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Convenience is one of the biggest advantages for Invisalign wearers. Patients love the flexibility and freedom of removing their clear aligners for short periods of time, whether for a special event, during meals or while brushing and flossing.

Too work effectively, Invisalign requires self-discipline and patient compliance. Those who wear their aligners for less than 22 hours a day will see much slower results, and while a couple of hours here or there won’t derail your progress, forgetting to wear them for a week can have more serious consequences. What happens if for one reason or another, you don’t wear your Invisalign aligners as prescribed? The short answer is they may feel very uncomfortable or not fit at all when you try to put them back in. Why? Because the custom trays must be worn diligently for 22-23 hours a day in order to straighten your smile. This necessitates a certain level of dedication, no matter how good your intentions.

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Didn’t wear your Invisalign trays?

Younger patients may find it too tempting and too easy to leave their Invisalign trays out for longer than the allowed time. Some may think it’s perfectly okay to take a “small break” from their Invisalign treatment without negative repercussions. In reality, inconsistent use of Invisalign will result in some degree of relapse, as the teeth slowly begin to shift back into their old position. Every patient is different, and the degree of tooth movement will vary from one person to the next, but the good news there are a few simple methods for getting your smile makeover back on track.

How to Put Invisalign Back in if You Haven’t Worn Them for a Long Time

Inserting your Invisalign tray may be difficult after a week’s vacation. Remember that the custom aligners are designed to provide a seamless fit. Never force the aligner into the mouth. First, try taking the path of least resistance. Using a mirror, insert the aligner on one side of the mouth. If it pops in easily and there is no discomfort, you can wiggle the other side into place. This process may involve some trial and error, but if you experience discomfort or have a lot of difficulty getting the aligner over your teeth, it’s time to go to Plan B.

Try the previous Invisalign tray

When it’s too painful or impossible to insert the original tray, try the previous aligner. In most instances this older tray will fit more comfortably and allow you to reboot the orthodontic process. This could take a couple of weeks as the teeth are moved back into a correct position.

Consult your dentist

In the meantime, make an appointment with your Invisalign provider to ensure your treatment plan is on-track and you don’t need a mid-course adjustment. Failing to abide by Invisalign rules for aligner usage can delay your progress, and a week’s holiday from aligners can easily set you back a full month.

The best plan of action, and smartest way to protect your investment in a straighter, more beautiful smile is to follow your dentist’s guidelines and keep the Invisalign trays in for 22 hours a day.

There is no doubt that Invisalign and Invisalign Teen are some of the most patient-friendly orthodontic treatments available, but you have to be committed to achieve the best results.

Book your Invisalign consult

Dr. Nick and Dr. Elliot are trusted Invisalign providers in Huntington, NY and Rocky Point. Schedule a free one-on-one consult today to learn more about this revolutionary treatment. We now have two convenient office locations to better serve residents in need of an experienced Suffolk County cosmetic dentist.

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Eagan, MN – Orthodontic patients everywhere have experienced the huge advantages that come with undergoing Invisalign treatment. The aligners are removable, clear and comfortable, and patients and orthodontists rave about them. But because they are removable, there is a chance patients can forget to wear them. So what happens then?

“It is possible to experience a relapse in the alignment of your teeth if you forget to wear your aligner for a period of time,” says your Minnesota orthodontist. “Each series of aligners has been custom crafted to guide your teeth into their ideal locations, and are calibrated based on proper wear. If you forget to wear your aligner, or make the choice to not wear it as prescribed, you might notice your aligner doesn’t fit correctly when you try to wear it again.”

And that is because the teeth will have drifted back to their previous locations. During orthodontic treatment, whether you choose Invisalign or another form of braces, your teeth are loosened from their old positions as they are guided into their new ones. The tissues that hold the teeth in place are elastic, and if they aren’t used to the new locations, they’ll bounce back to bring the teeth to their old place.

To work effectively, orthodontic treatment has to loosen your teeth so they can shift into their proper places. Some people who have taken their aligners off, even for just a short period of time, say when they put it back on, it feels tighter – even just an hour or two of being off.

While not wearing your aligner for only a couple of hours won’t be enough to throw your treatment off track, forgetting to wear it for several hours every day will be. And throw in the pressure you put on your teeth each day, in the form of eating, clenching and grinding, and you’ve created an environment perfect for teeth to relapse.

Aligners should be worn a minimum of 22 hours a day, and should only be removed to brush and floss, and to eat and drink. However, because they are removable, some patients may think this means they can take them out for prom, or their big party, or just because they want to.

“When patients are deciding if Invisalign is right for them, one of the things I stress to them is proper aligner wear,” says Dr. Eisenhuth. “For some patients, especially younger ones, it may be harder to remember to wear them as prescribed. In those cases, Invisalign may not be right for them.”

Some patients may experience a mouth injury or other situation that may make wearing the aligner painful until the injury heals. In this case, it is important to speak with your orthodontist as soon as possible so she can craft a plan that can take the injury into account, hopefully without setting your treatment back too far.

If you are worried you may have experienced a relapse, schedule an appointment with Dr. Eisenhuth right away to ensure your treatment can stay on track. By following all of your orthodontist’s recommendations, you can have a beautifully straight smile in no time.

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How to Straighten Teeth Without Braces

A beautiful smile and straight teeth are the dream of every teenager, as well as many adults. Wearing braces isn’t the only way to achieve this. Here’s how to straighten teeth without braces, depending on your specific condition.

Problems Correctable without Braces

If you have any of these conditions, you may be a candidate for orthodontic treatment that doesn’t require you to wear braces:

  • Limited overcrowding. If your teeth are only slightly crooked due to minor overcrowding, you may be able to resolve this using retainers.
  • Malocclusion. Correcting a bite out of alignment often requires appliances to adjust to the position of your jaw.
  • Underdeveloped palate or narrow the upper jaw. Widening your palate with the help of expanders will create the space you need for your teeth to move into their correct positions.

Your orthodontic can ascertain how to straighten your teeth without braces depending on your orthodonic problems. Whichever method you eventually choose, be sure to maintain strict dental hygiene during treatment to ensure that your teeth remain healthy and strong.

Retainers

Fixed retainers, such as bonded lingual retainers, are attached with dental cement to the inner surface of the teeth to prevent them from shifting over time, which helps correct the patient’s bite and straighten teeth. A fixed retainer is a good long-term solution, but unfortunately you can’t remove it yourself for relief or repair.

Hawley retainers are removable retainers made from metal wires and acrylic formed to the shape of your mouth based on a dental impression. The retainers can be made for the upper and lower arches of the mouth to brace and straighten teeth.

Removable retainers are ideal for those trying to correct their smile’s appearance, because you can remove them for special events or occasional relief. But they’re easy to lose so it’s not uncommon for little ones to leave retainers on lunch trays – and expensive to replace.

