Wearing Invisalign for 20 Hours Per Day

wearing Invisalign for 20 hours per day

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

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.

But snacks!

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.

First Week with Invisalign

Aiming to correct my teeth - Invisalign

My first week of Invisalign flew by; I’m already on my second tray and a lot has happened.

First Tray – Tuesday, July 25

I went to the orthodontist’s office after work. An orthodontic technician came over showed me my trays and went over some of the minutia like:

  • Keeping trays you’re done with so you have back ups if anything happens to your current tray
  • Cleaning your tray(s)
  • Teaching me how to insert and remove them
  • Teaching me how to use Chewies

Then, the orthodontist came over and examined the fit, made sure I was good to go. We went back over my ClinCheck – by tray 25 (of 40) I should have what appears (compared to now!) to be straight teeth.

I was surprised to find, however, a space for the tooth I just had extracted. They offered to add something to it so that spot appeared to have a tooth, but since it is clear, the gap is tiny, and my lower teeth don’t show when I speak, I opted out of it. The spot for tooth 26 is there in my first through third trays, then is absent starting the fourth. It makes sense to me to have it extracted before starting treatment, but I’m not entirely sure I understand why there is a tooth-shaped space for it in the trays.

 

First Week with Invisalign

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Steam of Consciousness & Chatter

Earlier this week, I received a digital copy of my ClinCheck treatment review. I’m beyond excited about it, and even though I’m fairly self-conscious about my teeth, I shared it on Instagram. How millennial of me.

A post shared by Beauty Skeptic (@beautyskeptic) on



Each stage is a new tray!

Tomorrow, I have an extraction. Tuesday, I get my first Invisalign aligner trays. To celebrate that, let’s take a brief break from my usual, structured content.

Every now and then we all have a thought we want to share for the amusement of others or to get their opinions. I tend to experience them in bursts, but since my husband obviously has no interest in beauty-related-anything, I don’t commonly have an outlet. Sometimes I take to Twitter when it occurs to me, but I’m just not engaging enough on Twitter, ha.

In no particular order…


Ever apply a self-tanner with a color guide or instant bronzing effect and wonder, “Who the hell did they met that this shade would be flattering on, ever?”

Seriously. It wasn’t orange, it wasn’t bronze, it wasn’t brown – it was the least-possibly-flattering mix of all three with just a touch of green thrown in. I am pretty sure humans just don’t come in this color. Prodigious.

I was applying a gradual sunless tanner that also had an instant effect and this occurred to me while I was smearing it unattractively all over my face. My husband looked on in horror. “Don’t worry, it comes off,” I explained. Horror turned to confusion. “…it stimulates melanin production, so what you see now is basically just dye.”

Afterwards, the natural coloring that develops is pretty nice. But maybe don’t go out in public with Tanwise Self-Tanning Face Gel on your face.


I really enjoy having painted nails. After executing a manicure, I sat there, supplies before me, pouting. Why? Because it was 8:30PM and I just spent 20 minutes and still had about hour to go if I wanted flawless polish. The world is cruel.

You know who didn’t have to wait for painted nails?

Sailor Moon.

I called it a night, finished drafting posts and went to bed with naked nails.

#moonprismpower


…But like why invest in product development and R&D when you can throw lavish influencer party-vacations with luxury presents that aren’t even affiliated with the brand? Or, remarkably, invest in ways to slightly lower cost (and price to boost popularity WITHOUT sacrificing handsome profit margins)?

Just sayin’.

#exclusivityiskey


A girlfriend of mine with badass hair tried Overtone conditioner to help revive her hair since she got screwed over for her next color appointment. The regular conditioner made her color-treated hair soft and punched a little more life into it after one use. She expects that the Weekly Deep Treatment will do more for her, though.

This first picture is her fresh from the salon…

 

…and this second one is eight weeks later with Overtone. It’s no secret how difficult it is to maintain red, so these are great results!

My silver-haired girlfriend (yes, she’s still rocking the silver!) will be pleased to know that 1) it works and 2) it is both cruelty-free and vegan.

As for me, I’m shocked and entertained that it isn’t only intended for maintenance. Their photos suggest that you can color with it, check it out:

I’m not up for Exciting Hair at this point in my life (in fact, I have another balayage appointment soon – I’m such an exciting human) but I really enjoy watching the transformations. Out of curiosity, I’m going to look into real-life attempts; I think it would be interesting to see if it can live up to its claims.


Here’s to an undoubtedly lame weekend with gauze in my mouth and the first uncomfortable step to a straighter smile. I will be changing gauze, eating applesauce and mashed potatoes, pouting, taking ibuprofen, folding laundry, and writing this weekend – what are your plans?

Invisalign Update

Aiming to correct my teeth - Invisalign

Note: Although there are a TON of content creators with Invisalign sponsorship deals, I am not one of them. I’m too small to be of notice, ha! I plunked down a few thousand dollars of my own hard-earned money from my fabulous day job for this. Writing the check made me cringe – so don’t worry! No rose-colored lenses here; expect nothing short of brutal honesty of this process. Any affiliate links are my usual Amazon or Shopstyle links which you can reference the side bar regarding my policy towards. :)

On the 27th, I went back to my orthodontist to review my ClinCheck. ClinCheck is Invisalign’s digital treatment plan; a provider (orthodontist) logs in to their web application to review and approve the planned course of treatment. Since then, I’ve been trying to get into the habit of brushing and flossing after each meal in advance of my huge lifestyle change becoming mandatory. I’m not at my target compliance yet; if I’m not by the time I get my trays, I shall suffer the, “growing pains,” and adhere anyway.

