As an alternative to traditional braces for straightening teeth, Invisalign® has been available for several decades. During that time, it has become very popular because of the advantages it has over traditional braces. Nevertheless, not everyone is a candidate for clear aligners, and braces have some advantages that make them the better treatment option for…
Common Tips for Invisalign Maintenance
For those who want straighter teeth without the discomfort and look of metal bracket braces, Invisalign® is a great option. Through good maintenance and proper usage, dental patients can enjoy cosmetic and functional improvements for several positioning concerns related to the teeth. Taking care of the equipment encourages the success of the results and minimizes the risk of damaging the trays and causing delays in treatment.
Jeopardizing the benefits due to poor maintenance
These aligners are known for being effective at straightening or correcting a number of tooth alignment or positioning conditions with minimal discomfort. Patients enjoy the aesthetic of this process, as the trays are nearly invisible and do not have the same awkward presence as traditional braces. Clear aligners make it easier for patients to enjoy a normal routine and lifestyle. However, many of these benefits are sabotaged when the trays are not properly cared for.
Clear aligners are see-through trays custom-made to fit over a patient’s teeth and slowly shift the bite or individual teeth into the desired position. The trays are made for a particular situation and changed out every few weeks as the mouth begins to correct itself. While this process can take several months, much of the success depends on how the patient follows the treatment plan and takes care of the aligners.
Following proper maintenance tips
There are five leading tips that should be considered when taking care of Invisalign® trays. Following this guidance will increase the likelihood of a straighter, beautiful smile after several months of treatment.
1. Remove aligners for mealtimes
Though the clear aligners are made from a durable material, it is extremely important that the trays be removed at mealtimes. Leaving them will jeopardize the rigidity and form of the trays or cause other damage. It is also important to avoid drinking hot liquids with the trays in place, as warping and bending could occur. As the trays are custom ordered, there could be a significant delay in getting a replacement pair. Wearing damaged trays can also interrupt healthy progress.
2. Carefully choose foods or drinks
The trays should also be taken out when drinking. The trays are susceptible to staining from dark-colored beverages, so things like tea, coffee, soda, juices, and red wine should be avoided. These drinks could potentially stain the teeth as well, which could be transferred to the trays when worn. Chewing on candy or soft foods is also problematic and should not be done while wearing the aligners. Smart choices with eating and drinking are a part of a good maintenance plan with the aligners.
3. Clean aligners thoroughly
It is important that the trays be cleaned thoroughly and often to keep them in the good shape for the duration of the treatment. Trays are meant to be worn for much of the day, though the individual treatment recommendations may vary. Properly cleaning of the trays should occur as soon as the patient wakes up in the morning and before going to bed at night. Trays should also be rinsed when taken out for eating.
There are many over-the-counter products that were designed to safely clean the trays, though a gentle soap, water, and distilled white vinegar mixture could also work. The trays should be brushed gently with the cleaning solution and rinsed in warm water. For aligners that seem cloudy or discolored, brushing with a small amount of baking soda could remove buildup or staining.
4. Store aligners safely
As the trays are taken out for mealtimes or other brief time periods, it is vital to protect the trays from damage from getting dropped, squeezed, or crushed. Have a special place to put the trays when not in use. A good investment to keep in the car, at the office, or in a handbag is a cleaning kit. Use a hard-shell case and include a soft-bristled toothbrush and some cleaning solution.
5. Avoid misuse
Good maintenance means avoiding bad habits and misuse of the trays. Unless cleared by the dental professional in charge of the treatment, do not use the trays with a teeth whitening solution. Do not wear broken or damaged trays, and do not change trays until advised by the dental provider.
Invisalign® trays have the potential to provide exceptional teeth straightening results. Follow proper maintenance to ensure the longevity and clarity of the trays and the success of the treatment.
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