manage these activities with your aligners.

Tips to Stay Motivated:

  • Track Progress: Take photos of your smile at different treatment stages to visually track progress and stay motivated.
  • Set Reminders: Use smartphone reminders to prompt you when you need to wear aligners and switch to the next set on time.
  • Celebrate Milestones: Recognise and celebrate each step of your journey, whether it's completing a set of aligners or noticing improvements in your smile.

Post-Invisalign Care

After completing your Invisalign treatment and achieving your perfect smile, it is necessary to maintain the results for improved oral health. Here is what you should know about post-Invisalign care:

Transitioning to Retainers

  • Wear Retainers: After completing the Invisalign treatment, you will likely need to wear retainers to maintain your new tooth alignment. Your dentist will provide you with customised retainers and instructions on how often to wear them.
  • Retention Period: Initially, you may need to wear your retainers full-time, similar to Invisalign braces. Your dentist may advise reducing wear to only at night.
  • Long-Term Use: To prevent your teeth from moving back to their original position, you may need to wear retainers indefinitely, although the frequency may decrease over time.

Ensure Oral Health for the Long-Term

  •  Routine Check-ups: Continue to see your dentist for regular check-ups and mouth cleanings to maintain dental health and detect potential issues early.
  • Monitor Teeth Movement: Keep an eye on your teeth alignment. If you notice any shifting, visit your dentist promptly to address the issue.
  • Address Wear and Tear: If your aligners become damaged or worn, replace them to ensure they continue to effectively maintain tooth alignment.

Continue Good Dental Hygiene Practices

  • Brushing and Flossing: Maintain a thorough oral hygiene routine, including brushing twice a day and flossing daily, to keep your teeth and gums healthy and strong.
  • Cleaning Retainers: Clean your retainers regularly to prevent the accumulation of bacteria and plaque. Follow your dentist's instructions for the best cleaning methods.
  • Healthy Habits: Avoid habits that may harm your teeth, such as using your teeth as tools, consuming acidic or sugary foods and drinks, and chewing on hard objects.

The key to a successful Invisalign experience is advanced technology and a commitment to following your dentist's advice. This can help maintain good dental hygiene habits. If you are looking for an Invisalign provider in London, we can guide you at each step toward achieving your attractive and healthy smile.