Is there any way to clean my aligners, other than with diluted mouthwash?
Yes! Your bag includes a coupon for EverSmile. I highly recommend it for cleaning your aligners! It is available at Walmart, Walgreens, Amazon, EverSmile.com, and CVS. As of right now, CVS is $19.99 and all other retailers are $29.99. I have seen trays that haven’t been cleaned in a week return to looking brand new after using EverSmile. You can use this to clean your trays by letting them soak in the foam, or you can spread the foam in your aligner and wear them as usual.
Do I need to clean my aligner case?
I highly recommend cleaning your case. Because the case is designed without a ventilation hole to avoid leaking in your bag or pocket- there is no ventilation for any moisture that may accumulate in the case. I recommend spraying the EverSmile foam in your case and using a toothbrush to scrub it, then leaving your case open throughout the night to allow it to dry out.
Uh oh, I lost a tray- what should I do?
No worries! Unless there is a “stop” sticker on your next aligner signaling that you need to come in for a visit before moving on to your next aligner, you can move forward to the next tray and wear it for double the time you would usually wear your tray. You do want to avoid skipping trays frequently as this will cause your trays to eventually lose tracking and new trays will need to be ordered.
I haven’t been moving through my trays as quickly as I was instructed to at my last visit due to adding days of wear for bad days of wear- should I just continuing moving through my trays even if I haven’t gotten 22 hours of wear each day?
No, we would much rather you come in for your visit and be “behind” where you would be had you stayed consistent in your changes rather than move forward in your trays without your teeth being ready for the new aligner. Moving forward in trays without achieving the 22 hours a day of wear for each day before your prescribed switch times will result in the trays to lose tracking and will cause the need for new trays to be ordered; which in turn actually only slows your progress down while we wait for new trays to come in.
Listed below is a guide on frequency of changes based on hours worn per day:
- Aligners worn 22 hours per day: 7 day changes
- Aligners worn 18-21 hours per day: 10 day changes
- Aligners worn less than 16 hours per day: 14 day changes
*Please follow the prescribed number of days before changing your aligners; prescribed aligner change frequencies are given by the doctor at each visit and may change. The doctor’s recommendations are specific to each patient’s current treatment.
What can I do to speed my treatment up?
Staying consistent with wear, avoiding breakage of aligners, attachments, buttons, motion appliances, etc.. and most of all- changing your trays as we prescribe. Your estimated treatment time is based on an average of 10-day changes. You will be on the sooner end of that estimate if you are consistent with 7 day changes, in the middle of that estimate if you are consistent with 10 day changes, and on the later end if you wear aligners for 2+ weeks before changing.
*Please follow the prescribed number of days before changing your aligners. If you are instructed to wear your trays 10 days each due to significant movements, changing trays sooner may not actually speed up your treatment time.
How often should I change my elastics (rubber bands)?
Just like any elastic, over time it will lose it’s elasticity; this is especially true for an elastic rubber band that is constantly being stretched as it is in your mouth when you speak. You can change your elastics as many times throughout the day as you would like. It is typically the most efficient to change your rubber bands each time you place your tray back in (after breakfast, lunch, dinner, before bed, etc..)
I remember to wear my aligners, but I’m having a hard time remembering to wear my elastics- is there anything to help me?
Yes! I recommend taking some of the elastics from your bag and putting them in your aligner case- this reminds you the second you place your trays back in; in addition- you don’t have to search for a bag of rubber bands. I also recommend having elastics in multiple places for convenience (in your car, purse, backpack, kitchen, nightstand, bathroom counter, etc..)
Will this set of trays be my only set of aligners?
Most likely not; while Invisalign is one of the most predictable orthodontic appliances, teeth aren’t always as predictable. We like to use the golf analogy; you don’t begin with a putter for your first swing- you take a nice long drive to get you in the general direction that you want to go, then as you get closer and closer you re-adjust, re-align, tweak, and refine along the way. The same is true for Invisalign; we will get a set of aligners that will move us towards the direction we want to go, but will refine and make adjustments as necessary throughout treatment.
Why does it take several weeks to order my aligners?
There is an extensive virtual treatment planning process that is required to order the aligners that best fit the doctor’s treatment goals to ensure the best result. Once your scan is uploaded to Invisalign, the doctor’s prescription notes are added. 3-5 business days later a simulation of those movements are sent to the doctor for approval, he will then make adjustments to that simulation (adding/removing/replacing attachments that will better suite the movement, adjusting the outcome of tooth position, etc..) the doctor then submits his changes and 3-5 business days later a new simulation with the adjustments is sent to the doctor for approval. The doctor will then either approve or adjust the simulated outcome. Once approved, the aligners are sent to manufacturing which is a 3-5 business day process, then another 3-5 business days for shipping. You can request that we call you if your aligners arrive sooner than your scheduled delivery date.
I’m having a hard time keeping track of my change schedule- is there anything that can help me stay on track?
Yes, Invisalign has their own app called “My Invisalign” that can be downloaded at no cost from your app store (available for most phones). Within the app you can use your camera to scan the QR code on the front of your aligner bag and your information will be populated into the app for you, or you can enter it manually. You can enter the aligner you are in, how many days you are instructed to wear each tray, and how many days you have been in the current aligner. The app also allows you to set reminders to change your trays.
