Invisalign Hacks. Are you a new patient to Invisalign? Take a look at these sixteen tips to make your Invisalign Treatment even better!
16 Invisalign Hacks and Tips
Disclosure: I am not a doctor, dentist, orthodontist or medical professional. This post is not affiliated with Invisalign. Please consult your orthodontist before beginning any of the listed hacks or tips with Invisalign.
I did it. At age 37, I became a “brace face” mother of five. I never had braces as a kid and there has been one canine tooth that has always driven me crazy, especially with a smiling profile view. It really sticks out. I allowed that tooth to go for years until in frequent visits my dentist kept telling me “you would be a good case for Invisalign.” I ignored his nudges but began to notice my own problems. It became clear I have a cross bite in the back and my gums began to recede. The joys of getting older. Finally, done with having babies, I found an opportunity to take care of myself.
My first week of Invisalign was hell. I am not going to lie. I have 22 brackets and they were really awful to put on. Additionally, my clear aligner was really tight, I was not used to the whole “planning” to eat thing and my mouth was bleeding. Installing the clear attachments, the dental hygienist tugging and pulling, really cut up my mouth during that first visit. However, once I left that dentist chair, my mouth began to heal. The Invisalign treatment became my own at home. I was getting use to a routine of when to eat and brush and slowly things got better. After about one week, I no longer regretted it. In fact, though over a year long, I was looking forward to when I was done.
About two months into treatment, I was really comfortable with my routine. My orthodontist mentioned being able to to change the number of days I wear each of my aligners with the aid of a vibration device. At the time, I was switching every 8 to 14 days and he mentioned I could get as few as 5 to 6 days for each new aligner. This would cut my Invisalign treatment by months but the device was $450. With five kids, that was not in the budget. I searched high and low for a similar device and could not find one until I found the Orthorush Soft Vibrating Device on eBay for $78. Similar to a very popular brand name, I pop the device in my mouth for 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes in the evenings. Since I was using a “knock off” brand, he would not let me change my device more often than every 7 days, but every day helps.
As my treatment moved along, I began researching Invisalign treatment. I didn’t want the “dentist” explanation, I wanted to see what had worked for patients and made their experience better. In my research, I decided to compile for you, 16 Invisalign Hacks and Tips to make yours (and my) treatment better! Leave a message and let me know what works for you! Together we can get through this process. I would love to hear your own hacks and tips to make this whole process endurable!
16 Invisalign Hacks and Tips
Remove Your Trays in Private. I highly recommend going to the bathroom or another room to remove your trays. Your aligners do accumulate some degree of saliva and pulling them from your mouth may not be a pretty sight. It’s not a visual you want to leave in other’s minds.
Clean While You Eat. Your clear aligners get gross. No matter how many times you brush, they just pick up plaque, saliva, you name it. The first and best hack is, clean while you eat. I picked up Retainer Brite Cleaning Tablets, which I keep in my kitchen. When I am eating, I toss a Retainer Brite tablet in water and allow it to soak for at least 15 minutes. When I am done eating, I brush my teeth and to polish the Invisalign aligners with my toothbrush. For a better clean, you could pick up an Ultrasonic Cleaner.
Goodbye Manicures. Initially it was hard to get my aligners out. Once I got the hang of it, they came in and out really easy. However, it takes the help of your nails/fingers to get them out. Either kiss manicures goodbye or pick up a little tool called an outie.
Always Have a Travel Toothbrush Set. You will want to carry a toothbrush, toothpaste, a floss pick in your bag. You will not regret it.
Rough Around the Edges. If you find yourself with a sharp edge, you can use a nail bugger to gently smooth down the area irritating your check or gum. Be careful not to shave down too much or you might damage the tray or the purpose of that set of aligners. They are shaped intentionally to make your teeth shift!
Install the Invisalign App. Initially I found this app a waste, but as time went on, it really became helpful. Not only can you track your progress with photos (if you wish), you can get alerts when it is time to change your aligner. This was very resourceful because when you are not on a 7 day change cycle, then the day of the week is always different. You can also see your calendar history and future. See future change dates, see your end date (loved having that goal!) and see how long you wore each aligner (i.e. first aligner was 10 days, third aligner was 8 days.) The app also has a time so you can track how long your aligners are out when you eat. Remember, Invisalign recommends use for at least 22 hours a day!