Appliances

Devices such as the Herbst appliance, explains Rasch Orthodontics, straighten teeth by correcting jaw imperfections. The Herbst appliance allows the lower jaw to develop in a forward direction which will correct the bite. This enables the upper and lower jaw to meet, which is often what is needed to achieve straight, perfect teeth. This appliance has a metal extension that attaches to the molars to connect the upper and lower jaws. Patients wear this type of appliance for one year, during which time the orthodontist gradually shifts the lower jaw into the correct position.

Headgear is another appliance used to straighten teeth without braces. Protruding upper teeth in children may mean an excessive overbite, which can be corrected with headgear. The appliance places pressure against the child’s upper teeth and jaw, which moves both the jaw and teeth into position simultaneously. Patients wear the headgear for a specific number of hours daily to see improvements.

The main disadvantage of these appliances is that they’re not very discrete and can take time to allow sufficient results in correcting malocclusions.

Palatal Expanders

If your child’s mouth is too small for all the future adult teeth, the orthodontist may insert a palatal expander to widen the arch of the upper teeth. This creates space for the teeth to move naturally into their correct positions. The expander is fastened to the upper molars using dental cement. The orthodontist uses a special key to turn a screw in the center, placing gradual pressure on the left and right halves of the upper jaw. This causes extra bone to grow between the two halves, increasing the width of the mouth so the teeth can shift into position. Expanders are mostly invisible, but patients can experience minimal discomfort each time it’s adjusted.

Braces have come a long way in the last several years, but some oral conditions may not need them at all. Ask your dentist for a recommendation on how to straighten teeth without braces.

1. Make a good first impression.

First, we make a 3D image of your teeth to see exactly what’s going on and align your smile. There are 2 easy ways to make a 3D image: You can visit a SmileShop for a scan of your smile, or we can build it from the impressions you take using our at-home impression kit. Your 3D smile is reviewed by a licensed dentist or orthodontist who will guide your new smile from beginning to end.

2. Straighten your teeth without braces.

Next, we’ll send you a preview of your new smile showing how your smile will transform and then begin production of your invisible aligners, as unique to you as a fingerprint. Then we send you aligners that guide your teeth into a smile you’ll love. Your doctor will check in with you every 90 days through your customer account and monitor your progress remotely. We’ll also send you bright on™, our premium teeth whitening, so you can show off those pearly whites.

3. Maintain your new smile with retainers.

After periodically checking in with your doctor and completing treatment, you can purchase a set of retainers. Wear them at night to keep your new smile in place. And you can order touch-up whitening treatments at any time.

I was so insecure about my teeth that I had stopped smiling—even in the mirror. The way my canines poked forward made me look like a rodent. When a kid at my school called me a mole rat, I knew I had to make a change. But all my friends were finally getting their braces off, so I didn’t want to first be getting a mouth full of metal. That’s when I learned about SmileDirectClub.

SmileDirectClub uses clear, nearly invisible aligners (like retainers) that gently adjust your teeth over time. It’s a lot like Invisalign, which you may have heard of, but it’s up to 60 percent cheaper: $1,895 for a one-time payment (or $2,290 paid in monthly installments) vs. $3,400 to $7,100 for Invisalign and $3,000 to $7,500 for traditional braces. If your insurance covers a portion of the plan and you’re able to take advantage of flexible spending, you could end up paying as little as $750 total. SmileDirectClub also doesn’t require any attachments to the teeth (as both braces and Invisalign do), and you’ll never have to see a dentist or orthodontist—not even once.

To kick off the teeth-straightening with SmileDirectClub, you can either use an at-home impression kit or visit one of the company’s 95 “SmileShops” around the country to have a 3D scan made of your mouth. It was actually really cool to have this done. As a technician moved a scanning device around my teeth, I could see an image of the aligners taking shape on a screen. There was zero discomfort and it was over in 10 minutes. Those scans went to an orthodontist licensed in my state who determined that I was a good candidate for aligners—the system isn’t designed for extreme dental makeovers—and then developed a treatment plan just for me. A month later, I received a box with 17 sets of aligners, numbered in order, to be worn for two weeks at a time. (Plus a bonus whitening kit—score! Find out more about dentist-recommended products to whiten your teeth.)

From there it got a little harder. Wearing the aligners—or “smilers,” as the company calls them—was pretty painful, especially for the first 24 hours of each new set. And a few times my gums got irritated and I got tiny cuts on the tip of my tongue. Obviously, I had to remove the aligners to eat—and nearly lost them in napkins more than a few times. I never forgot to change sets, though, because the company sends reminder texts when it’s time to switch.

I actually looked forward to these texts because it meant I was another step closer to a confident smile. I was also careful to follow these golden rules for white, healthy teeth.

While I had a virtually problem-free experience, many dental experts warn of the potential pitfalls of straightening your teeth this way. “It’s very important to have a comprehensive consult with a skilled dentist to assess your oral health beforehand, including X-rays to determine bone and gum health and check for cavities,” says Jennifer Jablow, DDS, a cosmetic dentist in New York City. “If the mouth isn’t healthy, moving the teeth can actually make the situation worse.” SmileDirectClub has also been the target of a lawsuit in Georgia over whether its use of digital scanners constitutes “the practice of dentistry,” and the American Dental Association has filed an official complaint with the FDA over what they consider the risks of using SmileDirectClub‘s products.

Eight months later (a little longer than the average six-month treatment) my teeth are visibly straighter. They’re not Hollywood perfect, but for the first time in years, I’m happy to smile with my mouth open. Next, check out the things your orthodontist won’t tell you—but you’ll want to know.

How to Speed Up the Invisalign Process?

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If you have chosen to get Invisalign or you are still trying to decide between Invisalign and traditional braces, you might be wondering if there are ways to speed up the Invisalign process. There are! Not only can you improve the efficacy of your treatment by following the instructions of your orthodontist, there are actually treatments that will speed up the Invisalign process. Here’s what you can do to shorten the length of your treatment as much as possible:

1. Use AcceleDent.

One of the best ways to speed up the Invisalign process is by using AcceleDent. It is a system that actually helps your teeth move more efficiently, so you can switch into the next set of aligners faster, and therefore, finish your entire treatment at a much faster pace. Without AcceleDent, your teeth move simply because the aligners are putting pressure on them to move. With AcceleDent, micro pulses are distributed into the teeth, stimulating blood flow, and improving the speed at which the jawbones remodels. Your teeth move faster, sometimes up to 50% faster.

2. Wear your aligners for at least twenty-two hours every day.

When patients complain that their treatment is taking longer than they expected it to take, it is usually because they have not been wearing their aligners as frequently as they are supposed to be wearing their aligners. Most orthodontists recommend that you should wear the trays for at least twenty-two hours a day. The other two hours should give you plenty of time to eat, drink, and clean your teeth. In some situations, patients cannot wear their aligners for this length of time every single day, but for those who want their treatment to go as quickly as possible, this is one of the best ways.

3. Brush your teeth before putting your aligners back in.

While having dirty teeth is not necessarily going to slow down your treatment, having to have cavities drilled and filled or other dental work done over the course of your treatment is probably going to slow down that treatment. The bacteria and saliva in your mouth can also start to break down your aligners and if they are not regularly cleaned, using the right technique, they may become more flexible and less capable of effectively moving your teeth. Before your put your aligners back in after eating, be sure to clean your teeth.

