Invisalign® 411

Invisalign may be known for its convenience, but that doesn't mean you won't still have questions about it. If you're interested in starting Invisalign but want to make sure you're getting the most out of your treatment, not to worry! Our team at Dream Smiles has compiled this helpful selection of Invisalign 411 information to make your Invisalign experience a success.

Our helpful list of Dos and Don'ts will give you everything you need to have a safe and enjoyable Invisalign experience. You can also check our FAQ section for insights on a wide variety of Invisalign questions. At Dream Smiles, we're committed to delivering quality Invisalign treatment and helping you achieve your best smile. If you have more questions or want to know if Invisalign is right for you, call our practice and talk to our friendly staff today!


Invisalign Dos

While wearing Invisalign clear braces, do:

  • Rinse new aligners: Before inserting a new set of aligners for the first time, rinse them thoroughly, and keep the aligners in for 12 hours before removing them to eat or brush. We recommend putting on your new aligner in the evening before bed so that you sleep through the initial discomfort and can easily reach the 12-hour mark.
  • Follow the 22-Hour Rule: Make sure you wear aligners for a minimum of 22 hours a day. Anything less, and there's a high chance that the aligners will not move your teeth predictably.
  • Chewie Exercises: To make sure your teeth are tracking properly, perform Chewie exercises at least once a day. Simply place the plastic Chewie on the back-most molar on the right side and bite down and hold for 5 seconds. Walk the Chewie to the next tooth over, and bite down and hold for 5 seconds. Repeat until you've reached the back-most molar on the left.
  • Rinse Every Time: Whenever you take off your aligners, rinse them thoroughly under cool running water. This simple step will rinse off bacteria, saliva, and food particles (though it's no substitute for regular cleaning as well).
  • Soak Aligners Regularly: Invisalign offers specialized cleaning crystals for soaking your aligners, which helps to keep them clean and fresh. Try soaking them periodically while you eat a meal so you don't miss out on your daily 22 hours of wear. If you run out of the cleaning crystals, you can pick up Retainer Brite® cleaning tablets online or from various retailers.
  • Clean Your Teeth: Proper care for your teeth matters just as much as your aligners! Be sure to brush and floss your teeth regularly to prevent plaque and bacteria buildup under the aligners, especially after you eat a meal or snack. If you can't brush, rinse your mouth well before putting the aligners back on.
  • Use the Right Soap: Instead of using toothpaste, which is abrasive and can scratch your aligners, wash with a clear antibacterial soft soap. This will help you keep your aligners free of bacteria and plaque.
  • Brush Carefully: Brush your aligners every time you take them out, if possible, but be careful when you do. Overzealous brushing can leave visible marks and scratches on the aligner surface. Always use a soft-bristled toothbrush and use gentle pressure.
  • Keep Backup Aligners: Keep the previous aligners just in case you lose your current ones.

Invisalign Don'ts

To enjoy the best Invisalign experience, make sure you don't:

  • Eat or Drink With Aligners: Eating or drinking with aligners on will trap food and sugars that can lead to tooth decay, so take off your aligners before eating or drinking anything other than water. Make sure you brush afterward if you eat anything sugary or acidic, as well as colored drinks since they can discolor your aligners.
  • Leave Aligners in Your Car: Unless it's mid-winter, your car heats up a lot during the day. Excess heat exposure will warp your aligners so they no longer fit.
  • Use Scented or Colored Soap: Soap with colors will stain your aligners, making them more noticeable, and scents will likely leave an unpleasant taste. Stick with clear, unscented soft soap for best results.
  • Soak Aligners in Mouthwash: Like other tinted items on this list, mouthwash is likely to stain your aligners.

Traveling With Your Invisalign

Removability is a major convenience factor for Invisalign, but it does come with some drawbacks. When traveling anywhere, even to and from work, it's very easy to misplace, break, or leave your aligners behind by mistake. The further you're traveling, the more difficult it is to retrieve them again. If you're planning a trip while on your Invisalign treatment, check in with our dentists so we can make any adjustments and help you determine which aligners to bring.

