Invisalign Aftercare: Your Do’s and Don’ts In Maintaining Straight Teeth

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Invisalign is a removable orthodontic system designed to achieve a straight smile. Unlike traditional metal braces, they are a discreet and convenient way to straighten your teeth. These plastic aligners are ideal for mild to moderate cases of misalignment.

Aftercare is important for all orthodontic treatments, including Invisalign. The aligners need to be cleaned regularly to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. Proper aftercare extends the life of your aligners and ensures your teeth stay straight after completing treatment.

Summary of the Article

  • Invisalign aftercare involves attending to your Invisalign aligners and teeth.

  • The importance of Invisalign aftercare lies in its ability to maintain the desired treatment results.

  • DO’s of Invisalign aftercare:
    • Regular dental check-ups
    • Brushing and flossing regularly
    • Wearing Invisalign trays for the recommended time
    • Eating a balanced diet
    • Keeping the trays clean and hygienic

  • DONT’s of Invisalign aftercare
    • Eating or drinking with the trays on
    • Using whitening products with the trays on
    • Forgetting to wear the trays for the recommended time
    • Smoking or using tobacco products
    • Ignoring dental check-ups and cleanings.

  • To clean the trays: rinse them under warm water, brush them with a toothbrush and toothpaste, soak them in equal parts water and white vinegar, rinse them with water, and store them in a clean, dry place.

  • Proper storage of Invisalign trays maintains their effectiveness.

  • If lost or damaged, contact your dentist and use a temporary replacement until the issue is resolved,

  • A routine check-up and cleaning at a dental clinic are approximately $307. The cost of replacing a single arch of Invisalign trays is $3680, and retainers can cost from $200 to $500, which may vary depending on the type of retainer and lab fee.

What is Invisalign Aftercare, and Why is It Important?

Invisalign aftercare takes care of your Invisalign aligners and teeth once you’ve finished your Invisalign treatment. It involves cleaning and caring for your aligners and wearing a retainer to maintain the results of your treatment.

Invisalign aftercare is essential to maintain your smile and oral health. The importance of Invisalign aftercare lies in its ability to maintain the desired treatment results.

Do's of Invisalign Aftercare

Following these aftercare tips ensures the success of your Invisalign treatment and better oral hygiene.

  • Regular dental check-ups:
    See your dentist regularly when wearing Invisalign trays. Your dentist can monitor your progress and ensure your teeth and gums are healthy.

  • Brushing and flossing regularly:
    Brushing and flossing regularly when wearing Invisalign trays keeps your teeth and gums healthy and prevents tooth decay.

  • Wearing Invisalign trays for the recommended time:
    To achieve a straighter smile, you must wear the trays daily for the recommended duration. This varies depending on the individual but is usually around 20-22 hours daily.

  • Eating a balanced diet:
    Eating a balanced diet is important for overall health and when wearing Invisalign trays. Avoiding sugary or sticky foods will help prevent damage to the trays and keep your teeth healthy.

  • Keeping the trays clean and hygienic:
    Keeping your Invisalign trays clean and free from bacteria is essential. Brush them with a soft-bristled toothbrush and toothpaste every day. You should also soak them in a special cleaning solution once a week to kill any bacteria lingering on them.

Don'ts of Invisalign Aftercare

Invisalign is a great way to achieve a straightened smile without the hassle of metal brackets. However, there are a few things you need to avoid doing to keep your trays in good condition.

  • Avoid eating or drinking with the trays on.
    Proper care for your Invisalign entails taking them out before you eat. Eating while wearing your trays can discolour or damage them.

  • Don’t forget to wear the trays for the recommended time.
    To see results, wear the trays for the recommended time each day. Not wearing them for the full recommended time may prolong the treatment.

  • Avoid smoking or using tobacco products.
    Tobacco use can cause staining and yellowing of the teeth. Smoking or using tobacco while wearing Invisalign can also cause staining of the aligner trays as well as increase the risk of oral health conditions such as gum disease.

  • Have regular dental check-ups and cleanings.
    Oral care is key to healthy teeth. Just because you’re straightening your teeth doesn’t mean you can neglect your dental check-ups and cleanings. See your dentist every six months for regular cleaning procedures.

