A common question when starting an Invisalign® treatment is, “how will it affect my life?” The aligners need to be worn 20 to 22 hours a day; therefore, it’s typical to worry about your lifestyle while wearing Invisalign®.
Preparation is key. Knowing common concerns will keep your social life active. Concerns, such as pain, sleep interruptions, eating and drinking, chewing gum, stains, speaking in public, kissing, and of course, the affected selfie, need to be addressed to ensure full compliance to the course of treatment.
Alleviate pain. Some people report little pain during an Invisalign® treatment, and others report a lot of pain.
Patients mostly describe the pain as a pressure or tenderness—it may be related to the removal of the aligners in and out of your mouth.
The pain tends to be at the beginning of the process or for the first few days when wearing a new aligner. Also, rough edges may irritate the gum tissue, causing ulcers.
- Switch to a new aligner before bedtime—this will allow you to sleep through the discomfort of wearing a new aligner.
- When your gums and teeth are sore, try to avoid crispy, crunchy, or chewy food.
- Use cold compresses outside of the mouth.
- Suck on ice cubes while the aligners are out; only during your allowable window of having the aligners out.
- Discuss rough edges with your dentist; these will likely need to be corrected.
- Talk to your dentist about over-the-counter pain remedies.
Reduce sleep interruptions. Not getting a good night’s sleep is an individual problem, but also is a public health issue.
People with poor sleep are socially withdrawn, have a higher incidence of motor vehicle accidents, as well as increased workplace mistakes.
Sleep is imperative for mental functioning as well as for healing. Because of this, wearing your Invisalign® aligners during sleep is the most beneficial time; as the majority of tooth movement happens during this regenerating part of the day.
However, having the aligners in your mouth may be uncomfortable and will cause an overproduction of saliva, which may make it difficult to sleep.
- Excessive saliva will take some getting used to and should slow within 3 days of wearing the aligners. Some patients may take up to 2 weeks to adjust to the aligners.
- Sleep on your back or slightly prop your head until saliva has decreased.
- Breathe through your nose and not your mouth.
- Speak with your dentist if your adaptation is taking longer than expected or if you are missing out on restorative sleep.
Eat what you want. No need to cancel your date, unless you need an excuse to get out of that blind-date. Thanks to the removable aligners, you can eat and drink whatever you want during the treatment.
- Remove the aligners before eating.
- Brush and floss after each meal.
- If brushing is not possible, rinse with warm water or mouthwash until you can brush.
- Take a travel size toothbrush, floss, and mouthwash with you when you go out—you’ll always have fresh-kissable breath.
- Keep a case for your aligners with you at all times.
Chewing gum. You will have a sticky situation if you chew gum while wearing your aligners. In addition, most gum is full of sugar.
- Gum chewing can aid in removing food from teeth after eating if a toothbrush is not immediately available.
- If you chew gum, be sure to remove the aligners before chewing.
- Discuss gum sugar-free gum chewing with your dentist before making this decision.
Limit alcohol. The high sugar content in alcohol is a breeding ground for the harmful bacteria that uses sugar to produce acids that destroy your tooth enamel.
Even if, for example, your drink has zero sugars listed on the label, it is a carbohydrate that breaks down to sugar and starch.
- Drink only a moderate amount.
- Clean teeth and aligners thoroughly after so as to not trap the sugar between them.
- The same goes for any sugary beverage.
Prevent stains. Having clean aligners will make your dentist proud and you smile.
- While wearing Invisalign®, drink only water and clear sparkling water without sugar.
- Hot beverages, such as tea and coffee, will stain and warp the aligners.
- Light colored beverages will stain.
Practice speaking in social situations. While wearing Invisalign®, just saying the words, “speaking in social situations,” will take some getting used to. The aligner will change your speech, causing a slight lisp—it may be barely noticeable, and for others, it’s barely there.
- The more you speak with the liners in, the quicker you will adjust; so, get out there and practice.
- The lisp should go away within a few days to a few weeks. If it doesn’t, your aligners may not fit quite right—in this case, your dentist needs to know.
Kiss your partner. A romantic life is just as beautiful as your smile. Invisalign® will not get between you kissing your partner.
- Aligners are form fitting and do not dislodge. They may be a little difficult to remove until you get the hang of it.
- You can also remove them when you kiss, but it is not necessary.
- It’s important to note that colored lipgloss and lipstick may stick to your aligners.
Smile directly at the camera. Don’t let your smile hold you back. While you may shy away from taking selfies while wearing Invisalign®, it’s close to impossible to avoid having your picture taken when practically everyone has a phone with a camera.
Wearing clear aligners scores highest in attractability studies when comparing clear aligners with silver braces with elastic bands.
- The shininess of the aligners will make your smile bright and will hide imperfections.
- The closer the camera is to your face, or if the focus is on the face, the aligners may be seen in the photo.
Healthy habits will form. Caring for your teeth will take extra time during your Invisalign® treatment, but your hygienist will love you—you will be the dream patient.
You will notice a drastic change in your oral hygiene. Brushing every day 3+ times a day for months or years is an upside to having Invisalign®.
Making the decision to not let Invisalign® rule your social life does require preparation, especially for outings and vacations. Because of the removable and portable nature of the aligners, you have a choice as to what time of the day and what activity you remove them for.