There are numerous ways to straighten teeth, and Invisalign® is an increasingly popular method. Unlike traditional braces that use metal or ceramic attachments hooked to a wire to pull the teeth straight over time, this treatment uses clear aligners that can be taken out when eating or brushing. For the desired results, it helps to follow certain tips that enhance the straightening process.
Guidelines for optimal straightening
As with traditional braces, it takes time for Invisalign® to obtain the desired results. Because the aligners can be removed, it may take longer to straighten the teeth if the treatment is not followed as instructed.
Understand there is an adjustment process
Although wearing the aligners is less painful than wearing braces, there may still be some discomfort, especially at the beginning. It takes a while for the mouth to adjust to the aligners, and the individual must get used to caring for them properly. Once this initial period passes, wearing the trays becomes easier and less noticeable to the patient.
Wear the aligners as much as possible
Because of the ease of taking Invisalign® aligners out of the mouth, it may be tempting to not wear them as much as one should. Dental professionals recommend wearing the trays a minimum of 22 hours a day. The remaining two hours allow for eating, drinking, and proper cleaning. If someone does not wear the aligners full time, the straightening process is lengthened. In some cases, there may even be a need to remake the aligners.
Ensure a proper fit
As the straightening process progresses, the wearer moves on to new aligners. Patients should not move on to the next aligner until the teeth fit perfectly in the current set. Moving on to the next aligner set on schedule means there is a better chance the individual will finish the treatment in the expected time frame.
If there are gaps between the aligners and the teeth, it is not a correct fit. When this occurs, it is recommended the wearer bite down on chewies, which are small cylindrical cushions. This should be done five to 10 minutes at a time, about three times a day. Use on a regular basis helps the aligners sit on the teeth properly, allowing for a tighter fit.
Use the retainer after treatment
Once Invisalign® has properly aligned the teeth, the process is not over. The patient will be given retainers that are molded to fit the newly straightened teeth. The retainers should be worn regularly, just like the aligners. The dental professional can give an estimated time frame for use. If a patient does not use the retainers as much as recommended, the teeth can slowly shift and return to the original positions.
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Having crooked teeth can greatly affect self-esteem and confidence. Using Invisalign® to straighten the teeth is beneficial in that the aligners make the process less obvious and can be taken out for better oral hygiene. However, for the most effective results, the wearer needs to follow instructions and wear the retainers regularly.
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