How to Speed Up Invisalign Treatment
Hey guys in today’s article I’m going to be talking about a few different ways that you can speed up your invisalign treatment to finish invisalign sooner. One thing that you probably know if you’ve looked into invisalign at all or even spoken with an orthodontist is that something called refinements are very common with invisalign treatment. After you finish your invisalign treatment your orthodontist might have to rescan your teeth and send those scans back to invisalign, so that they can create a new treatment plan for you to iron out the final kinks and make sure that everything is as perfect as can be to really finish off your treatment.
Refinements are actually very common with invisalign. I will try to do a little bit of research and show you guys a stat right here of how common it actually is to get refinements. Today I will share some of my tips, tricks and suggestions about how you can either speed up your invisalign treatment or even potentially avoid needing refinements. Jumping right into it, starting off with tip number one.
Something that might seem pretty obvious or straightforward but you’d be surprised how many people don’t do this and that is to wear your aligners for at least 22 hours a day every single day. Typically when people complain about their treatments being extended, maybe going through multiple rounds of refinements or just not getting that outcome that they were looking for, it’s usually because they’re not keeping on top of that really – critical wear time at least 22 hours a day. And i know at first maybe when you’re looking into invisalign or when you’ve just started 22 hours can seem daunting. I definitely felt that way when I started invisalign but as time went on I got used to it pretty quickly and I actually found the bit of restriction that came with having to wear my trays for so much of my day. So, really only being able to drink water with my trays in, not snacking as much, and keeping eating to meal times actually ended up benefiting me and my health in the long run as well. Most orthodontists recommend that you wear your trays for at least 22 hours a day and those remaining two hours are actually plenty of time to eat drink and clean your teeth. T
However, if you don’t meet your wear time goal every single day it’s probably not going to be that big of a deal. In my case for example there were definitely a lot of days, especially closer to the end of my treatment where I wasn’t meeting that 22 hours a day wear time goal. That being said I usually only miss it by a couple of minutes, so I think that the main thing that helped me progress so well throughout my treatment and is able to finish early with no refinements was really keeping on top of that where time goal as much as possible. Now, the main thing that helped me keep on top of wearing my liners as much as I was supposed to be actually an app called trayminder. Essentially this app just helps you track the time that you are both wearing and not wearing your trays. It lets you go back into a calendar view and see days when you have hit or missed your time goals. There is a color-coding system where it’s like red-yellow-green. Green being you’ve met or exceeded that, plus hour a day wear time goal. Yellow being you’ve almost made it. Red being you definitely need to wear your trays some more and you’re actually able to adjust that to your liking. For me personally, the way that I had it set up was the only way that i could get that green box to show on my calendar as if I wore my trays for 22 hours a day or more. This meant that even if my trays were out for two hours and one minute, I would get a yellow box instead of a green one. I am a perfectionist, so i found that being able to look back and see all those green boxes was something that really motivated me to keep on top of wearing my trays.
ThIS tremendous app also has a lot of cool and unique features, including being able to track the progress of your smile through teeth selfies – something that i really enjoyed. Another cool thing that i like about the trayminder app that thE invisalign branded app actually doesn’t have as far as i’m aware is apple watch compatibility. I was able to link my trayminder app to my apple watch and really the main feature of trayminder that helped me keep on top of wearing my aligners was the fact that when you sort of mark that you’ve taken out your trays in the app. If you don’t put your trays back in and you don’t switch it back to say that you’re wearing your trays then it’ll continue to remind you over and over periodically. And i find that that’s something that really helped me because at least I knew that if i forgot to put my trades back in the app, it would always notify. The reason that I mentioned the apple watch complication for the trayminder app is that it sort of all of the benefits of trayminder but right on your wrist, it made it even easier for me to track my wear time because a lot of the time what would happen is my phone would die or i would forget it downstairs or somewhere else and then I wouldn’t be able to mark that I’m not wearing my trays or that I put my trays back in. So, just being able to sort of tap directly on my wrist, to say yes I’m wearing my trays or no I’m not was super convenient and a game-changer.
