My Invisalign Experience Part 3: Daily Routine and Advice

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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.

My Routine

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.


invisalign-boxes

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?”

My Progress

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.

IMG_0733

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.IMG_0734

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.

IMG_0735

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:

IMG_0726

Invisalign in, to the side so you can really see the attachments:

IMG_0727

And no Invisalign in, still able to see the attachments:

IMG_0732

Halfway done!

Note! These pictures were taken the day after I got IPR. I had noticeable spaces between my teeth yesterday, and they are already gone.

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5 Comments

Filed under Goals, Invisalign, Uncategorized

5 responses to “My Invisalign Experience Part 3: Daily Routine and Advice

  1. Susan Bourne

    Dear Haley,
    Thank you for doing this post. It helped me a lot get over my fear of this process. I haven’t gotten my invisaligners yet. But I have gotten the scanning done and in two weeks I get them. I’m 60 years old and have a terror of dentists. I have all my teeth and not one cavity. My teeth are crooked and gapped though. I’ve always hated them but my terror kept me from getting the braces. You answered a lot of my questions and concerns in your little blog and it was nice of you to do that. I feel a little more confident now about the upcoming process. You see you youngin’s can help us oldsters quite a bit. Bless you and God’s grace to you.
    Susan Bourne – Tucson AZ

  2. We give our patients little jewelry cleaners to clean their Invisalign. The little cleaner vibrates at a very rapid pace and knocks a lot of the crud off the aligners that tends to build up. They are really cheap and you can probably find one on Amazon for less than $10. Would like to see an update with before and after photos – make sure your orthodontist performs enamoplasty on your upper left central incisor so that the biting edge matches the right side (it won’t hurt you and it won’t increase your risk for cavities or fractures). Thanks for the great posts.

  3. Joanna

    Hi, turning 25 in May and finally decided to finally fix my teeth, like you they aren’t terrible but from certain angles you an see my crooked teeth. I have to do 35-38 retainers 15 months.. Seems like forever. Just wanted to say ur blog helped me with my concerns on getting my Invisalign in tomorrow. A lot of posts on the subject are so negative but I’m getting more excited after reading all three posts. So thank you! Hope you enjoyed your end result if you are done yet.

    -jp

  4. Loretta

    Thank you for posting this. I, too, have a casual attitude toward cleaning my trays during the day, so I’m glad I’m not the only one. I use a jewelry cleaner, which cleans well, but requires soaking the trays in water and/or mouthwash afterward to get rid of the soapy taste. I rinse and chew sugar-free gum before replacing my aligners on the go. It seems to work fine. Being able to snack with the aligners in feels odd. I’ve done gelato, but a Reece’s cup wanted to pull the aligners off. I also find myself gnashing my teeth a lot with the trays in. Thanks again!

  5. Joel

    Very cool post.
    So ?I have had mine for 13 days now. Going to put in the second set tonight. So far it is not bad. Just a pain in the butt carrying a tooth brush, floss, toothpaste, you know. It has gone pretty much as you describe. But there is a couple things that you may want to reconsider. Not that I am an expert or anything. But my ortho said brushing, and flossing is a MUST EVERY SINGLE TIME I EAT.
    She said there has been cases of tooth decay a few months after people are done with the invisalign process. Tooth decay is a slow process, and you most likely would not notice it happening at first. I have also read countless comments of this happening to people because they would not brush or floss before putting the invisalign back in.
    I have also read countless cases of people getting tooth decay on the teeth that had been shaved. But again it was a few months after they were done with the treatment.
    I also have to have this done on week 17. But I might not do it? I have yet to talk to my ortho about it. What are your thoughts? What did your ortho say about it? I suppose if you take away the protective coating off of your teeth, this would cause a problem.
    But I agree with your experience. Great blog! If I could give you some advice. Brush and floss every single time you eat. Try not to have the “it won’t happen to me” attitude. That’s when it will happen, and it will be to late.
    Thanks,

    Joel

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