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Invisalign: Before You Decide On Clear Aligners: Things To Know

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Taking action toward anything you really want requires some kind of compromise, some kind of sacrifice. It involves making choices between immediate wants, and what needs to happen for visions to become reality. Apparently the road to success involves capitulations of time, stability and sanity because big life goals are not meant to be easy.

Having beautifully straight teeth is no exception.

Invisalign is interpreted as a 12-18-month, easy alternative to conventional braces: having them isn’t as seamless as it seems. Crooked teeth can have orthodontists possibly suggest surgery, or braces for a second time in later life, in order to correct the situation.

Practitioners may also suggest Invisalign to straighten teeth or modify a bite, and there are things that are useful to be aware of with this dental treatment.

With these aligners, you can really only drink cold water, or clear sparkling. Hot drinks like coffee, tea and cocoa will both warp and stain the fittings; as will white wine – in case you thought you’d just avoid reds. Soft drinks and sports drinks will lead to plaque buildup, and because it’s best to brush after consuming anything, you’ll already be doing that six or eight times a day.

You’ll need to carry a toothbrush and toothpaste with you at all times, really – one at home, one at work, one in your bag, one in your car. Having a toothbrush on you will become as habitual as taking your phone anytime you leave the house. Because of the frequency of brushing, soft ones used with less abrasive toothpastes are best; and you’ll be flossing more often as well.

So keep dental floss and interdental brushes as part of your extended and abundant scattering of oral care devices, like you’re being stalked by the Tooth Fairy.

Having to wear Invisalign for 22 hours a day means that despite any parties or celebrations, you’ll have to keep them in. Your Invisalign case will be a constant companion along with your toothbrush, and a really good nail file for unexpected sharp spots is a good fix without having to go back to the dentist.

Always remember to have your case with you; where else are you going to put your tray when you’re eating? In a tissue? That would be the easiest way to lose it, and it’s pretty gross anyway.

It’s ambitious to have only two hours a day to eat, and taking your Invisalign out isn’t as easy as it sounds. The custom trays are tight, and they can be particularly difficult to remove when teeth are sore and gums tender because the system is doing its job. Kissing can be awkward – although a lot less so than conventional braces, so the two hours of freedom might have to be used wisely …

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If chewing gum’s your thing, it won’t be anymore. It’s an impossible thing to do with an aligner. Along with coloured lollies.

Any snacking of course, means removal, brushing, and replacement and it tends to not be worth the effort. Brilliant if you want to lose some weight and improve your dietary habits; if that’s not really on your agenda, then protein shakes added to breakfast can help maintain the healthy weight you already have.

Fingernails are essential – without them Invisalign is impossible to take out. As equally troublesome as having no nails are acrylics and gels for strength and length; much like Edward Scissorhands when he’s nowhere near topiary. There’s a great little tool called an ‘outie’ that will solve all of this, so make sure you get yourself one. Classier, easier and it saves your nail polish as well.

Rumour has it that lipstick is out. It’s not; it’s just about using the right one, and that’s matte. Gloss will leave a waxy residue that certainly comes off trays easily enough, but it’ll be constant, annoying and ruin your selfies.

All these new and regimented oral health habits are to ensure the attractive ‘invisibility’ of the aligner remains. Without the utter vigilance, discolouration of the composite material happens rather quickly, the aesthetic is lost and you’ll look like you’ve had sixteen cigarettes and an addiction to turmeric.

Despite conflicting opinion, tooth whitening gels are out of the Invisalign equation, so if you thought you’d kill two birds with one stone you’ll kill more than that. The trays won’t contain the solution sufficiently enough to not cause gum irritation, and ingestion: neither of which is a good idea. Having straight teeth isn’t much use if you’ve damaged your gums, and vomiting means you’ll be taking those things in and out at an impossible rate.

So one thing at a time. You can always have a professional whitening treatment after the aligners have done their job, and you want to thank yourself for all the work you’ve done to get there.

Switch your new aligners before you go to sleep. It’s best to reposition teeth over an undisrupted period of time, and it’s the only eight hours straight you’ll get. And while you’re having breakfast, soak your tray in a denture solution. It’ll keep them fresh and bacteria-free.

Depending on severity, the Invisalign method can require up to 50 trays over the course of the treatment – and then there’s the refinement period. It’s to correct any small imperfections that remain, and it’s not unusual for teeth to slightly reposition after the final tray is stopped. This fine-tuning requires exactly the same prescription: 22 hours a day, 7 days a week.

80-90% of the intended changes happen with the original plan, but more often than not refinement is needed. The material of these trays will feel significantly softer and more flexible, but it’s simply that the new aligners fit much better, having been made from a new scan without the series of adjustments that achieved the changed result.

Sometimes, not always, refinement will incur extra cost (although not major) and additional attachments.

There are important considerations and compromises to be made before deciding on this teeth-straightening system. The bottom line on Invisalign is that it has to fit your lifestyle, or your lifestyle has to fit it. If those adjustments can’t be made, then nor will successful teeth adjustments be made, and you’ll wonder what you were thinking in the first place.

Note: All content and media on the Northern Dental Design website and social media channels are created and published online for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice and should not be relied on as health or personal advice.

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