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What to Expect with Invisalign Braces

min read

By Katherine George

Most of us are willing to spend a pretty penny on our teeth to make sure we have a pearly white smile that is nice and straight! In many cases, this any dental work like braces will be taken care of during those awkward adolescent years, and you’ll never look back. But that’s not the case for everyone! There are many people who either didn’t have the option to receive orthodontic treatment when they were young, either for financial reasons or because their need for it wasn’t as dire. Luckily as an adult, they now have the option to straighten their smile without the embarrassment of wearing hard-wired braces to work every day. Invisalign clear aligners are quickly growing in popularity among adults looking to improve their smile.

What’s so appealing about aligners is that not only are they invisible, but the treatment is also relatively easy to follow. While the process can be a little more regimented than the hard-wired braces due to the fact that it’s often done in a shorter amount of time, patients are able to take their Invisalign out when they need to and in most cases, they wear it without anyone even noticing! Interested in getting Invisalign clear aligners? Here’s everything to expect with Invisalign braces…

1. You Have to Wear Them for 22 Hours a Day

Invisalign clear aligners sound almost too good to be true and while they are pretty amazing, they do require a lot of work and self control. You are able to take the aligners out whenever needed which means it can be tempting to pop them out numerous times throughout the day for a break here and there, especially in the beginning when they hurt or you’re still trying to master talking with them in. While the temptation is there — don’t go for it. In order for Invisalign to work, the aligners must be worn for at least 22-hours a day. The other two hours are really just to allow time for the patient to eat.

2. You’ll Brush Your Teeth a Dozen Times a Day

One of the main reasons Invisalign is so popular is because it’s invisible and can be worn without anyone really noticing. What’s not to like about that? Again, there’s a catch. You can’t eat or drink with them in. If you’re someone who dreads brushing their teeth or doesn’t have the kind of job where they can be running off to the bathroom to brush their teeth throughout the day, then this might pose a bit of a problem. Most people can make it work, but it’s good to know ahead of time that you’ll likely be brushing your teeth about 6 times a day, depending on how much you eat and drink throughout the day.

The clear aligners have to removed because they can get stained. Also there’s a risk of plaque and food particles getting in the way of the teeth moving which can also lead to cavities and bad breath. While you might be tempted not to, it’s best to brush your teeth after any and every snack or drink.

3. You Need to Carry a Toothbrush With You Everywhere

Before getting the Invisalign clear aligners, be sure to start stocking toothbrushes everywhere and invest in a nice little compact brush! This is because you’ll be brushing your teeth constantly. Every single time you eat or drink something that isn’t water, you have to brush your teeth. Gentlemen, you’ll have to keep one in your desk at work and ladies, you’ll want to stash one in your purse. Soon enough you’ll get used to the idea of running to the bathroom at work and brushing your teeth at lunch, or any other public bathroom for that matter. On the plus side, you’ll likely meet some new friends who are in there doing the same thing! To learn more tips for Invisalign braces, check out this article on Tips Every Patient Should Know About Invisalign Braces.

4. You’ll Get Lots of Attachments

When we think of Invisalign it seems pretty flawless. You might even know someone who already has it and can see that it actually is quite invisible. While this is true, just know that every patient’s mouth is different and yours might not look or feel the same as someone else. The way the clear aligners stay secured to the teeth is with attachments. According to these attachments are often enamel-colored ridges that stick to the side of the teeth like brackets. “These attachments click into the Invisalign aligners to help the teeth move more effectively. Without the aligners in, the attachment bumps are virtually invisible. But with the aligners in, it looks like you have clear braces,” writes the source. You could have two attachments or have 20 and there’s a big difference between them!

5. They Are Expensive

Anytime orthodontic treatment is involved, we already know it’s going to be expensive. You might already know this if you’re someone who has paid for it in the past or heard their parents grumbling about it back when you were a kid. This is because orthodontic treatment is not always covered by insurance, so sometimes it’s paid out of pocket. This is the same for Invisalign clear aligners. What makes it even worse is that they aren’t cheap!

According to Colgate, Invisalign clear aligners tend to be a little bit more pricey than traditional braces. This is likely because the demand is high and they know the demographic who are looking for clear aligners are likely adults who are willing to spend the extra money for the luxury of having clear braces. It’s difficult to put a clear cut price on Invisalign aligners but Colgate notes that the cost will likely fall between $3,500 and $8,000. The best way to learn about pricing is to visit an orthodontist and get an actual quote.

