Wearing Invisalign is definitely easier than straightening your teeth with braces. There are no sharp brackets to scrape your cheeks and gums, and you don't have to worry about people looking at you oddly because you have metal in your mouth. There are, however, some unique challenges that may come your way while wearing Invisalign. Thankfully, these challenges are easily addressed as follows.
1. You can't eat or drink with the aligners in.
At first, being able to remove the aligners to eat may sound convenient. And then you realize how often you snack and drink! Since you need to wear the aligners for 22 hours a day and don't want to always be popping them in and out, you'll need to get used to eating distinct meals, rather than grazing on snacks all day. You will also need to get used to drinking water, as it is the only thing you can drink with your aligners in. No more sipping coffee all morning or soda all afternoon — they will adhere to your teeth, stain your aligners, and possibly cause cavities. Water is better for your body and teeth as well, so this is an added bonus.
2. Lipstick will get on the aligners.
If you are used to wearing lipstick, you will soon realize how easily little spots and streaks of lipstick end up on the aligners. You could address this by just doing away with lipstick altogether. However, if you still want your lips to be tinted for various occasions, you could instead purchase lip stain. It is a product that sets up very fast. It won't rub off on your aligners, although you will still need to be careful when applying it. Apply the stain after you insert your Invisalign trays.
3. The aligners may develop stains.
If you eat or drink anything with your aligners in your mouth, they will stain quickly. They may also yellow slightly throughout the wear period. You can help fight this problem by always brushing your teeth right before you put the aligners into place, and also by cleaning your aligners nightly. There is a specialized Invisalign cleaning system that your dentist can sell to you, and you can also just use your toothpaste and toothbrush.
4. You have to brush your teeth so often.
You need to brush after every meal and snack when you have Invisalign. Otherwise, your breath will smell and you may develop cavities, since the aligners trap any food remnants tightly against your teeth. Make this challenge easier by keeping a toothbrush and toothpaste with you at all times. Pack one in your bag, and keep an extra in your desk at work. Your friends and coworkers will soon get used to you slipping off to the bathroom to brush after meals.
5. You have to wear attachments.
The aligners themselves are clear and non-obtrusive, but sometimes, your dentist will need to place some attachments on the aligners to reposition your teeth in the right way. These are a bit more obvious in your mouth, but still not as obvious as braces. People who had no idea you were straightening your teeth may notice when you are wearing attachments. The best way to respond is to brush it off, and not get too self-conscious. People still won't really notice from across the room, and the attachments will be off soon enough.
If you come across any other challenging aspects when wearing Invisalign, talk to your dentist or orthodontist. He or she can tell you what solutions have worked for other patients in your position.