One of the benefits our patients enjoy about living with Invisalign is that the treatment works well with a wide variety of people and lifestyles. If you’re a busy, on-the-go mom, or a student in school, Invisalign can be tailored to meet your specific needs. You won’t have to worry about big interruptions and changes in your life from Invisalign, but below are a few ways treatment may affect your daily life. We’ve also written an in-depth article on how Invisalign compares with braces, if you’re more interested in that direct comparison.
Physical Appearance and Speech
Since Invisalign aligners are clear and nearly invisible, they go largely unnoticed when talking or taking pictures, creating minimal, if any, change to your normal appearance. However, a small portion of people will inevitably notice them if they’re in close proximity to you.
Also, the aligners do occupy a small amount of space in your mouth. This can create minor lisps when you’re talking, particularly when speaking quickly. Although most patients overcome this minor obstacle within a few hours or days, it can be a mild nuisance when wearing the aligners and draw attention to the fact that you’re wearing them to attentive observers, particularly if the aligners cause any noticeable lisp.
We recommend taking Invisalign treatment in stride! If someone notices, just tell them how much you love your aligners and how happy you are with your treatment! More than likely they’ll be intrigued and impressed, and there will be no need to be self-conscious about anything!
Aligner Cleanings and Oral Hygiene
Your Invisalign trays should be rinsed with lukewarm water before inserting them, and ideally immediately after removal as well. You may optionally clean them with fast-acting denture cleaner occasionally.
You must also brush your teeth after eating and drinking fluid besides water before inserting a tray. Some patients find it a nuisance to have to clean their teeth more frequently, but it not only leads to better hygiene habits, but many patients find their teeth become a shade or two whiter in the process from all the frequent cleanings!
Wearing Your Aligners Constantly
Invisalign is not a part-time solution. The aligners must be worn essentially whenever you are not eating, drinking fluids besides water, or brushing/flossing. The recommended minimum is 22 hours per day, and more is always better.
Anything less than 22 hours per day, particularly less than 20 hours per day, can lead to longer treatment times, and in some severe cases, additional correction and aligners being required to get back on track. This can also increase the cost of your treatment, as you are expected to have the discipline to wear the aligners properly as part of your treatment plan.
Luckily, most patients get into a rhythm and routine and don’t have too much difficulty adhering to this requirement, as it is main downside of Invisalign, which has a great deal of benefits to be thankful for.
Discomfort and Mouth Aches
Both Invisalign and traditional metal braces use the same basic principle to straighten teeth – constant pressure to gradually move them into the desire positions. Although they go about this in different ways, the result is the same. Unfortunately, so is the discomfort involved.
With Invisalign, the pressure and aches you feel will usually be worst when you put in a new aligner (or if you’ve spent significant time not wearing your aligner) as that is when the discrepancy between where your teeth currently are and where that particular aligner wants them to be is at its greatest. This usually decreases and can even subside completely, and then the cycle begins again when you progress to the next aligner.
If you find the discomfort painful, your orthodontist will often advise a mild pain killer like Tylenol upon putting in a new aligner for the first time.
Although you can eat and drink whatever you want with Invisalign unlike with braces, there is still a catch. Unless you are drinking water, you will need to remove your aligners whenever you eat or drink anything. This is for two reasons.
First, your aligners must removed when eating and drinking for the integrity of the aligners themselves, which can be damaged by chewing food or by contact with very hot beverages. Second and more importantly, removing aligners when eating and drinking is for the health of your teeth, as leaving them in traps food and fluids in the aligners up against your teeth and gums, increasing the risk of dental hygiene related issues. So if it isn’t water, take them out, no exceptions.
Whether you have more questions about day-to-day living with Invisalign or just want to find out if it’s right for you, we invite you to come in for a free consultation, and we will help you out any way we can!