If you’re considering ways to upgrade your smile, you may be thinking about Invisalign. These clear aligners fit over your teeth and are less noticeable, less permanent, and less invasive than traditional metal braces.
But since they haven’t been around as long as traditional braces, you may be wondering about the side effects. Will Invisalign affect your ability to eat and talk normally? Will you be able to go about your normal life? The good news is, there are many ways in which Invisalign actually impacts your life less than traditional braces.
Eating Your Favorite Foods
Invisalign does not get in the way of enjoying your favorite foods. This is because the trays are removable, meaning that you can take them off while eating.
Unlike traditional metal braces, which are stuck on your teeth for years or months at a time, Invisalign trays are specifically designed to be removable. In fact, we recommend removing them while eating. As long as you’re wearing the trays for 20-22 hours each day, you’ll get the full benefit. This means that you also don’t have to avoid certain foods that can get stuck in or damage traditional braces, such as popcorn, nuts, pretzels, and just about anything crunchy. Plus, there are no worries about having to make an emergency dental appointment because something you ate damaged your braces brackets or wires.
You will want to avoid gum, though, since it will stick to your aligner trays. And, while there aren’t any specific restrictions on what you can or can’t drink while wearing Invisalign, it’s possible that coffee, tea and red wine may cause your trays to stain. It can be helpful to drink beverages other than water with a straw to minimize contact between the drink and your Invisalign trays. Keeping the temperature of hot beverages reasonable will also help ensure that you aren’t at risk of damaging your trays with steaming hot drinks.
Talking While Wearing Invisalign
Invisalign, like any orthodontic appliance that stays in your mouth, may take a few days to get used to. During that time, your tongue may also need to get used to having the aligner trays in your mouth. So, it is possible that you could experience a very slight, and temporary, change in your speech for the first couple days after starting Invisalign.
If this does happen, it will most likely affect how you sound when you pronounce “s” or “sh” sounds, and will be minor enough that other people will probably not notice it. Once you’re used to wearing Invisalign, it should go away completely. In the really unlikely event that you experience a speech problem that doesn’t go away, talk to you doctor. It could be a sign that your Invisalign mold is ill-fitting or not properly placed.
Invisalign is made out of a very thin plastic, and the vast majority of people who use both Invisalign and traditional braces don’t experience any speech impediments. It’s also pretty unlikely that you would develop a lisp with each new set of aligner trays. By that point, you’ve gotten used to wearing them, and the new trays are similar enough to the previous ones that there is very little adjustment your tongue needs to do.
If you find yourself feeling self conscious at first about speaking while wearing Invisalign, one of the best ways to move past it is to simply practice speaking. It may seem silly, but reading aloud (to yourself or others) and talking with people will help you get used to talking with Invisalign trays even faster. After all, the goal of repositioning your teeth with Invisalign is to help you have a healthy smile you can feel confident about.