In general, we recommend pausing treatment when taking long trips and wearing the same aligners at nighttime only to hold your teeth where they are. You can then resume treatment once you're back home. However, if you will be traveling for weeks or months, here are some helpful tips for continuing treatment and taking care of your aligners on the go.

  • Keep a Supply Handy: In general, you should carry at least three pairs of aligners with you when you travel. These should be your current set, your previous set, and your next set. If you'll be gone for more than a few weeks, you'll want to take even more. Our team will help you determine how many you'll need.
  • Bring an Extra Case: It's all too easy to lose a case, so we recommend bringing a backup case to keep you prepared for any mishaps.
  • Rinse As Needed: While it's best to brush your aligners every time you take them out, this can be impractical when out traveling. If brushing isn't an option, you can rinse out your mouth and aligners before putting them back in, then brush whenever you have the chance.

Common Invisalign Questions

Our team is happy to answer any questions, even if they feel basic or silly! Don't hesitate to ask us whatever you'd like to know about your Invisalign treatment. Here are a few questions our patients often ask:

What do I do if I lose an aligner?

If you accidentally throw away your aligners, don't panic! This can happen to anyone, and it doesn't mean your treatment is immediately at risk. Simply move ahead to the next aligner in your treatment. As long as you've worn your aligner for the recommended 22 hours, it should fit well. However, if you lose several aligners at once, call our office as soon as possible so we can help you replace them.

It's perfectly normal to have a lisp when beginning your treatment! Your tongue is simply adjusting to the thin layer of plastic on the roof of your mouth, and this lisp will eventually go away. One easy way to help this lisp go away is to practice speaking by reading out loud. Pick up your favorite book and try it!

Invisalign attachments are chemically bonded to the teeth and so are quite durable. However, if an attachment or two happens to fall off, please make a note of which are missing and let us know at your next regularly scheduled appointment.

If the attachments or aligners are rubbing on a certain spot and irritating your gums, take a nail file and gently file down the plastic in the sharper spot. Please let us know about this at your next regularly scheduled appointment so we can help you adjust future aligners for your comfort.

Absolutely! Since the aligners only cover the teeth and not the gums, you should be able to wear the aligners even after wisdom tooth extraction, although your gums and jaw may be sore.

If you're unable to wear aligners during the recovery period for whatever reason, simply wear the same aligner that you were wearing right before oral surgery at nighttime for around 10-12 hours. This will act as a retainer during recovery and preserve your progress. Resume full-time wear as soon as you are able, proceeding to the next set of aligners and wearing them for one week each so you can catch up on your treatment timeline.

A refinement is a transition period where we perform a new scan of your mouth or take new impressions so that a new set of trays can be made for you. This is a normal part of Invisalign treatment. Even when you wear your aligners as instructed, we may sometimes find that a tooth is not tracking properly. We like to correct these issues as soon as possible.

The refinement process is much like when your treatment initially began. It'll take 4-6 weeks for the new aligners to be manufactured and shipped to us, so your treatment will effectively be paused. While you wait, you will be wearing the very last set of trays at night only as a retainer to maintain your current progress. These refinement periods are factored into your treatment schedule, so don't worry! Your treatment won't be any longer than planned.

Invisalign is a popular and effective treatment, but that doesn't mean it's right for everyone! If Invisalign is not working for you, we'd be more than happy to help you switch to braces. After all, we want you to be happy with your treatment and results! Please be advised that there is a fee to switch from Invisalign to braces, and your treatment time may increase.

Invisalign Treatment From an Expert Team!

If you're ready to get started on Invisalign and enjoy your best smile, our team at Dream Smiles is here to help! We'll not only tailor your Invisalign treatment for you but will give you everything you need to make your treatment a real success. Schedule your consultation today to find out if it's the right choice for you!


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We encourage you to contact us with any questions or comments you may have. Please call our office or use the quick contact form below.

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