Invisalign is a great way to straighten your teeth without having to wear metal braces. The Invisalign aligners are made of a special thermoplastic that is worn over your teeth. However, you have the benefit of being able to remove them, unlike traditional braces. They offer a new and convenient way of improving your smile.
You may be wondering whether Invisalign is the right choice for you. If so, one of the first questions you may have is how long you’ll have to wear them. Treatment plans vary from case to case, and your dentist will evaluate how to proceed following your evaluation. Read on to learn about the specifics of the Invisalign treatment.
What Is Invisalign?
An orthodontic treatment option called Invisalign uses a system of clear aligners. These aligner trays gradually move teeth into the desired position. The designs of your Invisalign aligners are computer-generated, based on a 3D scan of the mouth and impressions taken of your teeth.
Each set of the aligner is worn for two weeks and then replaced with the next in the series. Invisalign is an alternative to metal braces, which use fixed metal wires to “pull” teeth into alignment. Dental conditions that make you a candidate for this type of dental treatment include issues with spacing and crowding. It can also help with mild to moderate bite problems, but more complex dental concerns may require a different orthodontic treatment.
Invisalign differs from ordinary metal braces in several aspects. Firstly, the material used is a special thermoplastic material that is moulded in such a way as to move your teeth into position gently. As previously mentioned, there is a series of aligners that you go through as the treatment progresses. Each aligner will make small adjustments to your teeth, much like how dentists tighten the metal wires of braces over time.
Many users claim that Invisalign is more convenient than traditional braces. The period between follow-up appointments is longer, and you can switch to a new aligner at home after the recommended period. However, one of the biggest advantages Invisalign offers is the ability to take off your aligners for some time every day. Your oral hygiene is essential to keeping your teeth healthy. You should brush your teeth and floss while giving your teeth time to rest from the realignment. However, it is very important to follow your dentist’s recommendations on how long you should wear your aligners.
How Long Do You Need to Wear an Invisalign aligner?
On average, Invisalign should be worn between 20 to 22 hours a day. Ideally, they should only be removed when you eat or drink and brush or floss your teeth. You should avoid eating while wearing your Invisalign because it can damage or stain the aligner. The thermoplastic reacts to heat, so drinking a hot beverage or soaking it in hot water can cause the aligner to warp. If this happens, you will then need to get a replacement from your dentist.
There is some variation between the actual number of hours you’ll be asked to wear your aligners, so it’s better to consult your dentist on the recommended daily wear time. What is true for all treatments is that you will be wearing them for the majority of the day.
Can You Sleep with Invisalign?
As your Invisalign aligners need to be worn for most of the day, you will need to sleep with them. Very few patients report issues regarding sleeping while wearing their aligners.
It is recommended that you sleep with your head elevated and facing upward. A common report among patients is that they salivate or drool more when wearing their Invisalign to bed. You may also opt to have a glass of water nearby if your throat starts to feel dry at night.
Although it may feel odd initially, you will soon adapt to sleeping with them. If discomfort arises and persists, you should inform your dentist to see what solutions they can recommend.
Is It Okay to Take out The Invisalign Aligners for A Day?
The main advantage of removing your Invisalign aligners is their biggest downfall when factoring in human error. You can lose your orthodontic progress if you forget to wear your aligners after taking them out. Your teeth will slowly shift back to their original positions, prolonging your entire treatment time. Other effects of forgetting to wear your Invisalign include:
- Discomfort when trying on your aligners
If your teeth have moved from their intended positions, you will experience discomfort when returning to your current set of aligners. It will feel very similar to when you have to put them on initially. Your teeth will have to readjust to the moulds.
- Needing to return to a previous set of aligners
If the movement is too great, your current aligners may be too uncomfortable to wear. Switching to an older set of aligners will help get you back on track for your treatment. In a worst-case scenario, you may need to return to your dentist for another consultation and an entirely new set of aligners.
How Quickly Do Teeth Move with Invisalign?
The usual timeline for Invisalign treatment spans six months to one year, depending on the condition of one’s teeth. Within that timeframe, you will typically change aligner trays every one to two weeks, depending on how your teeth respond to the treatment. More complex cases may require prolonged use of an aligner tray for up to a month to prevent tooth shifting.
Some patients report that their aligners can feel loose before the recommended switch date. We do not advise you to switch out your aligners early. This is because your teeth will still be adjusting to the new position. Give them time to acclimate and rest before introducing the next aligner.
It’s important to note that each patient responds differently to a treatment. Some can observe improvements as earlier as two weeks, while others take several months to see noticeable changes. Your dentist will estimate your treatment duration to help prepare you for the changes to expect.
Do I Have to Wear Retainers After Invisalign?
After any orthodontic treatment, it is important to wear a retainer to keep your teeth in alignment. Without a retainer, your teeth can gradually return to their previous position. Invisalign is a great way to achieve straight teeth, but it is important to follow up with a retainer to keep your teeth looking their best.
During the first three to six months following your Invisalign treatment, you will need to wear your retainers for most of the day to maintain the final position of your teeth. Typically, 22-hour daily wear is recommended, so it is no different from your Invisalign aligners. After around six months following your treatment, your dentist will evaluate whether your teeth are securely positioned. Bear in mind that the aftercare of your treatment will determine if you can maintain the desired results.
Around a year or so after you complete your Invisalign treatment, you will be due for another dental evaluation. Daily wear recommendations can shift to just wearing them at night when you sleep. Needless to say, you will still have to wear retainers for the rest of your life, but the duration and frequency may decline over time.
If you start to notice your teeth shifting, you may need to wear aligners again in order to reposition them temporarily. Wearing a retainer after Invisalign treatment is essential in order to maintain the results of your treatment.
Are Invisalign Aligners Painful?
Even though the treatment with the Invisalign aligners is not painful, some patients experience discomfort when wearing them for the first time. This is because the aligners exert pressure on the teeth to move them into the correct position. The discomfort is not unlike that experienced by people who first get braces or when they have them tightened. However, this initial discomfort fades quickly as the teeth adjust to the presence of the aligners. The general consensus is that Invisalign is a convenient and comfortable method for straightening your teeth.
With all the innovations in orthodontic care, Invisalign stands out due to its convenience and inconspicuous appearance. The effectiveness of the treatment relies heavily on the patient and how they adhere to their dentist’s instructions. If you’re considering Invisalign treatment, stick to the guidelines so you can be reassured that you’ll get the results you want in the shortest possible time. Our dentists at Ashburton Dental Centre are experienced with Invisalign and will help guide you through the treatment to get your brand-new smile. Ask us about Invisalign today by calling (08) 9516-1003.
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