Monday, October 22, 2012

How to take care of my Invisalign

In our office we tell our patients in detail all of the Rules of Invisalign, along with how to take care of them, how to wear them and also the cleaning instructions.  We give our patients a small kit that makes the transfer into wearing Invisalign that much easier.  I will go over everything that we go over in our office as well as what we put in our kits. We always allow our patients to call us when they get home if they have questions.

Wearing of aligners
The most important part in teeth movement with Invisalign is that the patient is very cooperating with wearing their aligners and also that they keep track of which aligner that they are wearing them as much as they need to.  Each aligner is to be worn for 22 hours each day (Basically this means take them out only when you eat drink (anything besides water) or brushing your teeth) for optimal wear.  They wear each aligner for a 2 week 14 day period. Well patients ask "What happens if I have a meeting and I can wear them or its Thanksgiving and I will be eating all day and I don't want to lose them?"  The answer to this is simple just make up for the time that you lost at the end of your two week period.  So if on Thanksgiving you only wore them in the morning and at night but you missed the whole day well add a day at the end of your two weeks.  If you only had them out for a 4 hour meeting, instead of changing in them at your usual time change them 4 hours later or the next day.  It will never hurt to wear an aligner a little longer then what is scheduled.  It is important to get the most wear out of each aligner so that no incorrections happen.  (An incorrection is when a patient wears an aligner for less time and expects the next aligner to fill the void.(Each aligner can only move the teeth 100% of the way. So if you only wear your aligner 80% of the amount of time needed you are trying to force the next aligner to move your teeth 120% of the way.)) What happens if your aligner is rubbing?  We can always trim the edge that is bothering you or you may do so with a emery board or small scissors.   

Oral Hygiene
The next important thing to know about your Invisalign wear is Oral hygiene and the cleaning instructions for your aligners.  Your oral hygiene is pretty simple take you aligners out when you brush, and brush you teeth, floss and use the fluoride rinse.(We provide you a fluoride for your nightly brushing.)  Invisalign suggests that you brush your teeth after every meal.  We know that this isn't always possible so if you can't brush you may chew a piece of gum for a few minutes spit it out and replace your aligners or just rinse your mouth out the best that you can.  Patients ask what kind of toothpaste or what kind of toothbrush, well that is another easy question you may use whatever kind that you like as long as is accepted by the American Dental Association.  
Cleaning the Aligners
We ask our patients to clean their aligners when they brush their teeth and rinse aligners with water when they take them out to eat.  To clean your aligners we ask that you do not use toothpaste but a mild liquid soap (it can be anti-bacterial or not its up to you) (dish soap works great and fruity smelling soaps work best) What you do is work this into a lather in your hand then use a q-tip or a small soft toothbrush that has never had toothpaste in it to scrub the aligner. NEVER allow your aligners to be stored or cleaned in any extreme heat or cold locations.  This may distort the aligners resulting in them not fitting properly.  Dish washers and cars are not a good place for aligners and Never boil them to sterilize them. 

Aligner Insertion

1. Make sure you have the proper aligners.  The upper on the top and the lower on the bottom. Invisalign provides labels on each aligner.  It has your personal ID # and it provides a U for upper and an L for lower as well as the # aligner you are on. (See photo)
2. Make sure teeth are clean.  Make sure you rinse your aligners as well.
3. Place the top aligner in over the corresponding teeth then gentle push the aligner in place. Make sure you push the aligner into place completely so that there are no gaps between the teeth and the aligner.  Then do the same for the lower.  You may now apply pressure to the aligner by pressing teeth together. Do not put aligners in mouth and bite them into place.
4. If you experience a pinching or scratching sensation your aligner can be adjusted by the doctor or an assistant.  If it needs just a slight adjustment you can use an emery board to smooth an edge if you aren't at the doctor's office.

Aligner Removal
1. Start by using your fingertips on the back teeth (molars) and slowly work your way to the front. Gently pull them off your teeth.
2. To help prevent damage to the aligners avoid removing from the same place every time and removing them only when you are eating or brushing.
3. DO NOT remove with any sharp objects.
4. After removal rinse in water and put your aligners in a protective case.  DO NOT place in a napkin or anything that looks like trash. Only store them in a protective case.
       Don't twist or bend aligners.  This will result in cracking or the the breakage of your aligner

Storing your Invisalign Aligners

We provide our Invisalign patients with two cases.  We ask that all of our patients with removable appliances store their appliances in a protective case.  This will protect them from damage or loss.
Why do we give you two cases?  We ask that you keep your current aligner in one and the second case we ask that when you move to your next aligner you store your previous align in the second case.  This way you will have something to fall back on encase you loss or break an aligner.  If you do not have a previous aligner and you loss or break an aligner you have no way of insuring that your teeth will remain in the same place until you can get a replacement aligner.  It is a good idea to keep all of your aligners in a clean plastic bag in and out of reach of small children and pets.    

