January 3, 2024By Dr. TannerIn Invisalign7 Minutes

How to Have Success with Invisalign Aligners

Invisalign is an amazing system and can produce fantastic results comfortably and efficiently by following a few guidelines.

Invisalign is the #1 aligner system in the world. Started in 1998, Invisalign has firmly established itself as the industry leader in clear plastic aligner therapy having successfully treated over 10 million patients. Invisalign continues to improve their product, design, and force application systems to achieve the best and most predictable treatment outcomes. Millions and millions of dollars are poured into research and development annually in order to remain on the cutting edge in what is now a very competitive industry. Invisalign continues to do their part . . . so, what is your role in attaining an ideal result with your Invisalign aligners?

Forming good habits is key.

When you receive your Invisalign trays, the best advice is to be consistent in wearing your aligners 20+ hours per day (22 hours per day is optimal but may not be realistic between eating and cleaning). Get in the habit of putting your aligners back in your mouth immediately after you are done with a meal, snacking, or drinking anything but water. You will get to a point where is does not feel “right” without the aligners in your mouth (like getting in your car and not putting on your seat belt). In order for your teeth to successfully move with each set of aligners, there needs to be light, continual pressure.

A good visual is to picture pushing a ball up a gradual incline. As soon as you take the pressure off the ball, the ball starts to roll backwards and progress is incrementally lost. It is the same with your teeth. Every time the aligners are out of the mouth, especially for an extended period of time, your teeth begin to shift back to their original position. If there is too much tooth movement, the aligners will fit more and more poorly and small spaces will develop between the plastic and the edges of the teeth. This is a sign of trouble and may result in the need to backtrack to previous aligners or rescan to recapture the current position of the teeth (which means longer time wearing the aligners).

You will get to a point where is does not feel “right” without the aligners in your mouth (like getting in your car and not putting on your seat belt).

A very effective adjunct, in addition to wearing the aligners 20+ hours, is the daily use of “chewies”. Chewies are made of a firm plastic called Styrene Copolymer and they are about the size of a cotton roll. They are specifically designed for clear aligner treatment – to improve the fit and comfort of your Invisalign trays. Each time you replace your aligners in your mouth, take a chewie (always keep one in your retainer case) and bite down on it. “Walk” the chewie around your mouth and apply pressure for 5 to 10 minutes to fully seat the aligner – focusing on areas where the aligners may not be fully seating on a tooth or group of teeth. Upper lateral incisors can be particularly challenging to keep fully engaged during Invisalign treatment. Chewies can be used repeatedly until they lose their elasticity. Keep them clean by washing them with soap and water. An interesting fact is that you can bite down about 10 times harder (i.e. using the chewie) then pushing the aligners on with finger pressure!

Alert your doctor if problems arise.

If you see a problem developing such that an aligner is not fitting snugly or is flexing upon seating, alert your doctor. Some tooth movements can be very challenging (for aligners or braces) and there may come a point in treatment where a “reset” is necessary to capture the current position of the teeth. A set of poor or ill-fitting aligners will not improve with each subsequent set. In addition, teeth may be forced to move in an unfavorable direction, especially if an attachment is not fully seating in the aligner. A new scan and photos will be performed to generate the next series of aligners. These “additional” aligners should be included in the original treatment fee.

Advocate for your smile.

As always, be an advocate for yourself while undergoing Invisalign treatment. Do your part wearing your aligners the required number of hours, do not leave them out for more than 45 minutes at a time, keep them clean and safe and monitor the movement of your teeth and fit of the aligners on a daily basis. Be the “eyes” of the orthodontist at home and report any unusual occurrence with your Invisalign trays. Invisalign is an amazing system and can produce fantastic results comfortably and efficiently by following these guidelines.

If you have questions about the benefits of Invisalign treatment, please call Visage Orthodontics to schedule a visit with Dr. Tanner, your Santa Fe Invisalign specialist. Dr. Tanner will review everything in detail and develop a customized treatment plan to fit your lifestyle and budget.

A confident and beautiful smile is right around the corner!