Many people choose the hi-tech Invisalign teeth straightening system as an alternative to conventional braces.

Invisalign holds multiple advantages over metal braces. The plastic aligner trays are more comfortable and barely noticeable in the mouth. They’re also removable, which makes brushing and flossing a lot easier than with the wires and brackets of fixed braces.

Another advantage of Invisalign is that it can generally fix crooked teeth and bite issues faster than braces.

If you’re thinking about starting Invisalign treatment, knowing what to expect can help you get the most from your aligners and manage any issues you might encounter at first.

Looking After Your Aligners and Your Teeth

It’s important to keep your teeth and your aligner trays clean right from the start of Invisalign treatment. This will help to prevent a build-up of plaque – the bacteria-laden sticky coating that forms on teeth and can cause tooth decay and gum disease. CDA Dental Center adds that maintaining your oral hygiene during Invisalign treatment is key to really enjoying your smile once treatment is completed.

  • Remove your aligners when you eat or drink anything except plain water.
  • Brush your teeth and floss before putting your aligners back in after meals and snacks.
  • Clean your aligners twice a day, usually at the same time you brush your teeth.
  • Brush your aligners with a soft-bristled toothbrush and clear liquid soap.
  • Rinse the aligners thoroughly in lukewarm water after brushing.
  • When you’re not wearing your aligners, keep them in your protective Invisalign case.

Diet and Oral Hygiene with Invisalign

The removability of Invisalign trays means you can continue to:

  • Eat what you like. Invisalign avoids the dietary restrictions that come with fixed braces, which are prone to damage from hard and sticky foods.
  • Brush and floss as normal. Oral hygiene is difficult with fixed braces. Invisalign allows you to clean your teeth as usual.

Now, we’ll look specifically at the early stages of Invisalign treatment, so you’ll be well prepared to deal with any minor problems.

The First Few Weeks of Invisalign Treatment

During the first week of Invisalign treatment, it may be a bit difficult to put your aligners in and take them out (more on this later).

Keep in mind the instructions and advice your dentist gave you about placing and removing your aligner trays. The process gets easier over time as the aligners loosen up.

You may feel some discomfort for the first few days as the aligners begin to move your teeth. Most patients find that this soreness wears off after the first week.

Another potential problem is a slight lisp during the first week of wearing your aligners. Any lisp should disappear after a week or two as you get used to your aligners.

If the aligner rubs on part of your gums, your dentist can trim it to make it more comfortable.

By week two, you can expect any discomfort to wear off, and you’ll be used to popping your aligners in and out and looking after them properly.

Changing Your Aligners

During weeks three and four of your Invisalign treatment you’ll likely be wearing a new set of aligners – aligners are usually swapped out every two weeks. For the first day or two, your new aligners may feel a bit tight.

Remember, though, it’s necessary to wear your aligners for the recommended amount of time each day to get the best outcome from your Invisalign treatment.

So, when should you take your aligners out?

When to Remove Your Aligners

You need to wear your Invisalign trays 20 to 22 hours a day, but you can – and should – take out your aligners for:

  • Eating.
  • Drinking anything other than water.
  • Brushing and flossing.

Although it’s unlikely anyone will notice you’re wearing aligners, you may feel more comfortable to remove them for:

  • Special occasions like a wedding.
  • Important meetings such as a job interview.

You can also take out your Invisalign trays to:

  • Take part in sports.
  • Play a brass or woodwind instrument.

Tips for Removing Your Aligners

Many Invisalign patients initially encounter difficulties in taking out their aligners but find that with time the process gets easier.

Removing aligners when you’re new to Invisalign can be less of a challenge if you:

  • Relax and be patient. Being in a hurry to remove your aligners can damage the trays and your teeth, or hurt your fingers.
  • Wear surgical gloves. Thin surgical gloves provide a better grip when removing your aligners and avoid damage to your fingers or nails.
  • Start from the back. Beginning with the very back tooth on each side of your mouth releases the aligner tray and makes it easier to get hold of.

Tips for Putting Your Aligners In

Taking the following steps can help when inserting your aligners.

  • Start with your front teeth and work your way to the back.
  • Gently push the aligner over all your teeth.
  • Then push harder to ensure a good fit, but don’t force your aligners in.

When Can I Expect to See My Teeth Getting Straighter?

Invisalign moves your teeth gently and gradually, so it’s unrealistic to expect immediate results. You may begin to notice a subtle difference within 10 to 12 weeks.

On average, Invisalign treatment takes 12 to 18 months to fully restore your smile. Regular braces take 18 to 24 months to do the job.

Orthodontic treatment time depends on several factors, including:

  • The complexity of your case.
  • Condition of your gums.
  • Shape of your jaw.
  • How well you follow your dentist’s instructions.

Invisalign treatment is based on 3D models of your mouth. This allows you to see a time-lapse series of images showing how your teeth will move – what changes you can expect and the order in which they will happen. CDA Dental Center adds that another benefit to Invisalign is that because the aligners are clear you can get your teeth straightened without anyone knowing.

Need to Know More About Starting Invisalign Treatment?

If you want to know more about what to expect from Invisalign treatment, an experienced Invisalign dentist will be able to:

  • Help you decide whether Invisalign is your best orthodontic option.
  • Answer all your questions and explain the entire Invisalign process from start to finish.
  • Explain how much Invisalign treatment costs.