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24th Jun 2024

How Invisible is Invisalign®?

As many as nine in ten people have misaligned teeth. You may have crooked teeth, crowding, gaps in your smile, or a bite that doesn’t align correctly when your mouth is closed.

Invisalign® is a popular treatment for straightening teeth. One of its most appealing benefits is its discreet nature. Every aligner is made from clear plastic, and the treatment is often marketed around its “invisibility.” 

But just how invisible is Invisalign®? If you’re considering Invisalign® treatment, it’s important to understand the process and how to get the most out of it. 

In this guide, we’ll examine how invisible Invisalign® clear aligners are and share some practical tips for keeping your aligners clear and healthy.

What is Invisalign®?

Invisalign® is a discreet alternative to traditional braces. Instead of having brackets and wires attached to your teeth, you’ll wear a removable clear aligner made of a proprietary thermoplastic material called SmartTrack. Unlike metal braces, Invisalign® treatment is very discreet.

As with metal braces, the aligner creates a constant, gentle force to gradually move your teeth into the perfect position. Invisalign® treatments with Abbey Dental’s Dr Robert Handley and his expert team are pre-planned using precision smile design software to create accurately predictable results.

During your treatment, you’ll change your aligner every two weeks. Each new aligner is custom-made for your teeth and designed to create specific movements. 

The number of aligners you need and the duration of your treatment will depend on the severity of your alignment needs. Invisalign® can reduce crowding, bring gappy teeth together, fix bite issues, and straighten crooked smiles. 

The Appearance of Invisalign® Aligners

The name ‘Invisalign®’ implies the aligners are invisible. Although nothing can be totally invisible, Invisalign® treatment comes close. These ‘virtually invisible’ aligners are made from translucent plastic.

Every aligner is designed to fit your teeth perfectly, making them discreet and comfortable. When wearing the aligner, people will mostly see your teeth rather than the clear appliance. 

In some lights, people may notice light reflecting on your clear aligner or its outline. However, from a short distance, your smile will appear unobstructed. 

How Noticeable is Invisalign®?

People may see you remove your aligner

Although Invisalign® aligners are barely visible, people may occasionally notice you’re wearing them. If you’re eating or drinking around people, they may see you take your aligner out. 

In these instances, it’s best to be upfront about your treatment. There’s no shame in improving the appearance of your smile, and aligner treatment is common. 

Your oral health could make your aligner more visible

If you have stained or discoloured teeth, it could make your aligners more visible. Brush and floss thoroughly every day. Maintaining a high standard of oral hygiene will help maintain the discretion of the treatment. 

You may need aligner attachments

Some people require attachments to their aligners as part of their orthodontic treatment. If you need attachments, these could make your clear aligners more noticeable. 

Although Invisalign® aligners are not completely invisible, they are a far more discreet option than traditional braces.

You may develop a slight lisp

When you start wearing Invisalign®, it can take a couple of days to get used to having the aligners in your mouth. Sometimes, it can take a while for your tongue to feel comfortable, as it may touch your aligner trays when speaking, causing you to lisp.

Although this is noticeable, it is usually brief. Continue talking, as your speech will return to normal.

The Benefits of Invisalign®’s Discreetness

Invisalign® is perfect if you feel self-conscious

Invisalign® is used as a subtle alternative to traditional metal braces. The treatment is suitable for teens and adults and ideal for anyone self-conscious about wearing a more visible fixed appliance. 

Perfect for professional and social settings

Adults can feel more embarrassed about receiving an orthodontic treatment. You may worry about how people will judge you. 

The subtlety of Invisalign® is perfect for professionals who don’t want their treatment to become a distraction. Similarly, wearing Invisalign® aligners won’t stop you enjoying social occasions. 

Clear aligners boost confidence

Because most teeth straightening treatments take between six months and two years, it’s understandable to have concerns about the appearance of your smile during that period.

Choosing the Invisalign® system over traditional braces helps boost confidence during orthodontic treatment, as clear aligners are virtually invisible. 

You can remove your aligner for special occasions

Removable aligners give you the flexibility to take your aligner out whenever necessary. If you’re appearing in any photographs to mark a special occasion like a wedding or graduation, you can remove your aligner first. Taking your aligner out occasionally for short periods of time won’t affect your treatment. 

Daily Life with Invisalign®

You must wear your aligner for 22 hours each day

The success of Invisalign® treatment relies on your teeth receiving almost constant gentle force. Although you can remove your aligner for short periods of time, your treatment plan is based on 22 hours of wear each day.

This means you can remove your aligner at mealtimes and when drinking, brushing, and flossing. However, you must wear it when sleeping. Fortunately, the aligners are made from a smooth and comfortable material. 

Tips for wearing Invisalign® aligners discreetly

When you first wear a new aligner, it will be perfectly clear. How clear it remains until you change it is up to you. Just like your teeth, Invisalign® aligners can become stained or discoloured. 

It’s important to take your aligner out whenever you eat anything. No matter what you eat, food can stain and damage your aligner. Food stuck to your aligner could stay there all day, fueling bacteria that could build up on it. 

Even after you’ve removed your aligner, you should avoid consuming foods and drinks that could cause staining. Black coffee, tea, red wine, soy sauce, spices, and dark berries are some of the items that could leave their mark. 

You should also remove your aligner whenever you drink anything. Hot drinks will stain your aligner, but they can also warp the plastic and damage its effectiveness. Soft drinks and alcoholic beverages will also cause stains and attract bacteria. 

If you eat or drink anything that could stain your teeth, brushing them before replacing your aligner is important.

Smoking can also cause stains. You shouldn’t smoke while wearing your aligner. Smoking immediately before placing your aligner back into your mouth will also trap stains inside your aligner. 

How to clean and maintain your aligners

Regular cleaning ensures your aligner looks good and keeps your teeth healthy. You should clean your aligner at least twice daily when brushing your teeth. Take your aligner out before cleaning it. 

Clean your aligner with a soft-bristled toothbrush, warm water, and soap or toothpaste. It’s important to use a separate toothbrush from the one you use to clean your teeth. Aligner cleaning products are available, and you may choose to use them. 

Wearing an aligner for 22 hours a day means bacteria and food debris could get trapped against your teeth. With this in mind, brushing thoroughly is more important than ever. Brushing your teeth after every meal will maximise your hygiene

Keeping your aligner clean when not in use

When you remove your aligner to eat or drink, keep it safe and clean. Don’t put it in your pocket or handbag, wrap it in tissue, or leave it on a table. Keeping your aligner in a dedicated case will protect it and keep it clean. 

Stick to your treatment plan

Every new aligner progresses your treatment, so you must change when instructed. If you wear an older aligner, it may not fit very well and could undo your progress, and it will take longer to get straight teeth. 

Invisalign® at Abbey House Dental

Invisalign® is an almost invisible teeth straightening treatment. The convenient removable aligners have very little impact on your lifestyle and will leave you with a smile you’ll love. 

Contact us today to schedule your Invisalign® consultation.

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