On Adherence to the Care Protocols

I’ve seen forums and commentary from Invisalign patients who ‘fessed up to an overall lax approach to the care protocols. I’ve seen tales of people drinking coffee (or worse, soda!) with the aligners in, not brushing after eating, or not wearing them at least 20 hours per day and I can’t help but (silently, to myself) shout, “WHY?! What on earth is wrong with you!?”

Braces in general are expensive. Invisalign tends to be (but isn’t always) more expensive. I cannot fathom why you would spend thousands of dollars trying to correct a particular issue and then just opt out of the protocols that are critical to not only its success but to your health. I’m not saying people need to be perfect 100% of the time – that isn’t realistic; life happens, etc. But I am saying two things:

You aren’t the magical exception to the rule – your teeth aren’t the special snowflakes that can ignore your doctor’s guidance when it is convenient for you and still achieve the forecast results.

You spent lots of money on this. By doing whatever the hell you feel like during the process, you’re saying, “I don’t care about what happens to these thousands of dollars!” Which, hey, your money – but what a charmed life one must live to callously throw away something like that.

Okay, rant over.

Before My First Aligners

Before I get my first set of trays, I have to get a single extraction. My idiot jaw is too small for all the teeth I have, alas. To make space, correct my lower midline, and a whole bunch of other stuff, tooth 26 will be coming out on July 22. Here’s a diagram; teeth 17-32 are the lower teeth.

In my case, tooth 26 is rude and juts forward in front of its neighbors, 27 and 25 and causes 27 to be slightly turned. As a result of its extroverted nature, it has some gum recession – so it’s a perfect candidate to GTFO.

Juggling

From my understanding, some Invisalign providers are able to offer in-house extractions if/when they are necessary. Mine does not, so it was on me to coordinate appointments. I had a narrow 2-4 day between appointments window to adhere to; fortunately, I lucked out on scheduling.

Time for Trays

After the extraction, I have a few days for the extraction site to calm down and stop profusely bleeding and being a jerk. For my case, my orthodontist advised my that my appointments needed to be about 2-4 days apart to make sure that a) I had some time to recover but b) Not too much time so that my teeth did not move unfavorably. Then, on July 25, I get my first set of Invisalign trays from my orthodontist. At that point, I’ll learn how to care for my trays, best practices, and all that jazz.

What’s Next?

A month later, in August, I go back to the orthodontist to have attachments applied. Attachments are little tooth-colored nubs that help the aligners snap into place; they help the tray provide more leverage which facilitates teeth moving. I have … a bunch of them. I haven’t received my own copy of my ClinCheck yet (Yes! They can send you one!) and I can’t remember how many I have in my future. I do know, however, that my orthodontist did not place them on my two front teeth so it’d be less obvious that I had weird buttons on my teeth.

Kit Update

I added another item to my Invisalign Purse Kit – this little $1> Nalgene bottle holds my mouthwash! It was super cheap and I love it. I also picked up this fragrance free, dye-free Method soap because I’ve seen it recommended for trays. If for some reason my orthodontist recommends I not use it, hey – I have some fragrance free hand soap now!

Invisalign X-Rays and 3D Scans

On Monday, I mentioned regular content was returning next week. I have an Invisalign update for now – so here’s this for today, then we’ll be post-less on Friday, then back on Monday.

A week ago, I went in for my Invisalign X-Rays and 3D oral scan that are used by my orthodontist and Invisalign to develop my treatment plan. X-Rays were taken like any are, but the scanner – man, if you appreciate technology, this thing is neat.

Instead of taking impressions with a weird goo that you bite into for a couple minutes (which I would have had to do, had I opted for SmileDirectClub), my 3D scan was taken via an iTero Element intraoral imaging device. A tech uses a small wand to take high-resolution scans of your mouth; it then assembles them into a 3D rendering of your mouth. It is weird and awesome all at once. I haven’t had issues with impressions before, but apparently using the scanner is better for people who have gagging issues.

My orthodontist says based on experience, my case will run about 18 months, require a single extraction, and require attachments. Attachments are small, tooth-colored nubs that they will affix to certain teeth to facilitate the process. The clear aligners will fit over the nubs. Patients report varying degrees of visibility of them; regardless, I’m fairly unconcerned. Most people in my life, including people I work with, know that I’m pursuing this. I’m not embarrassed by that much.

I return to the practice in about two weeks to review my ClinCheck – that’s what Invisalign calls the progression of their treatment plan. In the meantime, I’ve been trying to get a head-start on adjusting my eating and drinking habits to support my soon-to-be-restricted eating and drinking regimen.

In support of that, I’ve started assembling a purse-friendly care kit. Because I 1) work and 2) can’t just eat breakfast and dinner and still be a reasonable human being, at least five meals a week take place away from home. I need to be prepared.

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