So you decided your smile needed a readjustment and will be starting a clear dental aligner program (Invisalign, Clear Correct, etc.) Congratulations! You will soon be able to show the world your beautiful smile. But before you get to that victorious moment there are a few things to keep in mind in order to make the most out of this journey you are on.
Remember that any dental aligner program is a huge investment. The average cost varies between $2,000 - $8,000, depending on your specific needs. This means that following the program to a t is in your best interest so you get the most out of this significant investment.
The average duration of a dental aligner program is somewhere between 12-18 months, again depending on your needs. So this will require that you make some changes in your life while you are working on your smile.
For best results you should wear your aligner at least 22 hours a day, every day. Like any habit, this takes a little while to get used to but eventually it will be as easy as other automatic tasks you do such as charging your phone or having a cup of coffee in the morning.
Before you eat or drink anything (except water) remember to take out your aligners. If you don’t remove them before eating, they can get stained or discolored and even start to stink. And please don’t leave your retainer exposed while you are eating. Store them in a place where they are protected from germs and bacteria in the environment.
Some people decide it’s better to just not eat anything, but this isn’t a great solution. Keep in mind that this is more like running a marathon and you should be focused on maintaining healthy habits that will help you in the long run. Not eating is a terrible habit that will cause more harm in the long term.
Before you put the aligners back on make sure you brush your teeth thoroughly and also use dental floss. Remember that aligners are made to fit your teeth exactly so any bacteria or food particle gets trapped between the aligner and your teeth, leading to bad breath and even cavities.
Rinse your aligners when you remove them so theres no dry saliva or plaque. You should also soak your aligners in special cleaning agents such as denture cleaners, retainer brite, or similar products. When on the go you can use antibacterial soap (clear) on the aligners themselves and rinse them well before putting them back on your clean teeth.
Brushing every single time you eat or drink anything is the hardest part of a dental aligner program but it doesn’t have to be. Make sure you carry a complete dental care kit with you everywhere. This kit should include: aligner case, toothbrush, floss, mouthwash, anti-bacterial soap, toothpaste, and a few little packets of cleaning crystals/tablets to soak the aligner.
A better alternative is to leave the toothbrush, floss, and toothpaste at home and include a couple of Brushees on your on-the-go kit. These pre-pasted, mini toothbrushes with floss free up a lot of space so you can continue to lead an active, on-the-go lifestyle with less things to worry about. You can even get Brushees delivered to your door!
The whole point of getting aligners is to get a perfect smile at the end of the whole program. It can be very easy or extremely hard, it all depends on the habits you create and if they help or hinder you in the long run.