Whether you’re traveling across the country, inviting friends and family to your home, or simply catching up with loved ones over video calls, the holiday season is a busy time for everyone. In the hustle and bustle of buying gifts, making plans, and attending holiday events, it’s all too easy for Invisalign patients to let their treatment fall by the wayside. However, if you don’t wear your clear aligners properly, you could end up falling behind and having to wait much longer to achieve straight teeth. To stay on track with your Invisalign during the holiday season, keep these four tips in mind.
1. Wear Your Aligners for At Least 20-22 Hours a Day
In most cases, Invisalign aligners aren’t effective unless they’re worn for a minimum of 20 to 22 hours a day. Not wearing them often enough can prevent your teeth from shifting as quickly as they should. It can even lead to discomfort later on.
Many Invisalign patients forget to wear their trays in the rush of the holiday season. Set periodic reminders on your phone throughout the day to prevent your treatment from slipping your mind.
2. Remove Your Aligners Every Time You Eat or Drink
The only times you should take your aligners out of your mouth are if you’re eating, drinking anything besides plain water, brushing, flossing, or cleaning the trays. At holiday gatherings, you might be bombarded with people offering you snack plates or seasonal beverages. Always remember to remove your aligners before you indulge in any of these foods or drinks. Otherwise, the trays could become discolored or damaged – making them noticeable in addition to compromising your treatment.
3. Always Keep Your Aligner Storage Case on You
Sometimes, Invisalign patients remove their aligners before eating and set them down on a plate or napkin. Unfortunately, this could lead to your aligners accidentally getting thrown away. You might have to wait several days to receive replacement trays, which could lengthen your treatment time.
To prevent your aligners from being misplaced, always carry their storage case with you. That way, you’ll know exactly where they are when you’re not wearing them.
4. Brush and Floss After Every Meal or Snack
Between finishing your food (or beverage) and placing the aligners back in your mouth, you need to brush and floss to remove tiny particles of food debris from your teeth and gums. If you wear your trays without cleaning your teeth beforehand, these particles get trapped against your teeth, where they attract bacteria that cause odor, staining, and cavities. No matter where you’re spending the holidays, keep a travel-sized toothbrush, tube of toothpaste, and floss container on your person at all times.
Just because you’re going through Invisalign treatment doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the holiday season. As long as you follow these tips and stay on track with your treatment, your teeth will most likely be (almost) fully straight by this time next year!
About the Author
Dr. Jonathan E. Mason earned his dental doctorate from the University of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine in 2006 and has completed advanced training in several areas of dentistry in the years since. At Mason Dental, he provides Invisalign clear aligners for adults and teens alike to enjoy straighter smiles without metal braces. For more tips on surviving the holiday season with Invisalign, contact Dr. Mason at 802-362-1099.