Tip number two is to brush and floss before putting your trays back in every single time. This is something that I definitely struggled with more and more as time went on and I got more used to wearing my aligners. You just get into the habit of thinking uh well i’ll just pop my trays back in without brushing my teeth, I’ll just swish my mouth out and then brush my teeth later. However, that is a habit that you want to steer clear of at all costs. If you are putting your trays back into your mouth and your teeth are not clean, all of that food and sugar, and bacteria is just pressed directly up against your teeth. So, you’re actually at a much higher risk for getting cavities, and cavities are something that can definitely slow down your invisalign treatment. Even just having to get a small cavity filled could have an impact on your invisalign treatment. Remember that your trays have been designed specifically based on a scan of your teeth that was taken before you started treatment. Any little changes in the shape of your tooth as a result of getting a cavity filled have the potential to affect the way that your trays fit and the way that they move your teeth, so that is definitely something to keep in mind. There is also the other reason that it’s really important to properly clean your teeth before putting your trays back in is that if there is for example a layer of plaque on your teeth and then you put your trays on that plaque, it will feel sort of like slimy and slippery and that means that the trays are actually not able to grip onto your teeth as well as they should and again if they’re not able to properly grip your teeth then they’re not pulling as hard as they could be. They’re not exerting that necessary force to move your teeth into the desired positions, so the dirtier your teeth are the less efficient your trays are going to be able to work at realigning your teeth going hand in hand.
With tip number two is tip number three which is to clean your aligners and clean them properly. Not only is having clean aligners important for ensuring that there aren’t any unnecessary bacteria trapped up against your teeth, but it’s also possible for bacteria to break down the plastic that your trays are made of. This is something that isn’t going to, necessarily be a quick process, however, even just that plastic being broken down a little bit can compromise its integrity. If your trays have been broken down by bacteria even just a little bit, remember that this means they’re not going to be putting as much force on your teeth as they were intended to. Something that could very clearly slow down your treatment is related to how to properly clean your liners. Essentially, I use an ultrasonic jewelry cleaner with denture cleaning tablets, however, I did sometimes use toothpaste to clean my liners. In that case, I would always make sure that they were non-abrasive toothpaste because most toothpaste actually has little tiny abrasive particles that are meant to really get in there and scrub your teeth but using those types of toothpaste on your trays can actually cause little scratch marks that are going to be breeding grounds for bacteria that’ll break the trays down. So, it’s really important that you are cleaning your trays carefully and following the proper steps so that you’re not damaging your trays unnecessarily.
Tip number four is to be gentle with your aligners. Remember, even though they are sturdy enough to shift your teeth in really crazy cool waves don’t forget that these liners are made of a fairly thin plastic material that is easily bendable and breakable. It’s also really important to be gentle with your liners and make sure that you’re caring for them properly and not only in terms of cleaning them the right way. So, avoiding anything abrasive or you know not using hot water because that might warp your aligners, but also making sure that when you’re not wearing them you’re storing them in a safe place. The safest place is always going to be the container that you were given with your invisalign trays. That case is designed to protect your liners as best as possible. It’s really important that you’re not just throwing your liners in your bag or purse even wrapped in paper towels because that’s not really going to provide enough protection to the trays. You might end up with small bends or cracks in the aligners themselves and even a minor change in the structural integrity of your trays is going to mean that they’re not doing exactly what they’re supposed to do and if that’s the case then your treatment is going to take longer because your teeth aren’t going to be moving the way that they’re supposed to be. This also means not eating or drinking anything with your aligners on. I know that I’ve gotten a few comments interestingly enough from patients saying that their orthodontists have advised them that they should eat with their aligners in and only remove them to brush and floss and clean their teeth and trays. Something that I find very odd because invisalign definitely says that it’s not what you’re supposed to do. The reason being if you are applying all that chewing force, the likelihood is that you are going to warp or bend or crack your aligners. Especially if you are drinking something really hot there’s the potential to partially melt the plastic that your aligners are made of. So, as a general rule of thumb make sure that you are not eating or drinking anything with your aligners.