Have Multiple Cases. Initially I was rolling my aligners in a paper towel when I took them out to eat. This of course was not wise, because paper towels get tossed. Try to have multiple cases. Your kit comes with one, but you can get more online. I preferred three cases. One in the bathroom, one in my purse, and one in the kitchen. If I worked out of the home, I imagine I would want a case in my office too.
Get Whitening Foam. Invest in the White Foam Clear Retainer Cleaner. Maybe only in my mind, but I found it to really help. In fact, I had a friend ask how my teeth are still so white. I am a whitening snob, have been one as long as white strips have existed. This was my solution to keeping white teeth while I had Invisalign. I found it cheaper online (I used Subscribe and Save every 3 months) than at the dentist office.
Kiss Lipstick Goodbye. Here is the bad news. Lipstick get stuck on your clear aligners. Lipstick is not your friend during treatment. If you must wear lipstick, look for a long lasting matte. In response, found myself wearing a lot of chapstick. I sometimes sneak on a gloss toward the end of my aligner period (in case it stained, I would be moving on to the next set), but for the most part I kissed lipstick good-bye. Go for dramatic eye makeup to draw away form your lips!
Switch Aligners at Night. Switch aligners at night and pop ibuprofen. I feared each new change, but it wasn’t that bad. I am someone who prefers something night over something loose. I like tons of blankets on me when I sleep, I love the feel of Spanx, etc. So when a new set went in, it just reminded me I was setting my teeth in place. It wasn’t that bad but I did typically use ibuprofen for the first 24 to 48 hours.
Drink Only Water. This was the hardest change for me. I am a coffee sipper. I drink it all day. Everyday, I found myself never getting a full cup of coffee and sometimes I was taking ibuprofen for a headache, not for teeth pain. I have read varying answers on this but for me sparking water was great! You can drink cold still water and sparkling water wearing Invisalign. Mango and Grapefruit bubly Sparkling Water was a friend of mine. The bubbling allowed my stomach to be tricked into feeling full between meals and i find of felt like the fizz was helping to clean my teeth (perhaps it wasn’t; perhaps it was mental.)
The attachments Stain Really Easily. Be sure to brush especially after drinking things like coffee or red white. I would really recommend skipping red wine for a rose or white wine. If you cannot get to a toothbrush and toothpaste quickly, swish with water, but I would not go very long without! Remember, do not drink anything but water when your aligners are in.
Hold Onto Your Old Trays. Okay, this might seem a little strange at first glance. Why would you hold onto your previous set of trays once you graduate to a new set? There might be a reason you need to go back, like a tooth not shifting. One time, a few days after an aligner change, I lost one of my aligners. I had to go back to my old set white looking for my lost tray! I found it outside in the grass, talk about a lucky find! If in this case, I did not find it, I would be waiting a few days for my orthodontist to get a new set made. My wearing an old aligner, you prevent your teeth from shifting back or regressing in your treatment.
Use the Last Aligner Tray to Whiten Your Teeth. Your last tray makes the perfect delivery method for a teeth whitener. Grab a whitening gel and insert in your tray and follow the directions of your gel. Perhaps you can ask your orthodontist for a professional gel at the end of your treatment.
Get Multiple Toothpastes. I found myself using three different toothpastes. I preferred a toothpaste that was strong like Crest Whitening + Scope. I also, switched over to a Sensodyne Whitening on days my teeth were more sensitive. My doctor also recommended a prescription toothpaste for my receding gums. I used the prescription Fluoridex toothpaste at night to help protect my enamel when I slept.
You Might Loose Weight. I did manage to loose weight on Invisalign. Initially, I began to eat 3xs a day but I ate larger meals to prevent myself from getting hungry. During the beginning, I did not loose any weight. Eventually, I embraced this time of “not being able to eat” and watch the meals I ate 3xs a day adding more protein in my diet. After making changes to my own diet/intake, the reduction of snacks I ate a day helped me loose 13 pounds. It was work on my own end but I was giving the deterrent of my Invisalign trays not allowing me to snack.
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