Dreaming of a perfect smile? You don’t need to get braces as an adult to straighten your teeth. Invisalign is a discreet, cost-effective solution for straighter teeth. If you are seriously considering Invisalign, these are five things you need to know before talking to your orthodontist.
1. Be disciplined about wearing your aligners.
For the best results, aligners should be worn for 22 hours each day. You’ll need to take out your aligners with eating or drinking anything other than water. But once your meal is over, be sure to brush promptly and then put your aligners back in. If you’re often forgetful or sometimes struggle with routines, consider whether you’ll be able to stick to wearing your aligners as scheduled. Invisalign, like any teeth straightening solution, is a major investment. To reap maximum benefit, you need to wear them 22 hours a day in accordance with your orthodontist’s instructions.
2. Skip the lipstick and the coffee.
Is lipstick part of your makeup routine? Since aligners are clear plastic, wearing lipstick, lip stain or coloured lip gloss can stain them. The same goes for drinks like pop, tea, coffee and other alcoholic beverages. Don’t drink any coloured, sugary or acidic beverages while you’re wearing your aligners. If you’re going to have a drink while wearing your aligners, stick to water. Can’t live without your morning coffee or a cup of afternoon tea? Don’t fret: it’s okay to have these drinks as long as you take your aligners out and brush immediately after.
3. Never smoke while wearing Invisalign.
Not only is smoking an unhealthy habit but doing so while wearing your aligners will permanently discolour them. The yellow stains caused by smoking cannot be removed with cleaning or scrubbing. If you do wish to smoke while undergoing Invisalign treatment, you must remove your aligners.
4. You can eat anything– as long as you take out your aligners.
One of the most common complaints from people with braces is the long list of food restrictions. Sticky foods like toffee and caramel are out, as are hard foods that could cause a metal bracket to pop off the tooth. With Invisalign, you can still indulge in all your favourite foods as long as you remove the aligners before a meal. The ability to remove your aligners when dining also makes oral hygiene easier. You don’t need to worry about food being stuck between metal wires and brackets. However, you will need to be diligent about brushing and flossing. To minimize the risk for gum disease, any food trapped in your teeth or along the gum line must be removed before you put your aligners back in.
5. Don’t expect instant results.
“Straighter teeth in just days!” If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Despite what some advertisements may claim, Invisalign won’t produce instant results. Like conventional braces, most adult patients will need Invisalign treatment for 12 to 24 months. The length of treatment depends on the complexity of your alignment needs. If you had braces as a child and your lower teeth have only shifted slightly, this is a relatively straightforward case with a shorter treatment period. If you have never straightened your teeth before and have extra gaps or serious overcrowding that needs to be addressed, you may require longer treatment. Be realistic about how long treatment will take. For example, if you have a wedding coming up and you want straighter teeth before your big day, allow yourself at least one year for treatment to progress. While you may detect a noticeable difference after a few months, for best results you’ll need to wear your aligners for the full length of treatment in accordance with your orthodontist’s plan.