Maintenance of Invisalign Trays

How to Clean the Trays

To clean your Invisalign trays, you can follow these steps:

  1. Rinse the trays under lukewarm water to remove food particles or debris.

  2. Brush the trays gently with a soft-bristled toothbrush and non-abrasive toothpaste to clear away any remaining debris. You may also use a clear, liquid antibacterial soap.

  3. Rinse the trays thoroughly with water.

  4. Soak the trays in a mixture of water and white vinegar for 15 minutes to help remove any remaining stains and freshen them up.

  5. Rinse the trays again with water to wash off the vinegar solution.

  6. Store the trays in a clean, dry place until you’re ready to use them again.

You should clean your Invisalign trays after each use and avoid using hot water, as it can warp them.

Storing the Trays Properly

Invisalign trays need to be stored properly in their cases to help maintain their shape and prevent them from being damaged or contaminated.

Proper storage of your Invisalign trays maintains their effectiveness and ensures they continue to work as intended.

How to Handle Lost or Damaged Trays

If you lose or damage your Invisalign trays, take action as soon as possible to minimise the impact on your treatment. Here are some steps you can take:

  • Contact your dentist.
    They will advise you on the right course of action. They may suggest ordering a replacement tray or adjusting your treatment plan.

  • Use a temporary replacement tray.
    In some cases, your dentist may provide a temporary tray. This helps prevent your teeth from shifting and minimises the impact of the lost or damaged tray.

  • Take extra care of your remaining trays.
    To minimise the risk of losing or damaging additional trays, take extra care of the trays you have. Store them properly and handle them with care.

  • Wear your previous tray.
    If you have a previous set of Invisalign trays, ask your dentist if you can wear those until a replacement arrives.

Losing or damaging your Invisalign trays can affect your treatment timeline and result in additional expenses. Take care of your trays and handle them with care to minimise the risk of loss or damage.

Importance of Wearing Retainers After the Treatment

It’s important to wear the retainer after treatment because they keep your teeth in their new position.

What are Retainers?

Retainers are orthodontic devices worn after treatment to maintain the new position of the teeth. There are different kinds of retainers, including:

  • Hawley Retainer:
    Also known as wire retainers, they consist of a metal wire that wraps around the front teeth and is held in place by an acrylic mould that fits snugly against the roof of the mouth.

  • Essix Retainer:
    These are clear, thin plastic retainers that cover the entire arch of teeth and are virtually invisible when worn.

  • Bonded Retainer:
    Also called a fixed retainer, it is a thin wire that is bonded to the back of the front teeth, keeping them in place.
  • Vivera Retainer: These retainers are made by Invisalign and are similar to Essix retainers but are made of a stronger, more durable material.

Your dentist will determine the right retainer option based on your needs. It’s important to follow the instructions provided by your dentist and wear the retainer as part of your straight teeth aftercare.

Benefits of Wearing Retainers

There are several benefits to wearing retainers after Invisalign treatment.

  • Prevents relapse.
    Wearing retainers after Invisalign treatment helps to ensure that the teeth remain in their new position. This prevents relapse, which is the return of teeth to their original position.

  • It helps to preserve the results of Invisalign treatment.
    They ensure that the teeth remain straight and properly aligned.

  • Maintains bite stability.
    Retainers help maintain your bite stability. Your mouth needs time to adjust after treatment. Retainers guide your teeth into the right place while your jawbone adjusts to the new bite.

  • Increases the lifespan of Invisalign treatment.
    Wearing retainers after Invisalign treatment helps ensure the results last for a longer period of time.

How to Properly Wear and Care for Retainers

  1. Wear your retainer as prescribed by your dentist.
  2. Clean your retainer regularly with a toothbrush and toothpaste.
  3. Soak your retainer in a denture-cleaning solution at least once a week.
  4. Store your retainer in a safe place when you’re not wearing it.
  5. Bring your retainer to your dentist for regular check-ups.

Effects of Poor Invisalign Aftercare

  • Delayed Treatment:
    Failing to follow proper aftercare instructions can lead to extended treatment time. This is because oral hygiene issues can cause the aligners to fit improperly, slowing down the progress of the treatment.

  • Increased Risk of Cavities and Gum Disease:
    Poor oral hygiene can lead to the buildup of plaque and bacteria, which can cause cavities and gum disease. These oral health issues can delay the progress of the Invisalign treatment and affect the final outcome.