4. Clean your aligners.

Some patients assume that they can simply use toothpaste and a toothbrush to clean their aligners, just like they use toothpaste and a toothbrush to clean their teeth. Using toothpaste can actually damage your aligners, creating tiny little scratches in them where bacteria can hide. While this might not seem like that big of a deal, especially because you are going to be switching out your aligners in the next two weeks, before that bacteria will really have a chance to break down the material of the tray, this type of damage can actually make your aligners less effective.

5. Get attachments if Dr. Gemmi or Dr. Middleberg recommends it.

When Invisalign was first introduced, it was really only effective for very minor issues. Today, the system has improved so that it can help a wide variety of people, with a wide variety of issues. Drs. Gemmi and Middleberg might recommend getting an attachment for your aligners. These are called “buttons” and they can help to speed up your treatment by putting more pressure on a specific tooth or on a range of teeth, to help move that tooth or those teeth at a faster pace. If you want straighter teeth, this is one of the best system besides AcceleDent for doing just that.

6. Be gentle with your aligners.

Over time, you might start to forget that you are even wearing aligners. This is a very common issue we see with our patients. They are diligent about wearing their aligners and become so used to wearing them that they forget that they even have aligners on their teeth. This may lead to the patient trying to eat while wearing aligners, or drinking something sugary while wearing the aligners, etc., etc. These types of actions can damage your Invisalign.

Sometimes, we will also find out that a patient took their aligners out to eat, wrapped them in a paper towel, put them in her bag, and when they removed them later, found that they were cracked or snapped in half. It is very important to be careful with your aligners. If you have to wait at all to get a replacement, this will delay your treatment. If you want to speed up the Invisalign process, you will want to be as careful with your aligners as possible.

7. Talk to your orthodontist.

If you are concerned that your treatment is not going as quickly as you want it to go, one of the best options for finding ways to speed up the Invisalign process is to talk to Dr. Gemmi or Dr. Middleberg. While the options on this list might be ideal for you, we will not know until we evaluate your case and determine whether or not you are a good candidate for something like AcceleDent, or whether improvements can be made to your daily habits that will make your treatment more effective.

If you are looking to speed up the Invisalign process, you are not alone! Some people still choose traditional braces over Invisalign because this treatment is often faster. With these options, however, you could see your Invisalign treatment significantly sped up.

To choose whom to go to, be sure to pick the person with the most experience and the most Invisalign cases a year. Luckily, Invisalign has created several categories of providers to give patients this information.

First, you have the Preferred provider, who treats at least 10 cases per year. Then, you have the Premier provider, who has treated at least 50 cases total and at least 25 cases every six months. Finally, you have the Premier Elite provider, who has treated at least 300 cases total and treats 50 cases every six months.

Contrary to popular belief, there are no continuing education requirements for any of these designations; the more cases a provider has treated, the more experience s/he will have.

You can find a list of these providers at Invisalign’s website. You could also ask for references from actual patients before making your decision, and even check our guide how to find an awesome dentist.

During the Appointment

An appointment to get Invisalign will first start with conventional impressions or digital scans of your teeth. The scanners are quite expensive, so some dentists may send you off to a lab instead of doing it in their office. Be aware: the process of getting conventional impressions with putty can be uncomfortable, and you might gag a bit. Remember to breathe through your nose, breathe slowly, and distract yourself with a podcast, song, or video on your phone.

The impressions or scans are then sent to Invisalign, where a 3D model of your teeth as they are and your teeth as your service provider hopes they will be is made. Once you and your dentist have okayed the model, the aligners are made and sent to your dentist’s office, so you can begin using them.

When you’re at the appointment, there are a few things that you should remember to ask your dentist.

1. Ask to see the ClinCheck.

The Invisalign ClinCheck is a 3D simulation video of your projected tooth movement and clinical result, giving you an approximate look of what your teeth will look like after the treatment is over. It also gives you an appreciation for how clinically precise this treatment is and it’s incredibly motivating!

While some dentists don’t want you to see this, as they think it complicates the treatment planning process, I always recommend that you ask to see it so that you have a part in the final outcome. Most dentists know what to do, but they can’t read your mind when it comes to your needs, so it’s best to get this hashed out before the aligners are manufactured (and before you shell out for them!).

Also, ask your dentist if the first set of liners will complete your case and how likely will it be that you will need a refinement, which will involve taking more impressions and ordering a new set of liners. This should be included in a full Invisalign treatment until the case is fully completed.

2. Ask how long the treatment will be.

The length of your alignment treatment will be based entirely on how complex your case is. Most cases are between 10 to 24 months, with the patient switching out aligners every two weeks. The average treatment takes just over a year.

By asking to see ClinCheck, you will get an easy glimpse of how long your treatment plan will be based on how many aligners you will need.

3. Ask how much a replacement will be.

Things happen, and sometimes an aligner gets lost or even broken. While the latter is a very uncommon situation, if you do find yourself with a broken aligner, don’t worry: Invisalign has a warranty program to protect against this.

A loss is a bit of a different story. If you lose an aligner, the replacement will cost between $75 and $300 depending on your dentist, so be sure to ask him or her up front how much a replacement will be, should you find yourself in that situation. They can be easy to lose, especially in the first few weeks before taking your aligners in and out becomes routine.

That said, depending on how long you were wearing the aligner when you lost it, you might be able to move up to the next week’s aligner instead of replacing the old one.

4. Ask what to expect after you go home.

It’s important to have realistic expectations when it comes to Invisalign. Despite the name of the product, Invisalign is actually not completely invisible. It’s pretty easy to tell from a conversational distance if someone is wearing these aligners or not. However, compared to braces, Invisalign is much less noticeable—and it all depends on the person you’re talking to. I had a patient who underwent treatment with Invisalign, and not until a year had passed did she tell her husband, who hadn’t noticed until she mentioned it!

Aside from what they look like, here are a few things you can expect once you get your new Invisalign aligners home.

How often do I wear my aligners?

Unlike braces, aligners can be removed, but for the best results, it’s recommended that you wear the aligners for at least 20 hours a day—giving you four hours a day of freedom!

While 20 hours per day is the recommended duration—and is backed by Invisalign’s research—some of my patients have done well at 18 hours a day, especially if the case does not involve rotations. I’ve even had patients who only wear them at night (albeit for four weeks per aligner instead of two) and got the desired results.

Also, Invisalign is now saying that you can speed up your treatment by wearing each aligner for one week (instead of two) but you have to wear the aligners for 22 hours each day, instead of 20.

Do bear in mind that the older you get, the longer you will likely need to wear them. A teen may be able to get away with fewer hours of wear, but seniors will need to wear them for the full 20 hours a day to see effects, since as we get older, the ability to remodel bone (which is the mechanism of how teeth are moved and realigned in the first place) is decreased.

