What to Expect With Invisalign Clear Aligners

This post was sponsored by the Invisalign® brand and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

Zoe smiling in front of hydrangea bush

In this post, I’m going to share what to expect with Invisalign aligners, from both Zoë’s and my point of view.

In our last post, we shared with you that Zoë qualified for Invisalign treatment, Kaylee wasn’t quite ready yet… and we showed you the whole initial consultation experience. Be sure to go back and read the post and watch the video if you missed it before moving on with this one.

First Post: What to Expect When Getting Your First Set of Invisalign® Clear Aligners

Zoë was nervous, for the same reason all teenagers are nervous, about getting either braces or custom clear aligners… fear of the unknown. She heard horror stories from her friends with traditional metal braces and she was a bit nervous.

This is a little video of Zoë getting her new set of aligners and you can hear about her orthodontic treatment from her point of view.

What Happens at the Appointment?

First, Dr. Hoff and his team made sure Zoë’s teeth were super clean and ready for the aligners.

They applied special fasteners and hooks called SmartForce® Attachments to Zoë’s teeth, which make complex tooth and jaw movements possible without braces by utilizing rubber bands.

They also made sure her first set of new aligners was in the ideal position and they lined up with her x-rays.

Dr. Hoff and his team gave Zoë detailed instructions on how long to wear the aligners, how to put them on, how to take them off and how to care for them.

Even though they were very thorough and answered all our questions, it took less than 30 minutes! And future appointments will be even faster, according to our orthodontist.

Zoe at Hoff Orthodontics

First Week of Invisalign Trays

Zoë’s treatment plan with the aligner trays required a small bit of supervision for the first few days.

The most important thing that Dr. Hoff and his team stressed to us was to make sure Zoë has a “wear time” of “at least 22 hours per day.”

The next most important thing that was stressed to us by Dr. Hoff and his team was the importance of brushing teeth and flossing to prevent plaque, bad breath, cavities and tooth decay after every meal.

It’s a habit that has to be formed. And he made sure we knew she might sometimes need a friendly reminder to not only make sure the Invisalign trays are put in after eating and brushing, but also a reminder to put in the rubber bands and to use the chewies to secure the aligners in her mouth.

Zoe putting in Invisalign aligners with chewy

You can see Zoë using a chewy in the photo above.

After Zoë’s first week, it has been smooth sailing. Follow-up appointments are scheduled roughly 6 weeks out.

Is Invisalign Treatment Painful?

I hesitate to answer this question because pain is personal, and everyone will have their own experience with it.

And there are a lot of factors that determine what pain a person might experience. It might depend on whether there are bite issues like how much of an overbite or underbite there is to correct. The severity of crooked teeth and the total tooth and jaw movement that will be required to get straight teeth from their original position is also a consideration. All of that will play a big factor in the pain a person might experience.

Pain was one thing Zoë was really worried about and I know it’s a frequently asked question among people considering Invisalign treatment, so I’ll share Zoë’s experience.

In the weeks since our initial consultation, Zoë told several of her friends who have braces that she was getting Invisalign aligners. Of course, instead of the comforting and supportive stories you’d hope for, she got horror stories about pain with braces.

Fortunately, that hasn’t been her experience with her Invisalign treatment. With her very first set of aligners, she had some pain for the first 2-3 days in her teeth and jaw.

She had a slight bit of irritation on her gums from where the aligners were rubbing. She uses dental wax and filed down a bit of plastic on her first aligners with a nail file (brand new).

Now, when she switches to a new set, she experiences mild discomfort for maybe a day or 2, and it dissipates quickly. She tells me that she has days where she almost forgets she’s wearing her aligners.

She is very diligent about wearing her aligners 22+ hours a day. If she’s not eating or brushing her teeth, they’re in her mouth. The orthodontist mentioned that pain usually comes when someone doesn’t wear their aligners for at least 22 hours a day.

The only downside she isn’t fond of is now is she has a slight lisp that is no less than cute. From my understanding, most Invisalign patients have a slight lisp until their tongue gets used to them.

Are There Food Restrictions?

