There tons of blogs and forums out there with reports from people saying that wearing Invisalign for 20 hours per day is, “impossible.” Invisalign recommends 22 hours of wear per day, which I strive for, but many orthodontists confess that between 20 and 22 should do it.
How I Manage Wearing Invisalign for 20 Hours per Day
I personally haven’t found it hard to wear them as directed. My average wear time is about 22 hours and 23 minutes per day; my maximum time with the trays out so far has been two full hours, and my minimum has been one hour and fifteen minutes.
For me, it’s simple – I really want straight teeth and I invested a lot of money to achieve a smile I am happier with. This takes short-term sacrifice and diligence on my part. The trade off is easy.
At home, I pop my trays out, eat and drink, then take care of oral hygiene. During dinner, I place my trays in my ultrasonic cleaning bath (okay, seriously, it’s just a little tub with a motor – but that’s what they called it) with some Retainer Brite. After dinner, I’ll take a quick shower (and whiten my teeth with Plus White at the same time) while my trays are still marinating in the solution. Then, I get out, do the whole oral hygiene thing, and I’m good to go!
When I’m Out
Even with eating meals away from home, I do the following to keep them out as little as possible:
- Order water to drink. If I want something other than water, I’ll wait to drink it until my meal arrives.
- Keep trays in until food is about to arrive.
- Be mindful of eating pace; I’m naturally inclined to be a slow eater. Invisalign is forcing me not to linger over my meals.
- As soon as I’m done eating, go take care of oral hygiene. Frequently, if I’m out to lunch with coworkers, we leave shortly after and I just take care of this at the office.
At least half of my meals are consumed away from home – it isn’t that hard!
Stop the Excuses
Anyone should be able to average at least 20 hours a day and most people, I’d argue, should be able to achieve 22 hours per day wear at least half of the time. The complaints I read cited excuses that sound an awful lot like non-commitment to me.
Get over it. You just spent, directly or indirectly if you’re lucky enough to have insurance that covers them, thousands of dollars on orthodontic treatment.
If you eat properly at mealtimes you will be less inclined to snack. I’m not perched atop some high horse; my diet isn’t the model by which anyone should be basing their life. I’m not a dietician or nutritionist, and I need help; I use MyFitnessPal to record what I eat and to make sure I’m getting enough of what I need.
I’ve been snack-free since July 23rd.
You can, too.
Well I’m a busy mom and, like, it’s just *hard*
No doubt; I bet being a busy mom is hard! But no one said orthodontic treatment is a cakewalk. Being negligent towards your own orthodontic treatment sets a poor example, too; if/when your kids end up in braces or Invisalign, how can you expect your kids to take proper care seriously if you can’t be bothered?
I don’t have time to bother with wearing Invisalign for 20 hours per day! I have a life!
Here’s an unpopular truth: you have time. We all have the time. You just aren’t choosing to reserve some time for this, which you should have done before you committed to Invisalign in the first place. Part of the commitment is making the time to take it seriously; it isn’t like you’re just forking over a few grand to wake up the next day with a straight smile.
I need my coffee.
Join the club? Get up, eat something and drink a coffee. If you need to refresh your
lifeblood coffee reserves throughout the day, the nice thing is that you shouldn’t have to floss. You can just brush (or even skate by with an aggressive rinse as long as your coffee of choice isn’t chock full of sugar).
The Bottom Line
Orthodontists don’t keep the requirements for wear a secret. Don’t choose treatment unless you can also choose discipline! I suggest going through the motions of what your life will be like with them before you commit. Can you eliminate snacks (or make the time to take care of oral hygiene after each snack)? Can you eat your meals quickly and remember to tend to your oral hygiene and reinsertion of trays with a sense of urgency? Will you be able to overcome the potential of a slight lisp? If you cannot commit to wearing Invisalign for 20 hours per day, consider other options.
If I, a 50+ hour-per-week working professional who eats more than half of my meals outside of my house, can manage to wear them for 22 hours a day, you should be able to wear them for twenty.