I absolutely love that moment when I introduce a new patient to their first set of clear aligners. After much anticipation and preparation, they are ready to begin the journey to their new smile. As an orthodontist and former patient, my Invisalign tips and tricks are based on one simple philosophy: be good to your mouth and establish a consistent, healthy routine that you can maintain throughout treatment.
You will be wearing clear aligners for 22 hours a day, which is quite a commitment. It's also uncomfortable, and pain is common. Here are six Invisalign tips to start your smile journey on the right track and experience maximum comfort during the "invisible" teeth alignment process.
- Protect your tongue
- Treat your pain and discomfort
- Use Movemints when you reinsert your trays
- Keep track of your daily wear time
- Remove your aligners the safe, sanitary way
- Keep your trays clean (and clear)
1) Protect Your Tongue
The plastic edges of your clear aligners may irritate you. Sores are common early in the journey, and also at the beginning of new tray cycles, but your mouth will toughen up. To accelerate this toughening, learning how to use dental wax to cover sharp edges and rough spots is key. Try this technique: take a small pinch of wax, roll it into a shape between (clean) fingers, then apply it to those areas that bother you. If wax just isn't doing the trick, or you have a particularly rough of jagged section on your retainers, you may need to ask your Orthodontist to file them down for you.
Another good idea is to have a bottle of peroxide-based mouthwash like Colgate Peroxyl in your medicine cabinet. It is specially formulated to heal minor oral irritations during orthodontic treatment, and provides teeth and gum pain relief with a refreshing, foamy effect that really hits the spot. Keep a bottle in your medicine cabinet, and you'll be glad you did!
2) Treat your pain and discomfort
Clear aligners work by forcing your teeth into their ideal position. To be honest, it can hurt, and many will experience pain in their teeth and jaws. For my patients, I recommend chewing exercises a few times a day, and every time you reinsert your trays. Not only does this help your teeth "track "in accordance with your treatment plan, it can help with pain relief.
That's why I recommend chewing exercises as my second Invisalign tip. The simple act of chewing produces a nice massage effect for your gums, stimulating nutrient-rich blood flow to your mouth. That blood flow acts as a natural pain reliever, and more importantly, chewing exercises help your trays fit tightly for maximum tooth movement.
You may have received styrofoam chewies from your Orthodontist, and they do aid in the chewing process and I still give them to my patients for home use. But, they can get very dirty if they aren't cleaned regularly and are a bit awkward to use in public. So....
3) Use Movements When Reinserting Your Trays
It’s not always ideal or convenient to do chewing exercises during the course of your busy day. When I first started treating patients, all I had to give them were the aforementioned chewies or other homegrown solutions like suction tips or ball point pens. However, none of these items were particularly appealing (or sanitary) for me to recommend, and that just didn't sit well with me.
I drew on my experience as a patient to create a perfect alternative, one that freshens breath and seats trays in a sanitary, low key manner. After years of perfecting its shape, I’m pleased to share Movemints, the only Mint that Fits® your clear aligners, with patients all over the world!
I created Movemints® to give my patients an alternative to chewie foam and encourage the gentle chewing exercises throughout the day. It doesn’t hurt that Movemints taste great and fight dry mouth, are sugar-free and sweetened with beneficial xylitol. Eat them all day and with your trays in!
4) Keep Track of Your Daily Wear Time
Obviously it will be a little difficult adjusting to your new lifestyle with your invisible braces. You will be taking them out often, which is okay; this is why so many orthodontists recommend them for older teens and adults.
But the flexibility can extend your treatment if you don’t wear them for the recommended 22 hours. We are big fans of TrayMinder, a mobile app that tracks how long you’ve worn (or not worn) your aligners and reminds you when to change to a new set of trays.
Another great way to stick to a consistent clear aligner routine is to have the right Invisalign accessories for your smile journey. We've got an entire blog devoted to the best accessories, but one of our favorite "must haves" is an extra retainer case or two. Keep several on hand for your bag, backpack, office and purse and you'll never risk misplacing or losing your clear braces.
5) Remove Your Clear Aligners The Safe, Sanitary Way
Stay safe and sanitary when you remove your invisible braces. A tool like the OrthoKey, small enough to fit in your retainer case, has purposeful design that makes it easy to use.
Your hands may work for you, but trays get tighter as your treatment progresses, meaning you'll have to find new angles for removal. This is where the “hook” of OrthoKey really shines, and saves you from inadvertent nail gashes if or when your hands slip while trying to pry them out.
You can get two of these great Invisalign accessories with our On The Go Journey package, which includes Movemints and OrthoKey, for the ultimate in hands-free convenience!
6) Keep Your Trays Clean (and Clear)
I know that my patients are going to cheat. Finishing the last two sips of a lukewarm coffee or enjoying a glass of (white) wine with your trays in isn’t the worst thing you can do. But don’t make it a habit, and be mindful of your schedule: cheating during the last few days (or hours) of an Invisalign tray cycle gives less time for stains to compound.
When you notice your trays getting a little dingy and funky, use a pump or two of Soluria Clear Aligner Sanitizing Spray. You can do this before you put your trays back in (it tastes great!) or while you have them out. For more techniques to keep your aligners fresh and clean, read Six Tips for Clean, Clear Aligners.
Create Your Routine and Stick To It!
As you embark on your smile journey, strive to establish a personal routine that you can maintain. Incorporate these Invisalign tips into your lifestyle. Protect your tongue and do your chewing exercises often to reduce pain and discomfort. Good habits are essential to relieving invisible braces pain and achieving your ideal smile!
I know you are excited, and I'm excited for you, so if you have any questions please don't hesitate to share them in the comments section. Even better, share your own Invisalign tips and tricks with others that are about to embark on their smile journey with clear aligners. We love to hear from you!