What Are the Dos and Don’ts of Invisalign?

For many people, Invisalign presents an appealing alternative to braces: straighter teeth, a healthier smile, and no mouth full of metal? Sounds too good to be true!

Whether you are already an Invisalign user, or still considering it, there are some things you should know that will help make your experience a positive one. Here are several “dos and don’ts” about Invisalign to keep in mind.

DO make sure you are a candidate.

Invisalign is a great option for some people—but it won’t work for everyone. People with gum disease or cavities usually require treatment before starting Invisalign. And people with dental implants or bridges may not be candidates, either. Plus, if you have a large overbite, or another issue that could only be resolved through surgery, Invisalign probably won’t help you. Still, the only people who can really tell you whether or not you’re a candidate are your dentist and orthodontist, so be sure to ask if you are interested.

DO wear your Invisalign for 22+ hours a day.

Some people may not realize that you have to wear your Invisalign braces almost the whole day for them to be truly effective. They should only be taken out when you eat and drink, and for cleaning and brushing. Otherwise, keep them in.

DO keep things clean.

That includes your teeth and your Invisalign braces. You still need to brush your teeth twice daily (without your braces in). You should also take out your Invisalign braces twice a day for cleaning as well. They are very simple to clean (a soft toothbrush and some water will do the trick) but it’s very important that you are consistent. They also need to be soaked daily in a cleaning solution. You should also always rinse them before putting them back in after eating or drinking.

DON’T store them outside the case.

Besides the obvious risk of the small, clear aligners getting lost or broken, leaving them out in the open invites bacterial growth (never a good thing for something that is supposed to go in your mouth!). Make sure you always store your Invisalign braces in the case they came with.

DON’T eat or drink with them on.

We’ve already mentioned it a few times, but it’s worth saying again: Invisalign retainers are not made to eat or drink in, and they should be removed every time (except when drinking plain water). Eating or drinking with your braces in can cause discoloration and discomfort, and even compromise the effectiveness of the retainers. Plus, food or other particles could get stuck between the retainer and your teeth, creating a breeding ground for bacteria. In short: don’t do it.

DON’T expose your braces to harmful substances.

This includes cleaning materials, since they can cause scratching or discoloration. It also includes heat, which can warp the braces (and consequently, ruin them). Make sure you keep your braces safe and care for them properly. Take care of them, and they’ll take care of your teeth.

Invisalign is a fantastic option for many people, but make sure you know what you are getting into before you sign yourself up for it. Talk to your dentist or orthodontist for a thorough overview of Invisalign, including whether or not you’re a candidate. No matter what you decide, they can help you create the straight, bright smile of your dreams!

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