There are no food restrictions with Invisalign aligners, unlike with braces. Since you take them out when you eat, you don’t have the same worries. There are no broken brackets or wires from eating hard or crunchy foods, and nothing for food to get stuck in.

Zoë is so happy that she can eat absolutely anything she wants during her Invisalign treatment. As long as we give her permission, that is, lol.

Are There Beverage Restrictions?

The short answer is “yes.”

While wearing the clear aligners, it’s advised to drink only cold water or cold clear liquids.

She can’t drink hot beverages like tea while wearing her aligners as it will melt and/ or deform the aligners.

After drinking anything sugary while wearing her aligners, she has to brush her teeth and rinse the aligners off afterward. Fortunately, we don’t drink many sugary drinks, so it’s not really an issue.

Caring for Your Aligners On the Go

You really should brush your teeth every time you eat or drink something besides water before putting your aligners back in. Since we’re on the go a lot, we had to make a plan for Zoë to more easily care for her aligners.

Zoë has started carrying a purse so she can always have her case, aligners, a travel toothbrush, toothpaste and a collapsible silicone cup with her. This has made eating out a lot easier for her. If your child is in school, you can probably pop those items into their backpack.

Packing Aligners for Travel

About a week after getting her first set of aligners, Zoë and Kaylee were headed to Missouri to visit with their grandmother and great-grandmother for a couple of weeks. Since I wasn’t going, I was nervous about sending her off to deal with this change without me. So we got advice from the orthodontist and dental assistant to make sure she was prepared.

Zoë is on a 7-day schedule of changing her aligners. They recommended that she pack her aligners for each of those weeks.

In addition, they also recommended she bring the previous set with her. That way, she could wear that set if she misplaced her current set and her teeth would hold their progress until the orthodontist could order a replacement set.

Even though I was nervous, I had a lot more confidence with her traveling alone with custom plastic aligners than if she’d gotten braces. If you have a mishap when traveling with braces, you’ll probably find yourself scrambling to find a local orthodontist to help you. That’s not something I worried about with her Invisalign treatment.

Invisalign aligners, case and box

Zoë’s Confidence is Soaring

One thing we want to instill into our daughters is confidence.

When I had braces as a teen, I was highly self-conscious. So much so that I taught myself to only breathe out of my nose so that I could always hide my braces from view. It’s not a rational fear, but it’s natural for young girls to feel that way, and I don’t want that for my daughter, especially during such a sensitive time in her development.

I am happy to say that Zoë is extremely confident wearing her new Invisalign aligners. She wears them with what seems to be a “badge of honor” and she’s totally down for photographs showing her teeth, unlike me.

She gets a huge kick out of it when people who know her well see her for the first time since she got her aligners and don’t notice them. She thinks it’s so funny.

Zoë is always smiling and talking. She has no fears about being “judged” for her aligners like I did with my braces. That makes a mom’s heart happy.

Zoe in front of hydrangea bush

My Thoughts So Far

I knew “braces” were in the future for both of our girls. I knew it was something that would be necessary in the very near future for them. We were literally just talking about getting the girls into a dentist or orthodontist to look at traditional braces options when we were approached about possibly partnering with the Invisalign brand.

Frankly, Invisalign treatment wasn’t something we’d talked about until they approached us. And wow, we are so grateful we were introduced to them.

The entire initial Invisalign treatment consultation really opened our eyes to what needed to be done to correct both Zoë’s and Kaylee’s smiles… but do you know what the most important thing is what we learned after she got her first set of aligners?

We learned that Invisalign clear aligners do so much for Zoë’s emotional wellbeing. Zoë’s confidence is soaring more and more every day as we see her teeth shift slowly to create her perfect smile.

There are few things that can bring such a big smile to a mom’s face and a warm feeling to her heart. Knowing this confidence will build over the years to help her grow into a strong woman is such an amazing feeling.

After the entirety of the Invisalign treatment, she’ll have Invisalign retainers, which unlike traditional retainers are not made of metal.

We’re super excited to share Zoë’s Invisalign treatment journey with you.

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