Be sure to check with your dentist to ensure that your teeth are moving as they should be, and makes adjustments as needed to how long you are wearing them and what your actual schedule should be—and, above all, don’t try to cheat the system! Invisalign knows what they’re talking about, and you’re not doing yourself any favors by wearing your aligners for less than the prescribed 20 hours a day.

What does Invisalign feel like?

If you had friends with braces growing up, you may have heard about the pain and discomfort that comes with tooth realignment. Thankfully, Invisalign is way less painful than braces. Yes, there will be some pain and discomfort with Invisalign, but it’s more of a soreness rather than the cut-up raw tongue and sharp brackets that traditional braces have (especially if you don’t mess with the aligners when they’re in your mouth – it’s tempting, but also a recipe for a sore tongue!).

Invisalign also causes less gum inflammation than braces, which can be uncomfortable when brushing, and has never been known to cause root resorption (when part or all of the tooth structure is lost), which is something that braces do quite often and that can lead to loss of teeth.

Like anything else, it is wise to give yourself time to become accustomed to the liners prior to starting treatment. I suggest to my patients to start Invisalign on a Friday evening so that by Monday morning they are used to the feeling of the liners and have gotten the hang of taking them in and out of their mouth.

How do I care for my aligners?

There are lots of products on the market that claim to keep your aligners clean, but I find that the simplest solution is the best one: whenever I’m not wearing them, I keep them wet by placing them in a container with soft water and baking soda ( for how I keep them clean, with a video). When the aligners are not in your mouth, do not let them dry out! Always keep them soaking in water, preferably distilled. Letting them dry out can allow plaque to build up on them, which is never good.

Feel free to give your liners an occasional scrub with your toothbrush but do not scrub your liners with toothpaste as this will dull the finish of the liners, making them less invisible and making your teeth appear less white. The same goes for your Invisalign retainer, which you get after completing treatment.

How often do I change aligners?

Invisalign aligners are changed every two weeks. There is a product on the market that claims to reduce that time to a week, but the clinical data supporting this product is not convincing to me.

Aligners can move your teeth the .25mm they are meant to in the first three days, but this is primarily tooth ligament movement, not bone movement. Bone movement is what keeps the tooth in its new position and this requires a full two weeks as the tooth has to be held in the new position long enough that bone cells fill into place and hold the position before the next aligner can be used.

As the case progresses, the “held” position is more difficult to maintain, and the chance of relapse (reverse movement) increases, so it’s even more important to wear your aligners for the proper amount of time towards the end of your treatment protocol.

After Invisalign

After the initial Invisalign period, your dentist may prescribe a “refinement period” to make additional adjustments to your teeth. This will involve ordering more aligners to complete the case.

After your teeth are aligned as planned, you’ll need to wear a retainer to keep them that way. Luckily, as with traditional braces, you only need to wear your retainer at night.

How long will I have to wear my retainer?

So many people ask this question—and my answer is always, “Forever!”

It’s possible that after wearing your retainer for a few years, you may be able to maintain retention. However, as we age, our bites and teeth shift. Because of this, it is advantageous to wear your retainer for the rest of your life. This allows you to preserve the ideal result that you worked so hard to achieve for the rest of your life.

How often will I need to replace the retainer?

The Invisalign retainer is quite durable and will last much longer than a normal aligner. Most retainers last between five and ten years, especially if you ask your dentist to show you how to remove it properly during your appointment.
How much will the retainer cost to replace?

Replacing the retainer usually costs somewhere between $75 and $300, depending on your dentist. The good news is that you won’t need to take an impression for a replacement retainer—the digital impression will still be on record at Invisalign, so they can send a replacement to your dentist easily.

Can Invisalign address my bite?

Contrary to what many naysayers would have you believe, Invisalign actually does address your bite – something that traditional braces often don’t. The mere act of wearing aligners can help improve symptoms related to TMD/TMJ, which is one side effect of an improper bite.

Aligners can act as a TMJ splint that can equalize or take away any occlusal interferences and help with any muscle pain associated with these problems.

Will Invisalign fix a diastema, underbite, overbite, crossbite, midline, or open bite?

Most likely, yes. Over the years, Invisalign has become a very sophisticated product, and it can address many common orthodontic issues—as long as the dentist with whom you are working is familiar with the problem and knows that it is something you would like to fix.

The only case in which conventional braces may be a better choice than Invisalign is if you’re facing a skeletal issue.

What if I forgot to change my aligners?

If you forgot to change your aligners (or even if you forgot your new aligner at home, and you’re now on vacation), it’s no big deal. Change them when you remember or when you get home. A case can be slowed down without any bad consequences (though it can’t be sped up, so don’t try to change out your aligners before the two weeks are up!)

Can I eat and kiss with Invisalign?

You have four precious hours during which you can remove your aligners—so what you choose to do during this time is up to you, of course!

Kissing is technically not a problem with Invisalign, assuming that your partner doesn’t mind the aligners, but you can also take them out and pop them back in later if you need to.

Eating, on the other hand, is much easier without Invisalign, as the sharpness of your teeth is dulled by the aligners. Just be sure that if you take the aligners out before you eat, you clean your teeth thoroughly before putting them back in. You don’t want to trap food underneath the aligners for too long.

Drinking with the aligners is absolutely fine, even hot beverages like tea and coffee – despite what some naysayers would have you believe. The worst case scenario is a bit of staining on one of your aligners, but since you’re changing them out every two weeks, that’s not the end of the world.

Will my brushing need to be different?

Brushing and flossing will change in only one regard—you may have to do it more often. Other than that, you should have no trouble. You might even find that your daily brushing and flossing ritual gets easier as your teeth come into better alignment. Most people do a better job of cleaning their teeth while they are using aligners than before.

Can I whiten my teeth with aligners?

Absolutely! This may be the best time to whiten your teeth, as Invisalign aligners double as the best whitening trays on the market. Due to the digital impression of your teeth used to make the aligners, they are more precise than anything else you can find, and they safely maintain a nice thin layer of whitening gel only against your teeth.

Is there an age requirement for Invisalign?

No—pretty much anyone can use Invisalign successfully.
Teenagers can start using Invisalign at age 12 with the Teen Align program, and I’ve even successfully treated senior citizens with Invisalign.

Is Invisalign safe for pregnant women?

Yes! In fact, pregnant women secrete hormones that help to loosen ligaments, which surround teeth, so pregnancy can actually help women to reap the benefits of Invisalign even more quickly.

Could I be allergic to the trays?

I have never met a patient that has been allergic to a tray, however, some reports show that a very rare allergy to Invisalign trays has been experienced by some patients. Invisalign has a 100% refund policy if you have this problem.

What if I have missing teeth?

Even if you have missing teeth or will be having teeth extracted, Invisalign can still be a viable option. In fact, you may want to have the alignment done before implants or crowns are placed, as it allows the restoration of the dentition to be more ideally placed.

That said, be sure to speak to your dentist about this or any other dental work you envision getting done in the future before starting invisalign, so that you can work together to come up with the ideal treatment plan.

Will Invisalign affect my ability to pronounce words?