How do I know if I have gotten enough hours in my aligner?
The “My Invisalign” app will also keep track of the hours for you! You can press the play button when you have your aligners in, then press pause when you have the aligners out.; it will calculate the number of hours you have worn your aligner. You will also know by the way the tray is, or isn’t, seating on your teeth.
I am out of rubber bands- should I wait until my next visit to get more?
Unless we have instructed you to discontinue elastics, ideally you would wear them full time. If you have worn elastics full time and then go any amount of time without them- you can lose the correction you have achieved. You can call our office and either stop by and pick up a few bags at the front desk, or if it is more convenient for you- we can mail them to your house!
How would I know if my tooth isn’t tracking with the aligner?
The first few days in a new tray will not fit the same way that a tray fits after a few days of wear. In the first few days of a new tray the teeth won’t have expressed the movements programmed in the tray and therefore won’t fit perfectly. As time and wear go on, the tray will only fit better and better. Ideally, after a few days of wear the tray will fit snug to the edge of the tooth and come all the way up to the gum line; there should be no “air space” between the edge of the tray and the edge of the tooth.
If you ever aren’t sure if your trays fit well enough to move into the next one, you can always text us a picture for confirmation.
My tray is popping off my molars and doesn’t feel like it is gripping very tight- do I need to come in?
Most likely there is no need for you to come into the office unless you would like to. Here are a few likely causes:
- Over time, as you bite on the plastic it can loosen or “flatten” and lose its shape. The solution is simple but makes a huge difference! Simply pinch or squeeze the edges of the trays to re-shape them allowing the tray to grip the tooth better. You can do this as often as you’d like and it will not distort or change the form of the tray.
- Specific movements are programmed into each individual tray; certain movements may put pressure on specific areas that could cause the tray to feel like it isn’t fully seating in others. As you continue to wear the trays, and the teeth express the movements prescribed in the aligner- the tray will fully seat on the teeth.
What is a “refinement” appointment and what does it entail?
The refinement appointment will happen when we are finished with your current set of aligners and will allow us to assess where we are in treatment and what our goals are from here. This appointment will include removing your attachments, getting a new scan, taking progress photos, and getting prescription notes from the doctor.
Why am I scheduled to come back in for a refinement appointment before my trays end?
We have programmed your set of aligners to include inactive “temporary retainers” at the end of each set; you could stay in your last trays for the few weeks it takes to order your next set of aligners, but we like to provide you with fresh trays to change into.
How much do I need to wear my elastics?
If elastics are prescribed in your treatment, they are a very important component to your treatment plan and our goals. Understanding the ratio of correction to hours worn will help you to understand the minimum hours before achieving any correction.
- Elastics worn under 12 hours: No correction/changes
- Elastics worn 12 hours: Maintaining current state
- Elastics worn more than 12 hours: Correction each hour over 12 hours
*Please follow the prescribed hours of elastic wear; wearing elastics more than prescribed may not actually speed up your correction and could lead to unwanted changes. Prescribed hours of elastic wear are given by the doctor at each visit and may change. The doctor’s recommendations are specific to each patient’s current treatment.
I came to a “stop” sticker on the bag of my next aligner, but my schedule doesn’t allow me to come in sooner- can I skip passed it?
We recommend you call our office to confirm that you can move forward in your trays; in most cases the sticker is there to signal to you that you need to come in for a visit before moving forward. If you move into the next aligner without confirmation, it could lead to unwanted movements or changes because the tray was worn prior to a procedure needed in the office.
My friend is in Invisalign Treatment, but he/she has fewer attachments than I do. I know someone who is also in Invisalign Treatment and their change schedule is longer than mine. Why is this?
Each individual treatment plan and set of aligners is unique in its own way; each set of aligners has been specifically programmed for your specific treatment goals and movements. Aligners can be programmed in different levels of velocity which controls the speed of movement in trays; in some cases it is more beneficial to program higher velocity or vice versa. Likewise, each attachment is programmed for the specific movement we want to achieve and for the exact need of the tooth in that aligner.
My aligners are causing me to lisp when I have them in- why is this?
This is generally because the aligner isn’t fitting like it is supposed to; when your trays aren’t fully seated, they will gather saliva and cause a lisp. It is best to follow your instructed wear of 22 hours a day to ensure your teeth have fully expressed into the tray so there is no air space between the aligner and your teeth to gather saliva.
*as always- if you have a “bad day” of wear- add a day of wear.
Can I see my Invisalign simulation from home?
Absolutely! You can either call or ask your assistant at your visit to send you the simulation via email.
Aligners not tracking
*Your aligner may look similar to this during the first 24 hours of wear, but should quickly seat more and more over time. If you aligner fits like this after 7 days of wear, you will need to extend your wear for another several days of 22 hour wear before moving into the next aligner.
Black shows an aligner that is fully seated on the tooth and tracking well. Red shows an aligner that is not fully seating on the tooth, is collected saliva, and needs more wear to fully seat. If you ever aren’t sure if your trays fit well enough to move into the next one, you can always text us a picture for confirmation.
Aligners not tracking
Aligners after a few days of wear
Aligners tracking and ready to move forward