August 3, 2022
Invisalign has taken the world of modern dentistry by storm! These awesome aligners are able to easily correct crooked smiles and provide patients with an unparalleled boost in self-confidence. But this transformation doesn’t happen overnight; the aligners must be worn for 22 hours every day throughout your treatment process in order for the intended results to manifest. Here’s more about why the 22-hour rule is so crucial for Invisalign’s success, along with some tips for ensuring that you’re able to follow it and keep your treatment right on track.
Breaking Down the 22-Hour Rule
The 22-hour rule isn’t arbitrary by any means—there is a very good reason for it! Invisalign works by slowly shifting your crooked teeth into straighter and healthier positions over the course of a few months (though the timeframe depends on the patient’s individual circumstances). Since this process is occurring very gradually, the amount of discomfort that you feel is virtually nonexistent.
You’ll wear each set of trays for a predetermined amount of time, usually two or so weeks, before advancing to the following set of trays. Each advancement is meant to match your teeth’s progress, which is why wearing the trays frequently is so important—the only way to ensure that your teeth are shifting as intended is by wearing the aligners correctly and constantly. Even missing a few days or hours can set back your treatment! That said, wearing your aligners for 22 hours, 7 days a week should be your top priority.
Tips for Easily Following the 22-Hour Rule
Fortunately, there are many things you can do to make wearing your trays for 22 hours every day more manageable. Here are some tips to help:
- Remove your aligners for a set amount of time every day – You should only be taking your aligners out of your mouth whenever it’s time to eat. Aim to remove them for about 15 minutes for breakfast, 30 minutes for lunch, and an hour for dinnertime—this should give you plenty of time to eat without compromising the 22-hour rule.
- Take care of your aligners – If your aligners aren’t in your mouth or being cleaned, they should be safely stored in their carrying case. Damaged or lost aligners will only delay your treatment progress!
- Swap to your new trays before bedtime – When it’s time to advance to your next set of trays, consider swapping before bedtime, so you’re sleeping through the initial discomfort of wearing new trays.
- Use technology to your advantage – Apps like Tray Minder can be useful for monitoring your daily wear time. Even simply setting a timer whenever you remove your aligners to eat can help you remember to replace them promptly afterwards.
- Practice good oral habits – Brushing after every meal and flossing regularly is extra important if you have Invisalign; this prevents food debris from becoming trapped underneath your aligners!
You shouldn’t expect to be a master of wearing your Invisalign right off the bat; it’ll take some time to adjust to wearing the trays frequently. That said, knowing what’s at stake and maintaining good habits will ensure that your new smile is delivered right on schedule.
About the Author
A native Texan himself, Dr. George T. Philip is proud to serve patients and families in the Sunnyvale area. Dr. Philip received his dental doctorate from the Nova Southeastern University College of Dental Medicine and is a proud member of several professional organizations including the American Dental Association, the Texas Dental Association, and the Academy of General Dentistry. His practice is pleased to offer many available services including Invisalign. To schedule an appointment, please visit the practice’s website or give them a call: (972) 285-6144.
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