It’s very common for people to lisp when they first start wearing Invisalign. But your body is smart: your brain will automatically make adjustments to your tongue placement to account for the lisp and will correct this after two or three days. If you’re nervous about lisping at work, I usually recommend that patients start wearing their aligners on Friday evening, so that they have the whole weekend to get used to them, and by Monday, they’re up to speed. That said, if you’re giving a particularly important presentation or are jumping on a crucial conference call, you can always take them out for a few minutes and pop them back in when you’re done.

Can I do just the bottom or just the top?

No. It’s impossible not to treat the opposing dentition if you are treating the other opposing arch. The two arches have to meet, and both always have to be treated in unison.

Will Invisalign make my breath smell?

Invisalign can make your breath smell a bit, mainly because saliva tends to collect in the aligners, and because the aligners also tend to make your mouth dry out. Be vigilant about brushing your teeth every meal, and try to sip water fairly consistently to keep your mouth hydrated to avoid this problem.

If this is a problem, brush your aligners with your toothbrush (no toothpaste) and soak in my recommended solution.

How often do I have to see my Invisalign provider?

Once you’ve received your aligners, you’ll need to make appointments about every four to six weeks to ensure that treatment is going as planned and to ask any questions you may have. You will also receive your next set of Invisalign aligners at this point.

That’s everything you should know before getting Invisalign!

Dr. Mark Burhenne

Got more questions about Invisalign? Ask me a question!

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Invisalign uses powerful technology, including computer modeling and computer-assisted manufacturing, to gradually and precisely align your teeth. However, as with all orthodontic treatment, the patient plays a key role in the process. Your level of commitment to your treatment can affect the quality and timeliness of your results. Having treated over 5000 Invisalign patients over the last 15 years, we would like to share 6 essential tips to help you maximize the value of your investment and get the best results from your Invisalign treatment.

1) Wear your aligners full time

With any good habit, it takes time to adopt and adjust to changes in your daily routine. Fortunately, many of our patients tell us that after only a week or two of full-time wear, they are actually more comfortable with the aligners in than out. Full-time wear means wearing your aligners for at least 22 hours a day. You should only remove them for a total of 2 hours per day to eat, drink, and brush your teeth. You will know your teeth movements are progressing well when each new set of aligners fits comfortably on your teeth. In contrast, lack of full-time wear can cause each aligner to fit progressively worse. This will create an eventual need to take new impressions or scans and remake the aligners. This will lengthen your treatment time so we strongly encourage you to be diligent about wearing your aligners.

2) Chomp down on “chewies”

The best results from your Invisalign treatment are obtained when your teeth fit perfectly in each aligner before you move on to the next. You know your aligners are not fitting well (and are therefore unable to work effectively) when there are air gaps between your teeth and the aligner. If you notice these gaps, we recommend using “chewies,” which are small cylindrical cushions made of a plastic-like material called Styrene Copolymer. By biting down on chewies a few times a day for 5-10 minutes at a time, you will help seat the aligner, which means the aligner fits tightly against your teeth. Using chewies regularly will increase the likelihood that you will finish treatment on time.

3) Embrace your attachments

Invisalign treatment plans are composed of more than just the aligners. To maximize the effectiveness of the aligners, we strategically place attachments on specific teeth. Attachments are small tooth-colored dots of white filling material called dental bonding. Since aligners are removable, they can slip when trying to make certain movements. In these situations, attachments are used as an anchor to help the aligners get a better grip on your teeth. How visible your attachments are depends on where they are placed and how well the bonding color matches the shade of your teeth. In general though, they are not easily seen.

4) Understand the importance of IPR

Depending on the current arrangement of your teeth and the movement needed to create your perfect smile, we may need to perform interproximal reduction (IPR), which is gentle sanding in between teeth to create more space. The computer modeling tool we use identifies where we need more space for alignment or for the occlusion (bite). It also tells us exactly how much is needed. You can rest assured that IPR is a very safe procedure that gives your teeth the room they need to move into their ideal positions.

5) Consider using PROPEL

The PROPEL system is a 5 minute in-office procedure that makes a small, virtually painless puncture in the bone where accelerated tooth movement is desired. With PROPEL, treatment time can be reduced up to 60%. Orthodontic technology has historically focused on the mechanical systems that put gentle, yet precise forces on teeth to create desired tooth alignment. In contrast, the PROPEL system focuses on the biological response and is similar to acupuncture for your teeth.

6) Wear your retainer

You’ve invested a lot of time and energy into Invisalign so maintaining your perfect smile is an important life-long commitment to make once your treatment is complete. The best way to do this is by wearing your retainer. Patients who don’t use their retainers on a regular basis often experience orthodontic relapse, a phenomenon where teeth slowly shift back to their original positions. By wearing retainers, the structures supporting newly aligned teeth have the time they need to settle into place. Immediately after you have finished your Invisalign treatment, we recommend wearing your retainer constantly. Once your teeth have stabilized, you can reduce your retainer wear to nightly, then just once or twice a week.

If you’re interested in Invisalign treatment or want additional advice from our team of experts, contact us to talk through your needs.

How Long Is Invisalign Treatment?

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How Long Does Invisalign Treatment Take?

How long you will need your Invisalign treatment depends on a number of factors, including how often you wear your aligners and how complex your case is.

On average, most orthodontists believe that teenagers will need Invisalign for about a year, while adults may need it for up to two years. There is no perfect formula for determining how long a patient will need treatment, as every patient has their own unique tooth alignment that will be a factor. Contact us to setup your complimentary invisalign consultation.

As a rule of thumb, teenagers do not have to wear their aligners as long as adults do, simply because their teeth are easier to move and are more responsive to the alignments made by the invisalign treatments. Adults, on the other hand, usually have more complex cases and less responsive teeth and jaws, so their treatments tend to take longer.

What Lengthens Invisalign Treatment?

There are many factors that affect how long your treatment will be. Specifically there are quite a few things that will lengthen your treatment time, even beyond your orthodontist’s initial estimate. For example, if you do not wear your aligners for the prescribed twenty to twenty-two hours a day, this can significantly prolong your treatment. Though you must take the aligners out to eat and brush your teeth, you should wear them at all other times of the day, including when you are sleeping, at school, at work, or performing any other activity.

If you refuse to wear your aligners at school, for example, your orthodontist may not know why the treatment is not progressing as quickly as it should, but he/she will see that it is not as effective as it should be, and require you to wear each aligner longer than if you wore them as often as the orthodontist recommends.

Complex cases also lengthen treatment. For example, if you have many teeth that need to be moved or have an especially complicated tooth alignment, your treatment will be longer than someone who only needs to move a few teeth. Because Invisalign treatments sometimes cannot move the teeth as drastically as metal braces can, cases that could easily be solved by metal braces may prove to be a challenge for Invisalign.

What Shortens Invisalign Treatments?

Apart from only needing a few teeth to be moved into proper alignment, there are some things you as a patient can do to ensure that your treatment is as short as possible. Always follow all of the instructions given by your orthodontist. If he says to wear your aligners for at least twenty-two hours a day, be sure to do so. Your teeth and jaw may feel a little sore at first, but this is all part of the alignment process.