  • Aligner Discolouration:
    Failing to clean aligners properly can cause them to become discoloured or stained. This can make them more visible, affecting the aesthetics of the treatment.

  • Aligner Damage:
    If aligners are not cared for properly, they can become scratched or damaged, reducing their effectiveness in moving teeth into the desired position.

  • Teeth Shifting:
    If proper aftercare is not followed, there is a risk of teeth shifting back to their original position, requiring additional orthodontic treatment.

Tips for a Successful Invisalign Aftercare Journey

  • Planning and preparation.
    Starting the Invisalign journey on the right foot is essential to achieve the desired results. Schedule treatment consultations with your dentist so they can thoroughly assess and prepare your teeth for Invisalign treatment.

  • Staying motivated and committed.
    Treatment time varies per person, but you will get that beautiful smile with a bit of patience. Your teeth will eventually move into their correct positions, don’t let your impatience derail your motivation.

  • Keeping a positive attitude.
    Maintaining a positive attitude can help you stick to the treatment plan and wear your aligner as directed, generating better results.

Common Invisalign Aftercare Concerns

Pain or Discomfort

  • Over-the-counter pain relievers.
    Taking over-the-counter pain medication can help you manage pain or discomfort associated with wearing your Invisalign. Ibuprofen or paracetamol should do the trick.

  • Diet modification.
    Eating softer foods and avoiding hard, chewy, or sticky foods can help minimise discomfort.

Speech Difficulties

  • Try reading aloud.
    This may seem like a silly exercise, but it helps you get used to speaking with your new aligners. Reading out loud will help you become more aware of how your mouth moves when you talk. It will also help you get used to the feel of the aligners.

  • Allow yourself to adjust.
    Allow yourself some time before returning to your regular activities. Speaking slower can also help you pronounce words without the tight feeling of having a traditional set of braces.

Food Getting Stuck In The Trays

If you notice food particles getting stuck in your Invisalign, don’t worry. It’s normal and easy to address. Simply remove them with a toothbrush, and remember to take your Invisalign out before eating to prevent food from getting stuck in them.

When to Call Your Dentist

  • Emergency situations.
    Contact your dentist immediately if you encounter a dental emergency regarding your Invisalign aligners. Don’t hesitate during this potentially stressful time.

  • Concerns about the progress of treatment.
    If you have questions or concerns about your Invisalign treatment, bring them up with your dentist. Patients progress differently. Some teeth may straighten faster than others, but that doesn’t mean your treatment isn’t working.

  • Unusual symptoms or side effects.
    When you experience unusual symptoms or side effects, call your dentist. They will determine the cause of your discomfort and advise you about the right course of action.

How Long Do You Need To Wear Your Invisalign Clear Aligners?

On average, patients should wear their aligners 20-22 hours a day, replacing them every two weeks with the next set of aligners in the series. Invisalign treatment usually takes 12-18 months, depending on the complexity of the orthodontic problem being addressed. Some cases require as little as six months. Your dentist can give you a more accurate timeline based on your treatment plan and progress.

Cost of Invisalign Aftercare

Here are some estimated costs of Invisalign aftercare:

  • A routine check-up and professional cleaning at the dental clinic cost around $307.

  • Replacing a single arch of lost or damaged Invisalign trays will cost you around $3680.

  • On average, retainers come at a price tag of $200 to $500. But remember that this may vary depending on what type of removable retainer and lab fee your dentist uses.

Final Thoughts

Invisalign aftercare is crucial to maintaining the results of your orthodontic treatment. It involves going to the dentist, doing proper oral hygiene, and keeping your trays clean. Remember to remove your trays before eating and avoid smoking to prevent staining your aligners.

The trays can be cleaned by rinsing, brushing, soaking in a cleaning solution, and storing them in a clean, dry container. Proper Invisalign aftercare helps to maintain a healthy smile and overall oral health.

For more information on Invisalign treatment, contact Comfort Care Dental today! Let’s find out how we can help you with your Invisalign treatment.

Author

Dr. Karthik Lakkaraju

For Dr Karthik, dentistry is the complete package. He most enjoys the feeling he gets when he sees a patient achieve a beautiful smile, or can put an end to pain and increase the quality of life. He believes oral health is a mirror of general health and reflects the person’s personality and confidence.

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