Invisalign aligners: how many hours a day do I need to wear them?

Invisalign is one of the best solutions for people who don’t want to wear “regular” braces and would like to have a clear smile for certain occasions. The system is based on a series of “aligners” made of clear plastic, that can be removed from the teeth and then placed back again. A very elegant solution, that’s for sure.

I’ve used Invisalign too, so I can really vouch for its qualities. Instead of having metal braces or anything on my teeth, I’d just wear “the plastics” and it wasn’t a huge deal. Here were some of the things that really made me enjoy my Invisalign treatment:

  1. no more metal braces
  2. less discomfort
  3. better hygiene. I just took the trays out, cleaned my teeth, put them back in.
  4. better looks – if I had to appear in a pic, for instance, I’d take my trays off and then put them back on, when it was all done.
  5. better diction – as a radio DJ, having a lisp was not permitted. Invisalign gave me the freedom to be “normal” for 1 hour (my show was 1 hour) and then talk as I could.

The biggest problems I encountered were:

  • it doesn’t work as fast as a metal braces system. What Damon did in 4 weeks, Invisalign took at least double the time
  • it had to rely solely on my self-control and discipline.

And I think this is the most important aspect we need to discuss in this article: DISCIPLINE!

You asked me how many hours a day should you wear your trays. My orthodontist told me I need to wear the Invisalign AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE. It should stay on my teeth at least 20-22 hours. This means I can take it out to eat and clean my teeth and then put it back on.

I have personally done stupid things too since discipline is not my strong trait. I had days when I forgot to put my Invisalign or wore the trays for 5-6 hours only. This didn’t entirely ruin my treatment, but it put a brake on it. And, when I put the trays after HOURS of not wearing them, I’d feel pain.

Invisalign video courtesy of Ortho360 Orthodontics Austin

So, the best solution is to have it on as much as possible. Keeping my Invisalign on for as much as I could (small 3-4 minute breaks to brush my teeth and a few minutes to eat), made my treatment super-easy and pleasant. My teeth got so used to the “plastic” that, when changing the tray every 2 weeks with a new one, made me pass the moment with little to no discomfort at all. Instead of being sore for at least 2 hours, I’d just pop the new one and have a big smile on my face.

If you have enough discipline, you’ll be just fine with Invisalign. Don’t forget, IT DEPENDS ON YOU. The longest time you can wear the trays on a given day, the better.

Learn more about Invisalign Braces for Adults & Teens

Taking Care of Your Invisalign trays

Invisalign aligners look far better than regular braces however they also require more care and maintenance. Regular braces do not really require much attention because all you need is a special toothbrush and regular visits to the dentist. Invisalign braces can be removed and must be cleaned as often as possible.

Here are some tips on caring for your Invisalign aligners:

Never use hot water. Your Invisalign aligners are made of a high-tech thermoplastic and can be modified using too hot of water. Never use piping hot water to clean them because this might dent and damage your aligners.  The best way to clean them is with a toothbrush and toothpaste.   We even recommend the occasional rinse with Listerine or CarieFree solution.

Be conscious of what you drink. Invisalign aligners are also sensitive to the liquids you take in and can discolor.  Thus avoid drinking anything dark (like coffee, soda, or tea) with your aligners in.

Wearing and using aligners. There are some things which you should remember when handling aligners. Always wash your hands before putting your aligners into your mouth. You will always have two aligners, one for the bottom set of teeth and the other for the upper set. You might get confused, so the best thing is to push the aligners into place, do not bite into it. Always clean your aligners by brushing them with a small amount of toothpaste or aligner cleanser. Never soak them in any type of solution because this might make them brittle and dull.

Storing aligners. When storing your aligners always make sure that they are dry and clean. Never place them in moist containers- unless it’s something that limits bacterial growth (like Listerine or other dental rinses). Ask us if you have any questions about this.  In general, because you only wear each retainer for 2 weeks, it’s not really a problem.

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