Also, be sure to properly care for your Invisalign aligners. If one becomes cracked, be sure to tell your orthodontist so they can prepare a replacement. Brush out any plague or food particles that may be hanging on to your aligners and be sure to deep clean them at least once a week. This will keep your teeth in good health and your aligners working properly.

Remembering to change out your aligners on the proper date and remembering to take your aligner with you if you travel, will also shorten the treatment. Though the treatment is nowhere near as intrusive as metal bracket-style braces, the shorter your treatment is, the closer you are to the brilliant smile you have always wanted.

How Often Do I Have to Wear the Aligners?

Dr. Gemmi and Dr. Middleberg ask patients to wear their aligners as often as possible. This means that at almost all times, you should be wearing your aligners. Unlike metal braces that are very prominent and can constantly interfere with how you talk and eat, Invisalign aligners are designed to be nearly invisible. This means that they are not very likely to be noticed by a peer or other onlooker.

Though orthodontists want their patients to wear their aligners as often as is humanly possible, we also understand that there are instances when aligners simply will not work. When eating, for example, it is much safer for the aligner and for your teeth for the aligners to be removed from your mouth. In most cases, however, aligners will neither interfere with an activity nor even be visible, making it easy to wear them almost constantly, even if you have aligners for both your upper and lower teeth. Doing this will make each aligner more effective and will shorten the overall length of your treatment.

How Often Will I Get a New Aligner?

Most people get a new aligner every two weeks. This, again, will depend on how vigilant the individual patient is about wearing their aligner. If the patient does not wear the aligner the prescribed twenty to twenty-two hours a day, the aligners do not have the time to their job, and the teeth will not move as quickly. This may lengthen the time each aligner is worn from two weeks to three weeks.

How quickly your treatment is over will depend on how quickly you can move from aligner to aligner, as once your orthodontist has mapped out your treatment, he is unlikely to deviate from it. The aligners must be used in tandem, as they are specially designed to work in sequence.

How Do I Maintain My New Smile after Treatment Is Over?

Once your Invisalign treatment is over, you will have a straight, brilliant smile, without all the hassle of metal braces. Your mouth will not have to go through the adjustment process that is required after braces, and you can get on with your life. Your orthodontist may prescribe a retainer, asking you to wear it only at night, instead of all the time like your aligners.

Have more questions about Invisalign Treatments? Contact us for your complimentary consultation.

How Long Does Invisalign Take?

You’ve heard all the buzz about invisible braces and Invisalign®, and it’s impressive!

Beautiful, straight teeth without metal braces and brackets and in less time.

Can it be true?

Yes and no!

Here are the facts our Discovery Dental team have uncovered about treatment times with Invisalign®.

What is Invisalign®?

Invisalign® is a revolutionary orthodontic treatment that straightens teeth using a series of custom-created, progressive aligner trays.

These trays gently and gradually move your teeth into their desired position.

Why do many people prefer Invisalign® over traditional treatment with braces?

There are some definite advantages with Invisalign®, such as:

  • The aligner trays are made of a clear polymer that doesn’t attract attention to your orthodontic treatment.
  • The trays can be removed to eat, brush and floss, or for a special event.
  • Invisalign® aligners are comfortable to wear.
  • They can be used to correct most orthodontic issues.

The Invisalign® website also claims that treatment time is faster. In some cases, up to two times faster!

So, is Invisalign® faster for everyone?

No.

Here are some of the factors that affect treatment time.

Invisalign® treatment isn’t one-size-fits-all.

Every smile is different and has unique challenges. And that is certainly true when it comes to orthodontic treatment.

Generally, the length of treatment with Invisalign® depends on the complexity of your case.

Invisalign® can successfully straighten smiles that have a variety of issues, including:

  • Crossbite
  • Underbite
  • Overbite
  • Crowded teeth
  • Open bite
  • Gaps between teeth

The severity of the issue affects the treatment time needed to straighten it out.

While Invisalign® can be used on both teen and adults, treatment for adults may take a little longer.

On average, teenagers will need treatment for about a year, while most adults may take up to two years.

Teenage teeth are more responsive to the aligners and easier to move. Adult teeth usually have more complex issues and are less responsive to treatment.

Since treatment with traditional braces for an adult can take anywhere from 18 months to three years, Invisalign® is often still the faster option.

Also, Dr. Vanama can speed up the process with the use of Propel Orthodontics. This revolutionary technology can cut your treatment time by as much as three to 10 months.

Listen to Kevin’s Invisalign® experience about how fast he was able to have a straighter smile.

What other factors can lengthen treatment time?

We mentioned earlier that one of the things people love about Invisalign® is the removable aligner trays.

But the danger is the temptation to remove it too often!

Dr. Madhuri Vanama emphasizes to her Invisalign® patients that to achieve the best results, the aligner trays must be worn 20 to 22 hours a day. So, while the tray can be removed to eat and brush your teeth, it should be immediately put back into place when you are done.

The tray must be worn at all other times, even while you sleep. The aligners can only move your teeth if they are in your mouth.

By not following these directions, some patients have considerably lengthened their treatment time!

Invisalign® Teen makes it easier for a dentist to monitor whether or not a patient is wearing their aligner the correct amount of hours by using blue compliance dots on the trays. These dots will fade as the trays are worn.

So teens, make sure to wear your aligners the required amount of time, or your blue dots will tell on you!

What can help shorten treatment time?

Having a simple orthodontic case helps. If you just need to move a few teeth into proper alignment, treatment will be fairly rapid — usually just a matter of months.

Otherwise, the best thing you can do to get your smile faster is to comply with your Issaquah dentist’s instructions on wearing your aligners.

When you first start to wear the aligners, your teeth and jaws may feel a little sore. But persevere! The soreness will pass, and you will be on your way to a more beautiful and straighter smile.

Taking proper care of your aligners is important also.

Brush them twice daily to remove any stuck food particles and deep clean them weekly in a solution of 50% water and 50% vinegar for 20 to 30 minutes. This will keep your teeth and gums healthy and keep your aligners in proper condition.

If an aligner becomes damaged or cracked, be sure to tell your dentist so a replacement tray can be made. Using the progressive aligner trays in the correct order is important.

Invisalign® aligners are usually switched to the next in the series about every two weeks or so. Make sure to keep to your outlined schedule.

Following all of the above suggestions will help you to enjoy your straight smile sooner!

How effective is Invisalign® compared to braces?

We’ve talked about all the advantages of Invisalign®, but they would be meaningless if Invisalign® didn’t get the job done, right?

So, is Invisalign® effective?

Yes, it is!

You don’t have to take our word for it. Here are some examples of real patients’ smiles before and after treatment with Invisalign®. You can see for yourself that Invisalign® can produce beautifully straight smiles. Proprietary SmartForce features and SmartTrack material make Invisalign® treatment effective for even complex cases.

Don’t waste any more time!

Are you considering treatment with Invisalign®? Are you wondering how long it will take for Dr. Vanama to work her magic on your smile?

