10 Commandments for Invisalign Patients

When to change aligners?

We will ask you in general to change your aligners to new aligners every two weeks as long as you are wearing your aligners full-time. Full-time means 20 to 22 hours a day and taking them out only for eating and tooth cleaning.

If you wear them less than 18 hours in a day, your teeth will move in the direction you want for 18 hours, and then backward for the next six hours you don’t have it in four. You get about half a day’s benefit at the most from it. Basically, if you drop below 18 hours a day, you need to add another day to the entire process and even at 18 hours a day, it doesn’t work as well. If you’re going to get a great result with Invisalign, you need to wear your aligners constantly. If there’s any stage in your treatment where you can change your aligners more often than weekly, we will tell you.

aligners

Too little wear

There are some teeth that are not fully fitting into the aligner. There’s an air gap between the aligner and the teeth. Clearly, the aligner is not gripping the teeth well enough to be able to move them. But this is generally what happens if you don’t wear your aligners well.

Any less than full-time wear -22 hours a day – will mean your treatment will take longer. We can’t control how much you wear your aligners. It will mean your treatment will not give you a good result and to get your treatment back on track may mean extra scans, time, and cost.

Keep all old aligners

If you keep all your old aligners the ones you finished wearing as well in a packet, we’ll probably never ask to see them. However, there can be occasions when you lose aligners go away on holiday, and forget to take your aligners with you and your teeth fall backward. We can use one of the older aligners to get treatment back on track. Please keep all your old aligners.

At the very least, we ask you to keep the aligners prior to the ones you’re currently wearing so the one previous set at least is a good idea. We have a fallback plan if you were to lose your current set.

Aligners are loose?

Don’t change them. They may be loose because you’re not wearing them well enough and they’re not fitting in the first place. They may be loose for good reason and I use the analogy of Jane Fonda. Many people expect that author orthodontic treatment will cause them pain and discomfort and when it doesn’t cause them pain and discomfort, they think it’s not doing anything and they want to change their aligners because the aligners aren’t feeling tight and uncomfortable.

That is not actually what is correct. What happens when you first put on the aligner? It accelerates your teeth to move in a new direction just as if you were to jump into a car and accelerate from naught to 60 kilometers an hour. However, once you’re up and traveling at 60 kilometers an hour, you don’t really feel it. So moving your tooth is the same thing. We want to accelerate it by putting a new aligner up to speed and then spend the time traveling the distance before we need to push the accelerator again.

invisalign aligners

Attachments

Attachments are little tooth-colored pieces of plastic that are glued onto the teeth and are removed at the finish. Invisalign treatment does not mean just wearing the aligners themselves. Very frequently we add two-colored attachments to your teeth, either on the inside of the teeth or on the outside front and back teeth. Quite commonly these are placed on front teeth.

We keep this process to an absolute minimum. But you need to understand and accept that we do this for the best of reasons to actually get your teeth really straight. If you don’t have attachments, you will not have straight teeth if attachments are required.

Length of treatment

How long will your treatment last? This will clearly vary from person to person. When you get your aligners, there will be a total number on the packaging. But don’t take that number as the absolute final number. In about two-thirds of cases, we will order some more aligners at the finish to get a really perfect result because we can’t predict whether you’ve been a good wearer or a bad wearer or something minor may go wrong along the way. So about two-thirds of the time when we get toward the finish, we’ll organize some new aligners to fine-tune the result.

If you wear your aligners well and report nonfit of teeth into the aligners or other problems as soon as possible, your treatment will progress as quickly as possible.

Changing to new aligners

Change your aligners for new ones just before you go to sleep. That way your aligners settle in overnight and are much more comfortable. Studies have shown that about 70% of the stiffness and discomfort with aligners will disappear in the first 10 hours. So if you take that 10 hours during a time when you’re actually asleep, you’ll find it’s much more comfortable. The best thing to do is to change new aligners just before you go to bed at night every two weeks. 

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