The source also notes that there are several factors that come into play with pricing. “The factors that come into play are the extent of the alignment your teeth require and how many aligners you need throughout treatment. The typical cost of regular braces varies widely, but is usually in the range of $2,500 to $6,000. Again, the cost varies on a case-by-case basis, depending on your individual needs, and should be discussed with your dentist.”

6. They Will Be Painful and Cause Sensitivity

Anyone that has any kind of sensitivity in their mouth will it, and according to Aura Orthodontics, this could be one of the side effects of Invisalign aligners. In a blog post written by the practice, they state that patients sometimes experience some sensitivity when they first start wearing the aligners and when they switch to a new tray. Most of the time the discomfort associated with this is mild and doesn’t last longer than a few days. Don’t worry too much about it, it just means the treatment is working! The best thing to do for sensitivity is to avoid cold drinks for a few days and stick to eating only soft foods.

One of their tips to combat the pain that is sometimes associated with Invisalign is to switch out the new tray at night before bed so that you’re asleep during the most painful hours of the new transition.

7. You Can Only Drink Cold Water

As we’ve already discussed in this article, the only thing that can be consumed while wearing Invisalign clear aligners is cold water. This isn’t good news for anyone who is an avid coffee drinker like me. I have to start every morning with a cup of coffee. While it’s not the end of the world if you are. You can just pop them out, enjoy a cup of coffee. You’ll need to then run to the bathroom, brush your teeth and then put the aligners back in. Remember, you only get two hours aligner free a day, so you won’t want to be popping them in and out or nursing a cup of coffee over a long period of time.

8. The Attachments Stain Easily

You can easily avoid staining the clear aligners by popping them in and out when eating, but those attachments that hold the aligners in place are fastened to the side of your teeth and cannot be removed. This is another reason why it’s super important to be quite diligent with brushing your teeth. According to, the attachments stina really easily. “The practically invisible composite begins to look like orange corn kernel pieces stuck all over their teeth. Yukc! As a result, every cup of coffee or tea must be immediately followed by a teeth brushing,” writes the source.

9. You’ll Have a Lisp

There’s no real way around this one so it’s best to just accept it! You will likely have a bit of a lisp when you first start wearing your Invisalign aligners. Don’t worry, it gets better. You’ll learn to master it after wearing them for a week or so. Before you know it, people will not only not be able to see the aligners, but they won’t be able to hear them either!

10. You Might Lose Weight

Have you ever heard of the ‘Invisalign diet?’ This term was coined after people starting wearing Invisalign and noticing a slight change in their weight. This began to happen because of all the strict rules around eating and drinking with the Invisalign. In the beginning, you might not mind running to the bathroom after enjoying a quick snack or cup of coffee, but after a few months of this, you might start to get, well, lazy and begin sacrificing these extra snacks throughout the day in order to save a trip to the bathroom. As a result, you’ll find that you’re eating less.

11. You Can’t Smoke

Smoking isn’t recommended to anyone in general whether you’re wearing Invisalign aligners or not! However, we know that there are still people out there who do smoke so it’s important to note that a patient cannot smoke while wearing them, says Dental Choice in a blog post. The rule is the same as it is for food or drink, you cannot consume anything while wearing them because they will get stained. The only thing that can be consumed while wearing the aligners is water (can’t be hot water).

12. You Have to Use a Retainer When Treatment is Finished

You might think once the Invisalign program is complete that you can say goodbye to anymore treatment, you’re wrong! It doesn’t end there. Dental Choice writes in a blog post that in order to maintain that perfectly straight smile, you’ll need to wear a retainer afterwards. Teeth have a nasty habit of shifting back to their original state. This happens even with people who wore braces. The follow-up treatment is different for each and every patient, it all depends on the severity and state of their teeth. You might have to wear the last set of Invisalign aligners for a bit longer to help transition into a retainer and depending on the situation, you’ll have to use the retainer every day or only at night.

Senior Managing Editor

Katherine is the Senior Managing Editor of ActiveBeat and Childhood. She is constantly striving to live a more active and healthy life, from eating healthy, exercising, and just spending more time outdoors. She enjoys cooking (with wine), walking her dog, reading, and recently joined a yoga studio!

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