CLEAR ALIGNER TIPS AND TRICKS
- Protect your tongue
- Treat your pain and discomfort
- Use “ortho chewies ” ( amazon) when you reinsert your trays
- Keep track of your daily wear time
- Remove your aligners the safe, sanitary way
- Keep your trays clean (and clear)
Tip #1: Protect Your Tongue
The plastic edges of your clear aligners mean that sores are common early in the journey and at the beginning of new tray cycles, but your mouth will toughen up. A good idea is to have a bottle of peroxide-based mouthwash in your medicine cabinet. It is specially formulated to heal minor oral irritations during orthodontic treatment, and provides teeth and gum pain relief with a refreshing, foamy effect that really hits the spot. Keep a bottle in your medicine cabinet, and you’ll be glad you did!
Tip #2: Treat your pain and discomfort
Clear aligners work by forcing your teeth into the ideal poisiton, so we recommend that my patients practice chewing exercises a few times a day, and every time they reinsert their trays. Not only do these exercises seat your trays and help them “track” in accordance with your treatment plan, they can provide some relief in discomfort.
The simple act of chewing produces a nice massage effect for your gums, stimulating nutrient-rich blood flow to your mouth. That blood flow acts as a natural pain reliever, and more importantly, chewing exercises help your trays fit tightly for maximum tooth movement.
You can purchase “ortho chews”on amazon, and they do aid in the seating process. But, they can get very dirty if they aren’t cleaned regularly and are a bit awkward to use in public. So….
Tip #4: Keep Track of Your Daily Wear Time
Obviously it will be a little difficult adjusting to your new lifestyle with your invisible braces. You will be taking them out often, which is okay; this is why so many orthodontists recommend them for older teens and adults. But if patients aren’t diligent about meeting the recommended wear time of 22 hours, it can cause problems.
Fortunately, there are several tools available to help you keep track of your daily wear time. We are big fans of Tray Minder, a free mobile app that tracks how long you’ve worn (or not worn) your aligners and reminds you when to change to a new set of trays.
Another great way to stick to a consistent clear aligner routine is to have the right accessories for your smile journey. Items like an extra case to protect your trays, an aligner removal tool, cleaner spray and travel toothbrush and floss are all items we think belong in your to-go bag.
Tip #5: Remove Your Clear Aligners Safely
While you can certainly fish your trays out with your fingers, they do get tighter as your treatment progresses. This means you might struggle to get your aligners out early in a tray cycle, which is where the “hook” of aligner really helps. It pops aligners out in a breeze and saves you from inadvertent nail gashes if your hands slip while trying to pry them out.
Tip #6: Keep your trays clean and clear
Finishing the last two sips of a lukewarm coffee or enjoying a glass of (white) wine with your trays in isn’t the worst thing you can do. But don’t make it a habit, and be mindful of your schedule: cheating during the last few days (or hours) of an Invisalign tray cycle gives less time for stains to compound. It’s also important to learn how to clean your trays the right way, so you don’t warp or damage your trays.
When you notice your trays getting a little dingy and funky, use a pump or two of Str8 Whitening Boost, a peroxide-free fast acting cleanser that you don’t have to rinse off your aligners. Just a pump or two in each tray will eliminate the germs and bacteria that contribute to bad breath.
Parting Advice: Create Your Routine and Stick To It!
As you embark on your smile journey, strive to establish a personal routine that includes good hygiene and habits that you can maintain. Incorporating these Str8 oral care tips into your lifestyle will help you enjoy a more comfortable, confident journey to your ideal smile.