If you’ve recently started Invisalign treatment, congratulations! A straighter and healthier smile is in your future, assuming your treatment is successful. And the biggest factor when it comes to Invisalign’s success is your willingness to adhere to the mandatory 22-hour wear time. That said, some patients run into difficulties when it comes to wearing their trays the required amount of time. Here’s more about why this rule is so important for your treatment along with some tips to help you stick with it.
The Importance of the 22-Hour Rule
The 22-hour rule isn’t arbitrary or made-up; there’s a very good reason for it! Invisalign works by gradually shifting your teeth into a straighter and more natural position over the course of a few months. Since this process happens over time, the amount of discomfort that you feel is minimal. Each set of trays is worn for a predetermined set of time, usually around two weeks, before you swap to a new set.
As you progress through different sets of trays, the newer ones will be straighter than the previous ones to match your teeth’s progress. However, the only way to ensure that your teeth are progressing like they’re supposed to is by wearing your aligners for 22 hours every single day. Even missing a few days or hours can set back your treatment!
Tips For Meeting the 22-Hour Wear Time
It might seem daunting to have to wear your aligners for 22 hours every day, but it’s entirely possible! If you’re encountering difficulty, here are some tips to help you out:
- Remove your aligners for a set amount of time each day – You should only take your trays out when it’s time to eat; aim for about 15 minutes for breakfast, 30 minutes for lunch, and about an hour for dinner. This should give you plenty of time to eat and clean your aligners without compromising the 22-hour rule.
- Advance to your new trays before going to bed – When it’s time for your next set of trays, swap to them before going to bed. This way you’ll sleep through the initial discomfort of wearing new trays.
- Try to multi-task when wearing your aligners – If your trays aren’t in your mouth, you should be cleaning them to reduce the amount of time they’re spending outside of your mouth.
- Practice good oral hygiene habits – Brushing and flossing after every meal is extra important if you have Invisalign; this will prevent food debris from being trapped under your aligners.
- Use technology to assist you – Apps like Tray Minder are useful for keeping track of your wear time. Even setting a timer can help you remember to pop your trays back in after eating!
You won’t be a master of wearing your Invisalign trays right off the bat—it’ll take some time to get used to wearing them for 22 hours every day. That said, knowing what’s at stake and establishing good habits will go a long way towards guaranteeing your aligners are able to provide you with a beautiful new smile.
About the Practice
21st Century Dental of Irving is proud to serve patients and families in the Irving area under the leadership of five skilled specialists: Dr. Kent Smith, Dr. Jeff Roy, Dr. Ashley Bristow, Dr. Alon Shalev, and Dr. Allison Veytsman. Together they combine several decades of experience to provide all of their patients with an elite level of dental care. Their practice is pleased to offer many available services including Invisalign. If you have any questions about Invisalign or would like to schedule a visit, you can contact the practice online or over the phone: (972) 255-3712.