My fifth and final tip in terms of speeding up your invisalign treatment is actually just to talk to your orthodontist. One thing that I’ve heard a few people say is that after they had been in invisalign for a while, on one of their follow-up appointments they actually just sat down and asked their orthodontist if it would be possible to change their trays more frequently. For example with my invisalign treatment, I switched my trays every two weeks so I would wear one set of trays for two weeks and then switch to the next one, wear that one for two weeks, etc. However, depending on your particular needs and the treatment plan that was created for you, you might be switching your trays every 10 days or even every 7 days, so one thing that you could potentially do in order to speed up the treatment process is actually just to ask your orthodontist if you’re able to switch your trays sooner. For my particular example, I was switching my trays every two weeks. I could have asked my orthodontist if we could bump that down to 10 days which would knock off four days for every single set of trays that I had in my treatment which you know would add up and save me a lot of time in treatment by the end, so that is definitely something to consider. No matter how long you wear one particular set of trays per your treatment plan, it is a possibility that your orthodontist might let you switch trays a bit more quickly that being said. Usually, they won’t agree to that unless they see that your teeth are tracking or moving the way that they’re supposed to and usually they’re moving exactly the way that they’re supposed to. So, in order for this last trip to really come into play, you’re going to have to take into consideration everything that I’ve mentioned before as well and make sure that you’re really on top of wearing your trays and cleaning them so that they are working as efficiently as possible. So, your orthodontist can see just how well the trays are working and they’ll be more likely to agree to let you switch your trays at shorter intervals. I would also suggest talking to your orthodontist if you just feel overall like your treatment isn’t really going as quickly as you feel it should go or things just aren’t going right when you go in for your checkup appointment. Your orthodontist takes a look at your teeth and he might say you know there are certain teeth that haven’t moved to where they’re supposed to, so I actually want you to wear this tray for another week or another couple of days. That is something that will definitely slow down your treatment time, so if that is the situation that you’re finding yourself in right now, I would suggest just sort of talking it through with your orthodontist asking questions about what they think you could do to improve the efficiency of invisalign or get things back on track to make sure that your teeth are tracking the way that they’re supposed to.
Sort of off topic but I have heard of these devices, one of them is called acceledent I believe. It’s essentially just a little vibrating gadget that you put in your mouth and bite down on and it’s I believe just supposed to sort of vibrate your teeth to massage your gums and improve blood flow in your mouth which will sort of help your teeth move a little bit more quickly and efficiently. I would suggest you ask your orthodontist about if you are interested in something like that one.
A bonus tip or honorable mention that I’d like to include in this article is not to reschedule your follow-up appointments because those follow-up appointments are meant to be a way for your orthodontist to check in and make sure that everything is progressing as expected. Remember that it’s also an opportunity for them to catch anything early to make sure that they can sort of getting you back on track if things aren’t going the way that they’re supposed to. Even if you’ve got all of your trays upfront and you’re able to continue progressing throughout you know each set of trays without going in for regular checkups at your orthodontist’s office. Remember that you do still run the risk of something going wrong. If that happens and you haven’t had that regular follow-up and your orthodontist hasn’t been able to catch it early you might even end up in a situation where you have to stop your current treatment because maybe your trays don’t even fit quite right anymore, get rescanned and sort of start all over again, something that will most definitely extend your treatment time. So, be mindful of that if at all possible, make sure that you’re not rescheduling appointments, and just be sure to take them very seriously because they are an integral part of your invisalign journey and with that, we’ve made it to the end of today’s article. If you are interested to know how invisalign attachments are placed, read our expert article here!
Go to our invisalign service page to find more info on how to get your perfect smile today!