No need to wonder anymore!

Claim our money-saving special offer below and book a consultation with Dr. Vanama. She will be able to tell you whether Invisalign is the right choice for you and how long you can expect your treatment to last.

Claim your Invisalign offer!

When you sign-up for Invisalign® treatment at our Issaquah, WA dental office, you will receive $500 off. What are you waiting for? Take advantage of this special offer before it’s too late!

Claim Your Offer Today!

    • BLOG

      How long will my Invisalign treatment take?

      By: | Tags: | Comments: 0 | February 20th, 2019

      Invisalign is a great way to straighten your teeth without the hassle or discomfort of traditional metal braces.

      People often wonder “How long does Invisalign take to straighten teeth?”

      The time taken depends on the complexity of the treatment and is generally comparable to that of traditional braces. During your consultation, your Invisalign Provider can give you more detailed information.

      The process of getting your Invisalign aligners takes about a month from initial impressions until receiving the trays. After submitting your impressions, Invisalign must create digital models, you orthodontist must diagnose your problems and determine the treatment plan, and Invisalign must manufacture your aligners.

      The Invisalign process works slightly differently to traditional teeth straightening treatments.

      First, your orthodontist will take impressions or scan your teeth with a digital scan, and these impressions/digital scan is used to create your Invisalign aligners.

      The Invisalign system uses these clear aligners to slowly push teeth back into their natural positions. Each of your Invisalign sets (or trays) will be switched out for a new set every two weeks (or so advised by your orthodontist). You will have to return to visit your orthodontist or dentist every 4-6 weeks to ensure your Invisalign treatment is working. If patients adhere to wearing their aligners for the recommended 22 hours a day, they will see faster results.

      A course of treatment with Invisalign takes 12 months for most adults, although actual time will vary from person to person. Many people start seeing a difference in their teeth within two to three months of starting to use the aligners.

      Those who desire a perfectly straight smile no longer have to wait several years, give Invisalign about a year, and it will produce noticeable results, and onlookers will have no idea this teeth-straightening solution is in the mouth. Invisalign is fully customized for each patient’s unique set of teeth.

      More severe alignment issues will naturally take more time to fix, while small changes will happen more quickly.

      There is no reason to allow teeth to remain crooked or poorly spaced when they can be straightened through Invisalign. This dental treatment lets patients live their life in a completely normal manner as the ideal smile quickly takes shape.

      For more information or to schedule an appointment with Angel Orthodontics call us on 020 7837

      Have you had a consultation for Invisalign and been told you were not a candidate? You should get a second opinion. If you’re wondering who can be treated with Invisalign, the answer is simple. Virtually all cases, no matter how difficult, can be treated with Invisalign. Even if you were turned down in the past, new technology and updated techniques could have you saying goodbye to traditional braces and hello to clear braces.

      Wondering why you were turned down? Ready to revisit Invisalign as an option? Here is what you need to know.

      Three Reasons You May Have Been Turned Down for Invisalign

      Your dentist lacks experience with Invisalign.

      Invisalign has been in use for less than 20 years, so many dentists and orthodontists have more experience with braces than with Invisalign. Due to this lack of experience with Invisalign, many dentists believe full braces are easier to use. However, this simply isn’t true. Invisalign is just as effective as traditional braces.

      Your teeth are too crooked for Invisalign.

      If you have a severe malocclusion (dentist-speak for very crooked teeth), your dentist may recommend braces or another treatment option instead of Invisalign. While this is unusual, there are some cases where stronger forces are needed in order to move the jaw, not just the teeth themselves.

      You had your consultation several years ago.

      Since you had your consultation, new technology has been developed that treats cases that were previously untreatable with Invisalign alone. So, if you were told that you can’t do Invisalign, that may no longer be true.

      New PROPEL Technology Treats Very Difficult Cases

      With so many advancements in dental technology, it’s easier than ever to straighten teeth. The most effective treatment currently available combines Invisalign braces with PROPEL, often called “accelerated orthodontics.”

      PROPEL is a cutting-edge technology that reduces treatment time significantly, by up to 60% in some cases. By stimulating bone remodeling, PROPEL enables us to treat more complicated cases with Invisalign. The ten-minute in-office procedure requires no recovery time. With PROPEL, teeth move more smoothly and predictably, so you can flash your perfect smile in less time.

      See Your Dentist for a Second Opinion on Invisalign

      Ready to revisit the possibility of Invisalign? Make an appointment to see your St. Petersburg dentist for an evaluation. You will be on the road to a straighter, more confidence-boosting smile.

      You deserve to feel great about your smile. Don’t wait a year or more to reveal your results. Learn more about brand new PROPEL technology. to compare traditional Invisalign and Invisalign with PROPEL.

      Debunking 4 Myths About Invisalign

      Orthodontic treatment is beneficial for a variety of reasons. While it can be used to realign bites and straighten crooked teeth, orthodontic care can also improve your smile’s appearance and your overall self-esteem.

      Of course, different types of orthodontic treatment are available, including expanders, braces, and aligners. Because they are less noticeable than traditional braces, Invisalign is becoming a popular option even though most people are not entirely familiar with this orthodontic treatment. This guide will help you learn the truth about a few common Invisalign myths.

      1. Invisalign Is Not Ideal for Severe Misalignments

      Many people believe Invisalign is not suitable for severely-crooked teeth and misalignments, but that is not true. One of the greatest advantages of Invisalign is that the aligner system is customized to your smile’s needs.

      Invisalign can be an effective orthodontic treatment for the following conditions:

      • Crossbites
      • Overbites
      • Underbites
      • Open bites
      • Gapped teeth
      • Overcrowded teeth

      If you have one or more of the above issues or you just want to realign a few crooked teeth affecting your smile, Invisalign can be a great option to consider.

      2. Invisalign Takes Longer Than Traditional Braces

      Because Invisalign involves switching out different aligners to wear instead of metal braces that are connected to the actual teeth, you might think aligners take longer to realign your teeth and bite.

      In reality, the Invisalign system is actually more efficient than traditional metal braces. On average, the Invisalign system can take between 12 and 18 months to be effective. Two years is the average time that most patients will need to wear traditional metal braces.

      Note that many factors determine how long aligners or traditional braces will need to be worn. Failing to wear the aligners for the recommended 22 hours a day can affect the treatment’s success, increasing the amount of time you will need to wear the aligners. Also, the severity of your dental issues may require a longer period of orthodontic treatment.

      3. Invisalign Is Only Ideal for Adults

      You may think the benefits of the Invisalign system are only suitable for adults who require orthodontic care. Although not recommended for children because of growth and development, orthodontic aligners are options for adults and responsible teenagers.

      If you are a parent considering Invisalign for your teen, make sure to communicate the importance of proper wear. Invisalign teen aligners have small blue dots that wear down over time. Once the dot fades, your teen will need to switch out to the next aligner in the system.

      Teens should also be responsible enough to remove the aligners before they eat, for cleaning, and before brushing and flossing their teeth. This ensures no food residue and plaque build up on the aligners or your teen’s teeth.

