This post is the third part of a series describing my experience with Invisalign.
Here is Part 1: Consultation to ClinCheck
and Part 2: Getting My Aligners
In this post I am going to talk about what you should expect with Invisalign on a day to day basis and my advice based on my experience so far.
Recommendations (In a Perfect World)
First I wanted to let y’all know what you are SUPPOSED to do. The actual instruction manual and all the Invisalign blogs I read were very strict.
- Wear your aligners at least 22 hours a day.
- Change into a new aligner every 2 weeks.
- Only take them out to eat and brush your teeth. Yes you sleep in them.
- When you are wearing them, the only thing you can drink is water.
- Brush and floss your teeth and clean your aligners after you consume anything (meals, snacks, beverages).
- Never wrap your aligner in a napkin. It will get thrown away.
- Clean your aligner with a toothbrush and water only. No toothpaste.
My Orthodontist’s Recommendations
Believe it or not, my orthodontist was pretty easy going in comparison, but it’s obviously ok because my teeth are looking pretty.
- Shoot for 22 hours a day. When that doesn’t happen, it’s ok. You may just need to wear them longer than two weeks.
- Change your aligners every 2 weeks. As long as they are starting to get loose, it’s long enough.
- Wear them all the time unless you are eating, drinking hot stuff, or maybe at a party or something. (haha)
- You can drink whatever with them in, just not hot stuff because that will make them warp.
- Do you like to snack a lot? That could be a problem with getting your 22 hours a day in. You might need to learn how to snack with them in. me: what!? :o
- Brush your teeth after you eat.
- Here are these two fancy cases for you to store your aligners. Don’t lose them by putting them in a napkin.
- The instructions say to not use denture cleaner, but you can. Don’t use toothpaste because it will scratch the aligners and make them more visible.
I honestly probably do wear my aligners 22 hours a day. However, that is mostly because I’m lazy when it comes to cleaning them. I’ve been known to just swish some water around in my mouth after meals and pop those babies back in right away. Probably not the best thing to do, but my teeth are getting straighter and I don’t have any cavities.
I change my aligners every 2 weeks. There was one week that I changed my aligners a day early because there was a really bad rough spot that developed that was driving me CRAZY. They are alway really loose and ready to be changed though. When I switched to my second set of aligners I was anticipating pain like I had the first few days after getting my first set (very bad), so I took some pain medicine and changed them before bed. It wasn’t bad at all, and I probably didn’t need the medicine. Now I don’t take pain medicine anymore, but I do change them at night. They are a little bit sore for a day or two, but it’s the good kind of sore that lets you know they are working (not the “I want to rip my teeth out”-sore.)
I mentioned that my aligners developed a rough spot. That’s because when I have new aligners in I want to chew on things like crazy. I’m like a teething baby. Apparently there are chewy tubes that you can get, but I don’t have those. I basically bite my teeth together a lot when they feel tight. I’m sure that’s bad, but I do it anyway. Another bad habit I have is popping my aligners in and out for fun. Aaron hates it and tells me I’m disgusting (true love). I’ve googled it and I can’t figure out if it’s really bad to do that or not, so I’ve just been telling myself it actually helps my teeth move faster :) Don’t tell me if I’m wrong.
I drink everything with them in (I don’t drink coffee, but I wouldn’t do it with them in if I did). I eat nothing with them in. It honestly blew my mind when they told me I could snack with them in. I have no idea how anyone could do that.
Now that my teeth have moved stuff gets stuck in my teeth all the time. I carry travel toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss in my purse just in case. I do not brush and floss every time I eat anything because it’s annoying. I went to Disney World the first week wearing Invisalign. I started out so good. I brushed my teeth in public bathrooms. I didn’t eat snacks on the road trip to Orlando because we wouldn’t be stopping soon. Then I realized: ain’t nobody got time for that. I take a lot of care in the morning and before bed, but throughout the day I usually just swish water around in my mouth to clear any residue and pop my aligners right back in. Hey. What can I say?
I use the fancy cases.
I keep one in my purse and one at home. I use the home one when I’m at home (duh) so I don’t ever take the other one out of my purse. If I did, I would forget to put it back before going places. I have forgotten it before and put my aligners in a napkin (shame). I just make sure to put the napkin immediately in my purse so it doesn’t get mixed with trash on the table. I haven’t lost an aligner yet. Knock on wood.
Some people may be embarrassed to take them out and put them in in public. I am not one of these people. I am all about full disclosure. “By the way, I have Invisalign. I have to take them out to eat.” I know I’m not the first person anyone has ever seen take out a retainer.
As far as cleaning the aligners goes, I’ve tried a bunch of different things. I did just water and a toothbrush. I even used toothpaste a few times. Lately I have been letting them soak in hydrogen peroxide. That works pretty well. I really want to buy some denture cleaner tablets though. I usually wake up, let my aligners soak while I eat breakfast and brush my teeth, then rinse them off and put them right back in before I finish getting ready.
Aaron doesn’t want me to get the denture tablets because it already freaks him out enough that I refer to my aligners as “my teeth.” I work in a nursing home, guys. It’s funny. Someone offers me a doughnut or something–“I can’t eat it right now. I have my teeth in.” Or “Hey Aaron. Do you have a little container I can soak my teeth in?”
One of my absolute favorite things to do whenever I change aligners is to compare my new one with my first aligner. I took some pictures so you can appreciate the difference too. I’m sorry for how terrible these pictures are.
Uppers. Left: 1/14, Right:8/14
Huge difference here. Still more work though.
Lowers. Left: 1/14, Right:8/14
Notice the difference in the two front teeth. Slightly angled in on #1 and more rounded on #8.
This next picture was really hard to take. I wanted to show you some more of the work that the lower aligners did. #1 is on top and #8 is on bottom. You can really see how the aligners moved my bottom teeth down more. The angle is gone and they are more flat now.
I don’t have before pictures except for the pictures I included in the Part 1 of the Invisalign series. Here are some “durings” though.
With Invisalign in:
Invisalign in, to the side so you can really see the attachments:
And no Invisalign in, still able to see the attachments:
Note! These pictures were taken the day after I got IPR. I had noticeable spaces between my teeth yesterday, and they are already gone.