Congratulations! You've finally bit the bullet and decided to invest in clear aligner treatment for yourself. You may have some questions about what to expect as you begin treatment, so it’s natural to be apprehensive at first.
To help you navigate your way through your smile journey, we've put together some tips to prepare you for what to expect. After reading this article, you’ll soon find the process is quite straightforward, relatively painless and blends seamlessly into your lifestyle.
#1 - Personalised Treatment
One of the benefits of clear aligner therapy is the personalised treatment process. During your consultation, your doctor will discuss your goals and what you can expect throughout the treatment. Once you are ready to begin, your doctor will create a mould or digital scan of your teeth to plan a treatment that makes sense for your unique journey. This plan may include interproximal reductions, attachments, or cutouts to further aid movement. Once you and your doctor approve the proposed treatment plan, OrthoAlign will begin fabricating your aligners in their in-house dental lab.
Clear Aligner Pro Tip: Every patient and their smile is unique! Be wary of direct-to-consumer brands that offer a less personalised, less hands-on experience.
#2 - Be Consistent
Consistency is key. The success of your clear aligner treatment depends on how often you wear them. Unlike traditional braces that are attached 24/7, aligners can't do their job if you don't wear them. We recommend wearing your aligners for at least 20-22 hours a day, only removing them when you eat, drink, or brush your teeth. OrthoAlign aligners are designed with smooth, scalloped edges that make them comfortable to wear even while you sleep. To keep your aligners safe and clean, make sure to store them away in your aligner case.
Clear Aligner Pro Tip: Keep your aligner case with your phone, keys, wallet, or other items so that taking it with you becomes part of your routine.
#3 - No Food Restrictions
Many people think they need to avoid certain food or drinks like coffee, tea, or wine. However, aligners are designed to be removable, which offer patients the added benefit of freedom that traditional braces lack. That means no food restrictions and maintaining oral hygiene is much easier. Just ensure that you make it a habit to remove your aligners when eating or drinking and wear them as soon as you’re done in order to keep up with your treatment plan.
#4 - Keep Your Aligners Clean
Another benefit of clear aligner treatment is that you're able to maintain and preserve your overall oral and gum health. To achieve that extra protection for your gums, all you have to do is keep your aligners clean. The best time to clean your aligners is right before bed, ensuring you have fresh trays to put back on while you sleep. Ideally, aligners should be cleaned daily with lukewarm water, mild soap and a soft-bristle toothbrush (not the same as the brush you use for your teeth). This will easily remove any food particle residue and keep your aligners looking fresh and clear. For an even deeper clean, you can place your aligners in an ultrasonic cleaner (which we include in our OrthoAlign HomeCare Kit) filled with a cleaning solution of water and a cleaning tablet. Routinely cleaning your aligners just as you would brush/floss every morning and night will keep them free from bacteria, plaque, and funky odours.
Clear Aligner Pro Tip: For more cleaning tips and tricks, check out this article.
#5 - Update Your Aligners Regularly
During your treatment, you will need to change to a new set of aligners every two weeks which your doctor will provide every fortnight or in multiple sets at a time, depending on your case. These regular check-ins with your doctor also allow them to asses your progress to ensure you're on the right track. Keep in mind that you may experience some mild discomfort with each new aligner transition. This is perfectly normal and is actually a sign that your aligners are working! The soreness should go away gradually, but pain medication like ibuprofen or paracetamol can help ease this initial discomfort as your teeth adjust. We also recommend using Chewies throughout your smile journey. Practicing chewing exercises improves and promotes beneficial blood flow to your teeth and gums, which help to alleviate any pain and discomfort.
Clear Aligner Pro Tip: For your aligners to work well, they need to fit tightly over your teeth. Typically made of a soft, plastic-like material, Chewies are small dental devices, specially designed to help your new set of aligners fit perfectly onto your teeth. Biting down on Chewies stimulate tooth movement which will help keep your treatment on track for efficient and effective results. We recommend chewing exercises twice a day for five to ten minutes to ensure aligners are seated appropriately
#6 - Enjoy Your Dream Smile
Your treatment may be over, but your journey doesn't simply end there. There's always a chance your teeth can still shift in your mouth after treatment. Some causes are due to aging, tooth decay, or even grinding your teeth. To prevent your teeth from shifting back to their original position, you need to make sure you wear your retainers. They only need to be worn at night, but this will help keep your teeth from shifting. Patients that are open to these minor lifestyle adjustments will enjoy results that last a lifetime.
Though each case is uniquely different for everyone, the results are all the same: a healthier, straighter smile. Following our tips and knowing what to expect during your smile journey will ensure a smoother and more pleasant ride on the road to your dream smile!
To get started on your own smile journey, locate an OrthoAlign provider in your area to discuss treatment possibilities and receive professional advice and support tailored to you.
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