      4. DIY Aligners Are Just as Effective

      If you like the thought of orthodontic aligners but you want to cut costs and avoid visits to the dentist, you may consider the various DIY aligners that are available through the mail. Although the premise is similar, the DIY aligner systems are not recommended by orthodontists for very good reasons.

      Many of the DIY aligners promise to improve the look of your smile quickly. Unfortunately, moving the teeth too quickly can damage the bone and gum tissue. Also, DIY/mail-order aligners may not move the teeth into a correct position, resulting in a misaligned bite that causes more harm than good.

      The Invisalign system of orthodontic aligners can be a great investment. If you are interested in the Invisalign system or other forms of orthodontic/dental care, contact Snodgrass-King today. Our dentist will determine if you are a good candidate for these clear aligners.

      11 Things I Wish I’d Known Before I Got Invisalign

      Image zoom

      I’m 26 years old, and for years, every time I see a celebrity or a person crack open a mouth full of perfectly straight teeth, I can’t help but feel envious and a little upset that my teeth don’t look that way. Even after braces, my teeth have never been flawless. I’m plagued with an open bite. This means 20 out of 24 of my teeth have significant space between them, even when I bite down. A decade ago, orthodontists told me I would have to get a second round of braces and jaw surgery to fully correct the situation. I put it off for years, because worse than crooked teeth was the thought of having surgery and braces (again)!

      RELATED: The 5 Best Electric Toothbrushes, According to Dentist

      However, this year, my orthodontist recommended an alternative treatment, Invisalign, that had a good chance of straightening my teeth and correcting my bite without surgery. Unlike braces, which use metal wires and brackets to straighten teeth, Invisalign moves teeth with a series of custom-made aligners (aka retainers) made from clear plastic, so they are far less noticeable than braces. I jumped on board right away, but I didn’t do as much research as I probably should have. Though I’m only a month into my Invisalign program — and am really happy with the results so far! — here are some of the things I wish I’d known before I took the plunge.

      RELATED: 11 Things In Your Bathroom to Throw Away Now

      1. You might receive more attachments than you are expecting. Recent Invisalign procedures may include attachments, or enamel-colored ridges that stick to your teeth like braces brackets. These attachments click into the Invisalign aligners to help the teeth move more effectively. Without the aligners in, the attachment bumps are virtually invisible. But with the aligners in, it looks like you have clear braces. My orthodontist warned me that I would have two attachments, but I ended up with 20. So, most of the day, I look like I’m wearing braces.

      2. Recommended wear time is 22 hours. I don’t know what I was thinking . . . I guess I figured I could leave the aligners at home when going to a party or out to dinner. But nope. I keep them in unless I’m eating, and I don’t leave home without packing an aligner case along with a travel-size toothbrush.

      RELATED: The Best Natural Teeth Whitening Products for a Brighter Smile

      3. You may lose weight. Since the wear time is 22 hours, that leaves two hours to eat three meals a day. It’s pretty ambitious, but I do my best to, because it really beats trying to pry the aligners off my teeth more than necessary. The aligners are supertight and especially hard to remove if teeth are sore. While you can always take the aligners out for snacks, I’ve found it’s a pain to remove the aligners and rebrush the teeth more than three times a day. Despite my attempts to pack in the calories at each meal (I’ll have a smoothie, omelet, and yogurt for breakfast, etc.), I still am hungry all the time. I lost a little weight my first month, but I’ve returned to my normal weight after introducing a protein smoothie to every meal.

      4. Kiss lipstick goodbye. Colored lip gloss and lipsticks are a thing of the past. They easily stick to the aligners and the attachments. Clear lip balm and gloss are OK, but they can sometimes leave a waxy residue on the aligners. These days, I’m all about applying dramatic eye makeup to draw attention away from my mouth.

      RELATED: This Electric Toothbrush Has a Game-Changing Feature—and It’s on Sale

      Image zoom Photo: Anna Monette Roberts / POPSUGAR Photography

      5. No more manicures. The aligners are nearly impossible to remove without the help of your nails, so unless you’re OK with chipped nails, stick to buffing your digits over painting them.

      6. Kissing is awkward. Yep, there is no avoiding the giant plastic device all up and around your mouth, and it’s definitely a mojo quencher. Some people on the Internet claim Invisalign killed their love life, but I think that’s a little extreme. It helps to have a significant other who is cool with your retainer mouth. It also helps to try to factor in some of those freebie minutes with your lover.

      RELATED: The 6 Best Toothbrushes for Receding Gums, According to a Dentist

      7. You’ll brush your teeth a dozen times a day. All right, maybe more like six, but it feels like a dozen. Plaque and food particles can get in the way of the teeth moving plus can lead to some seriously stanky breath and cavities. As a result, it’s best to brush your teeth after eating anything. I use three different types of toothpaste and toothbrushes, since I have to stash them at home, at work, and in my purse. At home, I use Nimbus, a supersoft toothbrush, with Tom’s of Maine Whole Care Toothpaste. At work, I use more aggressive products to get the teeth superclean and minty: Oral-B Pro-Health All-in-One Toothbrush (it’s like a massage chair for your teeth and gums) and Arm & Hammer Advance White Toothpaste. Lastly, for my purse, I have a crummy, generic travel-size toothbrush (it gets the job done) with a travel-size version of Colgate Optic White Toothpaste. I floss with Oral-B Glide.

      8. The attachments stain really easily. I have seen it so many times — my coffee- and tea-drinking friends who didn’t stick to a regimented tooth brushing habit ended up staining their attachments. The practically invisible composite begins to look like orange corn kernel pieces stuck all over their teeth. Yuck! As a result, every cup of coffee or tea must be immediately followed by a teethbrushing.

      RELATED: The 4 Best Water Flossers for the Cleanest Teeth of Your Life

      9. Cold water only. That being said, while wearing Invisalign, you can only drink cold water and maybe some clear sparkling water. Hot tea will stain and warp the aligners. Sugary and alcoholic drinks will lead to plaque buildup. I even attempted to test the waters with a glass of white wine, and it stained the aligners immediately. Darn!

      10. Whitening is not an option. Especially if you have attachments in place, whitening is not an option until the Invisalign treatment is complete. However, brushing your teeth often and avoiding stain-causing beverages will perk up your enamel a bit.

      11. There’s a “refinement period.” I thought I’d be done after 40 trays, until my sister said, “Oh no, honey. After that, you’ll have a set of refinement aligners to fix any stubborn teeth.” So basically, after the initial set of aligners are complete, Invisalign will create another set of refinement aligners to correct any slightly off teeth. Ugh, so my treatment has no foreseeable end in sight.

      Despite all the cons, I’m committed to seeing the treatment out, even if it takes a few years. I’ve already noticed a difference in my bite (I can chew with six molars now! Woo!), and my teeth have definitely started to straighten. I’ve gotten over being self-conscious about my Invisalign, and I smile bigger than ever, even with the aligners in. At the end of the day, I know I’m taking action toward having the perfect teeth I’ve always envied, and that feels like it’s worth the sacrifices.

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