Faster Invisalign Orthodontic Treatment
We are often asked by patients : what can I do to make my Invisalign Orthodontic Treatment go faster? This is a adaptation of our podcast episode on iTunes, first published several years ago. I have since updated this to reflect current practice.
For those of you who are new to Invisalign, this is a no braces form of orthodontic treatment that basically utilises sequential serious of clear removable plates. These are custom made plates; they generally are changed every 2 weeks. They are removed when eating and placed straight back on.
We get lots of questions asked by teenagers and young adults about Invisalign treatment and that goes for the braces orthodontic treatment as well: What are the ways that I can speed up my orthodontic treatment, so that I can complete my Invisalign treatment on time? For those of you who are considering braces as an orthodontic treatment option, I would refer to your previous podcast which was titled: Four must have tips for completing your braces orthodontic treatment on time.
Full Time Wear, IE, 22 Hours a Day
So in regards to the invlisalign treatment, the first tip, and probably one of the most important tip: Wearing the aligner’s fulltime. It is recommended that you wear them for 22 hours a day; which only really allows you to take them out when you are eating or brushing your teeth. If you like eating small but frequent snacks, you can keep your aligners in when you are eating.
If you are finding it a bit awkward removing the aligners before eating and then putting them back in again, you may eat with the aligners in. Sometimes with these aligners, particularly when you have the hard crunchy foods you may be a bit more wary, because they could potentially crack your aligners. Other than that, if you are having a sandwich, pasta or a stir-fry you could keep your aligners in. They generally change every 1-2 weeks, so the risk of them cracking or breaking, even if you eat with them in, is low. You may find though that when you eat or drink any coloured foods/liquids the fluids can go beneath the aligner so you may need to excuse yourself and take out the aligners and rinse them before you put them back in.
What happens if I do not make the 22 hours a day?
Most of our patients who are wearing Invisalign are young adults who have busy lifestyles and they may have an important meeting or function where they need to remove the aligners. While we don’t encourage this routinely, if you do ever have to remove your aligners, it is important that you make up for this by increasing the total number of days you wear that aligner before advancing to the next on in the series. For example, let’s say that you have an important speech or meeting with your client and you would have to take out the aligners, if you wear them for less than 22 hours that day, you would want to add one more day to this set before advancing to the next. With that in mind, never wear them for less than 12 hours a day, if you do ever have to do that, there is that risk that your teeth may not move as the aligner intended. I would just like to make a point about taking out your aligners when you just start the number 1 of your series of aligners; there may be some slight speech alterations, particularly with the “s” and the “th” sounds for the first couple of days.
Are there any changes to speech after having the aligners fitted?
However, the feedback that we get from our patients and we have treated a lot of Invisalign and clear aligner patients is that speech almost always returns to normal within a couple of days. So taking out the aligners on the basis of speech really shouldn’t be a problem other than in the very early stages of your orthodontic treatment.
Now in regards to the second must have tip to completing your Invisalign treatment on time: Aligner chewies. For those that are considering Invisalign treatment, aligner’s chewies are basically chewing gum but they don’t degrade, they are chewing gum in the shape of a cotton roll. They don’t absorb saliva so they are easy to wash after you use. You really want to use these aligner chewies for 10-20 minutes every evening, practically in that first week when you change your new set of aligners. Now when you come in for your normal review appointments with me, your orthodontist, I’ll be instructing you areas that you may need to use your chewies more on, which areas of the teeth or which areas of the mouth. The aim of these chewies is to help the clear aligners fit themselves neatly around your teeth so that they can induce the intended movements. These chewies, typically, can be reused even after a few months before they get worn down or ragged, and then all you need to do is just request some more chewies from us. Our staff would be more than happy to provide them. After you use each chewy, just rinse it out with some water and put it back inside the bag.
The last tip is wearing any elastic bands as instructed. These elastic bands go from the top to the bottom, they usually are attached to the plate or some buttons attached to your back teeth. They are not worn by all patients; just some patients need to wear them. They are usually intended to assist with moving your teeth. We go through this with patients the first time they wear the elastic bands and other general information about the elastics, what happens if it breaks, the importance of wearing them full-time or whether or not you wear them during sport. Generally, with these elastic bands, in most instances with Invisalign treatment you would wear them full-time initially. If they are worn properly and well, we may reduce the wear to part-time wear or you may not need to wear them anymore.
To sum it up, the three must have tips to completing Invisalign Treatment on time: