If you just started, or are thinking about Invisalign treatment, you might be wondering how strictly you need to comply with the 22 hours a day rule. Our CCOA dentists explain why it is important for your treatment.
Why It Matters If Your Aligners Aren't Worn For 22 Hours
If there is one rule to live by during your Invisalign treatment, it's that your trays must be worn 20 - 22 hours every day for optimal effectiveness. Your trays are designed to gradually shift your teeth into a corrected position so if you aren't wearing them they won't work.
Each set of trays is also worn for a predetermined amount of time, but generally, it's about two weeks. When you switch to your next tray, the new trays will be straighter than the previous ones to keep up with your teeth’s progress. Wearing your Invisalign regularly is the only way to ensure that the treatment is ultimately successful and that the discomfort you feel upon starting your next tray will be as minimal as possible.
What Happens If You Don't Comply With Treatment
Not wearing your trays for the intended amount of time each day can result in the following:
- Delayed results - If you fail to wear your aligners for the proper time frame for too long, you may not be able to enjoy the cosmetic results you wish for within the treatment time frame. When you receive your first set of trays, our dentists will tell you what your treatment timeline will be (usually 12 to 18 months). You will have regular checkups scheduled so we can monitor your progress. If your teeth are not moving sufficiently due to failure to comply with the 20-22 hour rule, you may be asked to wear your current trays for longer. If your teeth have fallen too far behind, you may need to have an entirely new set of trays made.
- Discomfort - The first few days after placing a new tray are the most critical. You may feel pressure against your teeth. While this pressure can result in mild discomfort, it is critical to keep your trays in for at least 20 - 22 hours per day. You can still remove your clear aligners to eat, drink, or take photos. When you remove the trays for a longer period of time, your teeth may slightly revert back to their original position. Often you won't be able to see this but you will feel moderate levels of discomfort or even pain when you put your new tray back on after a long break.
Tips To Keep You Complying With Treatment
Despite the convenience of Invisalign, many patients still have difficulty wearing their trays for as long as they’re intended to. To avoid adding time to your treatment, here are some tips for ensuring that your trays remain in your mouth for 22 hours daily:
- Remove your aligners for a set amount of time – Aim to take them out for around 15 minutes at breakfast, 30 minutes at lunch, and an hour at dinner. This should give you enough time each day to eat, brush your teeth, and clean your aligners.
- Advance to your next set of trays before bed – This will allow you to sleep through the initial discomfort of wearing a new set of trays.
- Multi-task while wearing your aligners – If your trays aren’t in your mouth, consider placing them in an appropriate cleaning solution while you eat.
- Establish and maintain an oral hygiene routine – Make brushing your teeth and flossing after you eat a regular habit; oral hygiene still matters during your treatment!
- Use an app – Take advantage of technology to assist you; apps like Tray Minder can help you keep track of your wear time throughout the day.