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More than 28 percent of the population feels embarrassed to show off their smile. Why? Because their teeth aren’t as straight as they’d like.

If you’re part of that 28 percent, you don’t have to settle for crooked teeth. Orthodontists can help fix that problem and others. And they can often do it in a way that doesn’t interrupt your life.

It’s called Invisalign. The treatment shifts your teeth with Invisalign retainers rather than traditional braces. But before you get your first alignment tray, there are a few things you need to know.

1. They Really Are Clear

When you think of braces, you probably picture tons of metal dotting your teeth and ruining your smile. These are by far the most common, but they’re also tough for adults who have to keep up professional appearances.

Invisalign lets you straighten your teeth without advertising the fact that you’re wearing any corrective device. They’re completely clear and once you get used to them, you’ll speak and smile just like you would without the trays in place.

The only people who will know you’re undergoing orthodontic treatment are the ones you tell.

2. You Can and Should Remove Them

Unlike metal braces, Invisalign trays are removable. And you really should take them out each day.

This lets you brush and floss your teeth normally and makes eating far easier. In fact, you’re not supposed to eat with your trays in at all! Doing so can damage the trays and delay your progress.

Just remember to brush your teeth before you put the trays back on. This helps reduce harmful cavity-causing bacteria from doing damage while you’re wearing the trays.

3. Your Treatment Is Completely Customized

Every person’s mouth and teeth are completely unique. And that means your treatment plan must fit your smile. You’ll receive trays that follow the contours of your gum line and sit flush against your teeth so no one will notice they’re there.

Though you’re not going to wear metal braces, your treatment is still supervised by an orthodontist who monitors your progress and makes sure the trays fit your teeth.

And since every tray is custom-made for your treatment, you’ll always know you’re getting the best treatment possible.

4. Invisalign Retainers Require Fewer Appointments

Believe it or not, Invisalign trays let you skip out on those frequent orthodontist appointments most people with braces need. Most patients need to see their orthodontist once every month or so to make sure everything is going according to plan.

And since your trays don’t need to get tightened, you’ll be in and out of the office quickly. For people with busy schedules, this makes it easier to schedule those appointments without having to change your plans or move things around.

5. Your Teeth Move Because of the Retainers

The trays do the bulk of the work. There are no regular adjustments that need to happen and you don’t have to worry about getting things tightened.

You just have to stay on top of changing your trays with the schedule your orthodontist sets.

Each tray gradually shifts your teeth by using gentle but steady pressure. And each tray is different, further adjusting your teeth towards the desired alignment.

6. Tooth Brushing Is Mandatory

Good oral hygiene is important no matter what. But it’s even more important with Invisalign.

The cleaner your teeth are, the cleaner your trays will be. This helps keep them from getting stained or damaged. But it also helps keep your teeth healthy.

You’ll need to brush your teeth after every meal, snack, and beverage other than water. It may seem like a lot of work at first, but once you get in the habit, you’ll barely think about it.

Just keep a travel toothbrush on hand when you’re away from home. And carry your Invisalign case with you to keep the trays safe when you take them out.

7. Cleaning Your Trays Is Important

Your trays need regular cleaning. Otherwise, they’ll start to stain and look discolored. But that doesn’t mean you should give them a scrub with your toothbrush.

In fact, doing so can damage the trays and change the way they fit your teeth. Instead, use the solutions your orthodontist recommends to keep them clean and clear.

If you’re traveling, you can always use denture cleaner in a pinch. Just make sure to soak them according to the directions and let them dry. This way, all the germs, and bacteria will be gone.

8. Getting Lazy Can Derail Your Progress

You need to wear your alignment trays for 20-22 hours a day. Getting lazy or forgetting to put them in can create major delays in your treatment.

Make sure you wear your trays every day. Set a reminder on your phone to check throughout the day if needed. The more you wear them, the better off you’ll be.

9. They Work Even with Missing Teeth

It’s a common misconception that Invisalign doesn’t work for people with missing teeth. They can and your orthodontist may even be able to add a tooth-colored insert to fill in the gaps.

Keep in mind that every situation is unique and not everyone is a candidate for Invisalign, missing teeth or no. The only way to know for sure is to schedule a consultation with your orthodontist.

10. You’ll Still Use a Retainer Afterwards

Even after you finish your treatment, you’ll need to use a retainer to keep your teeth in their new alignment.

But you may be able to use your final tray as a temporary retainer. Your orthodontist will be able to assess the condition of the tray and let you know what the best plan of action is.

And even better, the amount of time you have to wear the retainer will decrease the more diligently you wear it after your treatment ends.

Final Thoughts

Your smile should bring you confidence. If you’re worried about your teeth and wish they were straighter, contact us to make an appointment.

We promise your teeth aren’t too crooked to fix. Our experienced team will help you find the right orthodontic treatment for your needs, whether that’s traditional braces or Invisalign retainers.