Removable, transparent, and comfortable, it is no surprise that Invisalign aligners are growing in popularity. From teens to adults, patients of all ages are asking our team of Lehigh Valley orthodontists about the Invisalign treatment option.

If you too are asking “Should I get Invisalign?,” here are a few things you should know to help prepare you for your orthodontic treatment and the responsibilities that come with it.

1. Your Treatment Time May Vary

Invisalign generally works more quickly than traditional metal braces. You may have even heard stories of friends or family members who finished their treatment in as little as six months. However, don’t expect your treatment to be as swift. The length of your Invisalign treatment varies based on several factors:

  • Your alignment issues
  • The distance your teeth need to move
  • The speed at which your teeth move

If you only have one or two crooked teeth, your treatment may only last a few months. However, a severe overbite or underbite may take as long as two years to align. Treating most moderate bite issues falls somewhere in the middle, between 12 and 18 months.

It’s also important to remember that not every patient may be eligible for Invisalign. For those with complex issues, traditional braces may be recommended instead.

2. You Have to Wear Your Aligners

One common misconception is that, since the aligners are removable, you can wear them whenever you want. But if you only wear Invisalign on your time, you’ll never see that straighter smile. Invisalign has to be worn for at least 20-22 hours per day. This means when you’re working, sleeping, and traveling. It is only recommended that you remove your aligners for eating, brushing, or flossing. The more you wear your aligners, the faster your smile will straighten and the fewer adjustments you’ll need later on!

3. Invisalign Needs to Be Cleaned

You need to treat your aligners as carefully as you would your real teeth. This means cleaning them daily. If you don’t clean your aligners, you’re creating a breeding ground for germs and bacteria that won’t only lead to bad breath, but decay and cavities. You don’t need any special cleaner; all you need is warm water, a toothbrush, and toothpaste. You can also use denture cleaner if you’d like.

And always brush your teeth before you wear your Invisalign to keep your aligners clean. Sugary snacks, coffees, or sodas can stain your teeth and your Invisalign. Brush in the morning, in the evening, and after every snack or meal to help remove food particles that could otherwise get trapped beneath your aligners.

4. You May Lisp at First

Invisalign will affect your speech, giving you a slight lisp when you first start wearing the removable aligners. Don’t get discouraged and don’t remove your Invisalign when speaking. This lisp is a normal reaction to this new experience.

The longer you wear the aligners, you’ll unconsciously adjust your speech. Your lisp will disappear without you even realizing it! If you’re wearing your aligners every day, your lisp should disappear within a week or so.

5. Discomfort Doesn’t Only Affect Those with Metal Brackets

Another misconception is that only traditional metal braces are uncomfortable. This isn’t true. While you may not have to deal with the wires or brackets and the irritation that comes with them, you will still experience some mild discomfort after getting your Invisalign.

Remember, your teeth are moving due to pressure. It is normal to experience a little discomfort, and there are home remedies to help alleviate any pain. Your teeth may even feel loose as they shift into their new positions. The degree of discomfort you may feel not only correlates with your bite issues and spacing issues, but also with your own personal pain tolerance.

Severe pain is not normal. If you’re in excruciating pain, contact our team of orthodontists.

6. Aligners are Customized for You

Every pair of aligners is different. That’s because these aligners are custom-designed to fit your smile. Our team takes a series of digital scans using imaging technology. These scans are then sent to a lab where the aligners are made out of a patented thermoplastic material, which is more flexible than other plastics. Finally, these aligners are delivered to you. They must be changed every few weeks.

Depending on your needs, additional attachments may be required. Some patients may need buttons, which are small, tooth-colored brackets that help hold the aligners in place. Other patients may need rubber bands. Like with traditional braces, these rubber bands help apply force to your teeth.

To learn more about Invisalign, request an appointment with our team of orthodontists in Allentown and Reading. Our orthodontists are standing by to help you find your straighter smile.