Clear Braces (Invisalign)
Now that you have been provided with clear braces, you may have some questions you would like answered.
Should I wear the clear braces all the time?
Generally, the answer to this is yes, wear them day and night. You should take the braces out for brushing, eating, drinking and contact sports that require a mouthguard. They should also be removed for swimming because if they accidentally came out in the pool, they would be almost impossible to find! Remember, if you do leave your braces out for any reason; put it in a rigid box. Keep them away from pets!
What should I expect in the first week?
Almost as soon as the braces are fitted you will notice an increase in the volume of saliva in your mouth. This saliva should be swallowed as normal and not slurped or spat out. This excess saliva will resolve within a few days.
Your lips and cheeks may also feel a bit tender in the areas that press against the braces and again this will also improve within a few days.
Talking with feel strange to start with and you are encouraged to talk aloud as much as possible when you initially get the braces. This will allow your tongue to adapt to the braces being there and within a week your speech should go back to normal. Perhaps read a book aloud at home!
Your teeth will start to feel tender by about the end of the first day and this is normal. This will pass after a few days. Patients do not usually need to take any painkillers but if you feel that this is necessary for you, the normal painkillers you take for pain control should be used (ensure you follow the instructions on the packet).
Do I wear the clear braces for eating and drinking?
No, the braces should be removed for eating and drinking unless you are just drinking plain water. No real modification is necessary to your diet. You should clean your teeth before putting the clear braces back in.
Remember, your teeth are also more vulnerable to attack from sugars when you wear a brace, even if it is removable. For this reason, you should limit your intake of sugary snacks such as sweets, chocolates, cakes and biscuits. Fizzy drinks should be restricted until your brace work is finished and you should be careful with fruit juices and flavoured bottled water which often have hidden sugars. These drinks are fine with your main meals but in between meals, the safest drink is plain water.
When you take the braces out for eating and drinking, be sure to put them in a rigid box to reduce the likelihood of the brace being damaged or lost. Boxes are available at the practice or you can use a small Tupperware box or soap box.
How do I clean the braces?
Always use cold or warm water. Do not use hot water as this may damage the braces.
Twice a day you should remove the braces and brush all the surfaces with a tiny amount of toothpaste and a toothbrush. You are encouraged to soak the braces once a week in a special cleaner which is available from the practice. This will ensure it stays looking clean and smelling fresh.
Do I clean my teeth any differently?
Only a little modification is necessary. Make sure you concentrate on any areas that your brace comes into contact with your mouth. This usually means you have to brush part of your palate as well as the teeth and gums. Make sure you are using fluoride toothpaste. A fluoride mouthwash is also beneficial and you will be advised to use this once or twice a day, ideally at a time other than when you brush your teeth.
How often will I need to be seen by the orthodontist?
You will be seen approximately every 6 to 12 weeks. You will be given a series of aligners/positioners to change every one to two weeks. If you look carefully, each should be marked with a 'U' and 'L' for upper and lower and a number to signify which aligner/positioner it is. You should bring all of them (used and unused) with you when you attend for your appointment.
Should I still see my regular dentist?
Yes. The orthodontist will be addressing the orthodontic issues in your mouth so it is important to see your regular dentist at the normal intervals.
What should I do if something happens to the brace?
If the braces break or distort, or you lose them, you should contact the practice as soon as is reasonably possible. You should not wait until your next routine appointment. Have a look in I Have A Problem With My Brace where you can find helpful tips on coping with common problems.