Maria Cardenas patient



10 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting Invisalign®

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, "I had braces when I was younger, but I never wore my retainer and my teeth shifted back". Or in my personal case, threw it away at a Panera and didn’t want to tell my mom and make her order a new one.

Obviously, teenagers are not as concerned with the long-term results of orthodontic treatment. As an adult however, especially when it’s coming out of your own pocket, you want to make sure you have all the information before making a big commitment like Invisalign® treatment. To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of 10 things you might not know before you get started.

 It’s so easy to get started

One of the most common reasons people put off getting Invisalign (especially after having braces as a teen) is simply not wanting to go through all the hassle. The thought of traditional dental impressions alone deters some patients. The good news is that we now have 3D scanning technology that allows us to get a complete digital impression of your mouth in just a few minutes without the goopy mess.

Results are also typically seen much faster than with metal braces. On average, our patients are usually in treatment about 4-6 months.

 You may have a lisp

Although Invisalign trays are comfortable and discreet, wearing them will take some getting used to. You’ll probably notice a lisp at the start of treatment, but it should go away as you adapt to speaking with the trays in.

 You may need attachments

In some cases, small pieces of composite material are placed on teeth to provide anchor points for aligners. These attachments allow for more orthodontic force on individual teeth, when needed. They take a little getting used to at first but after a while you’ll barely notice them.

 Change trays before bed

While Invisalign is not painful like traditional metal braces, some patients do experience discomfort when switching to a new aligner. It doesn’t typically last more than a day and can be minimized by making the switch before you go to bed. This way you can sleep right through the first 8 hours or so.

 Oral hygiene is a top priority

Saliva provides essential protection for your teeth and gums by flushing food debris from your mouth. It also contains antibodies to fight bacteria and protect your enamel. Since aligners fit tightly against your teeth, they create a barrier, keeping saliva out and bacteria in. Therefore, it is very important to stay on top of your oral hygiene including better home care and more frequent hygiene appointments. Typically, it is recommended to have a dental cleaning every six months but when using Invisalign we will want to see you every three months. If you're overdue, you can schedule your hygiene visit here.

 Nails / PulTool

If you’re the kind of person who gets your nails done on a regular basis, you’ll want to look into Invisalign tools for removing your aligners. Constantly using your fingers and nails to pop out your trays will really take a toll on that manicure! The PulTool is a great little tool that fits right in your Invisalign case to make it easier (and more hygienic) to both remove and seat your aligners.

 It’s a commitment

Invisalign has many advantages over traditional braces, but it requires more discipline. You’ll need to wear your aligners at least 22 hours per day for optimal results. Overall treatment time can be delayed by things like forgetting to put them back in after eating, not switching to the next tray on time or not wearing them as much as recommended. You’ll also need to increase your oral hygiene at home as well as in-office cleanings. Most patients adjust to these practices easily but if you have a hectic lifestyle or travel often, this is something to consider.

 Don’t throw away old trays

No matter how careful you are, there’s a good chance that at some point during your treatment, an aligner will get misplaced, accidently thrown away, eaten by a dog (yes, it’s happened). We just talked about how important it is to wear your aligners at least 22 hours per day and you could be waiting more than a few days if you need to order a replacement. This will set you back on your progress and overall treatment duration.

If you still have your previous aligner and can wear it until your replacement arrives (or until it’s time to switch to your next tray) your treatment may not be as delayed.

 Your diet may change

Since it is recommended to only drink water when wearing aligners, you’ll likely miss the days when you could slowly enjoy a coffee and snacking throughout the day was easy. While the process can be a bit annoying to remove aligners, eat or drink quickly and brush your teeth before putting them back in, many patients look at is a good way to lose a few pounds by cutting out the mindless snacking and only eating when they are truly hungry.


At the end of your Invisalign treatment, you must continue to wear retainers to keep your teeth in place. You’ll likely start out always wearing your retainer and eventually get down to only wearing it at night. At our practice, your first set of retainers is included with your treatment, but you will need to purchase replacements when those wear out.


Maria Cardenas DMD:
Platinum Invisalign Provider in Greater Boston

 Here at Maria Cardenas DMD, we always want to be as transparent as possible with our patients and make sure you have all the information before starting any type of treatment and Invisalign is no exception.

 With these 10 things we went over here, we hope you have a better understanding of the pros and cons of Invisalign treatment. But we are always here if you have more questions.

 Our goal is to provide our patients with the best oral health care and education while building lasting relationships. We believe in getting to know the person behind the smile. You’ll be sure to enjoy a first-class experience whether it’s your first or fiftieth visit at our boutique dental practice.

 Your smile journey begins here. In addition to offering clear aligner therapy in Wellesley, Maria Cardenas DMD is proud to offer a wide variety of cosmetic, restorative, and general dental services. From teeth whitening to veneers to implants and more, we are here to help with all your dental needs!

 For more information about Invisalign in Greater Boston or to get scheduled at our Wellesley dental clinic, please feel free to call or text us at 781-235-1900. After hours, you can also fill out our contact form and we will reach out to you as soon as we are back in the office.