Invisalign Start Kit
In our Start Kit we provide our patients with everything that they will need their first few days in Invisalign.  This kit works great when you are not at home.  What it includes:

1. A case to keep all of your supplies in
2. Travel toothbrush and tooth paste
3. Floss
4. cups
5. Sanitary wipes
6. Latex gloves (for easier removal after attachments are placed)
7. Fluoride

Why we provide fluoride treatments?
We provide fluoride to all of our patients that are in any type of orthodontic appliances.  If proper oral hygiene is not provided the fluoride helps strengthen teeth so that decalcification does not occur.  Fluoride provides an extra strength to teeth preventing cavities.   We ask our patients to use the fluoride rinse once a day at bedtime.  We have our patients follow their normal nightly oral hygiene procedure and then use their fluoride rinse that we provide.  We have them use half of the white cap full and swish for 60 secs.  Then spit it out and do not rinse out with water after.  Then replace aligner.  After rinsing then go to bed.  If you must have a drink of water after you rinse please leave the fluoride on your teeth for at least an hour.  When reading the bottle it asks you to used more then what we do.  You only need a small amount to protect your teeth.  This bottle should last about 3 months.  If you are using the bottle faster then 3 months you are using too much and if you are not using the bottle in 3 months you are using too little.
Please do not swallow and keep out of reach of small children. 


Friday, October 19, 2012

Frequently Asked Questions about Invisalign

Q:Will my Invisalign treatment be painful?
A: During the first few day patients feel a slight discomfort similar to a tightness or tenderness associated with a new pair of shoes or tightness of a pair of roller skates. This is normal.  This is a sign of the aligner working and moving teeth.  This pain is normal and should slowly fade as the aligner moves teeth.  The best way to keep the discomfort at a minimum is to take tylenol or I-B profen or anything that you would normally take for a headache.  We tell our patients to take this the day you start and the next day.  This will ease this process and help keep your mind off your teeth.  The best medicine is to stay busy and keep your aligners in as much as possible.

Q: Will wearing my Invisalign affect my speech?
A: Like any orthodontic treatment there are always a slight difference in speech.  Our patients notice a slight lisping the first few days the best way to get rid of this is practice talking in them.  Read a book out loud or sing in the car.  Talk as much as possible to retrain your tongue and this will disappear.  Most of our patients notice no change in speech at all, however.  Usually the only people who notice are close friends or family that you talk to on the phone.  The people who you speak to on a daily basis (co-workers & friends)  do not notice any changes. 

Q: What do I do if my aligners do not snap into place?
A: Minor discrepancies between the new aligner and current tooth position are normal, since the current tooth position are normal.  Since teeth need time to conform to the new aligner position.  You may need to add a few days until you change into your next aligner.  Always check your aligner before you try in a new one.  Check to see if the aligner is the right number and if it contends your personal ID#.  If all of this is correct and it still does not fit correctly consult the orthodontist.

Q:  Are there restrictions on what I can and can not eat?
A:In general, no.  Unlike traditional orthodontic appliance you can take your "braces" out.  So you may eat whatever you want.  The first few days in your aligners you may not want to eat anything too tough or chewy. This maybe more painful. 

Q: Is it ok to drink hot or cold drinks while wearing my aligner?
A: Except for cool water, Invisalign recommends that you take out your aligners to eat or drink anything.  This is to avoid the formation of cavities or staining.  Also hot drinks may warp the aligners.

Q: Can I chew gum with my aligners in?
A: NO.  Chewing gum will stick to the aligners.  If you need to chew gum the best time is after a meal, chewing sugar-free gum will help clean food from between the teeth. 

Q: Will smoking or chewing tobacco stain the aligners?
A: Yes, it is possible to stain the aligner if you smoke or chew tobacco.

Q: What should I do if I loss or break an aligner?
A: We tell our patients that they should go back to their previous aligner and call us so we can order a new aligner.