6 Tips to Optimize Your Invisalign Treatment
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.