What goes in, must come out: that’s the saying, isn’t it? While I doubt the original author was talking about Invisalign aligners, he (or she) really hit the nail on the head when it comes to life during Invisalign treatment. Invisalign patients may pop their aligners in and out of their mouth at least seven or eight times a day to eat or brush their teeth. All that on and off movement increases the chance for aligners to not be properly sealed around teeth. Invisalign aligners are created to be worn very snugly around teeth, at the exact right placement, to make sure teeth are moved properly. So dentists and orthodontists got together and created some fun little “tools” — aptly called Chewies® and Munchies® — to help patients ensure their aligners are fitting properly after putting them back in (and out, and in, and out, and in. . . ).
What are “Chewies®”?
You probably don’t have to guess too much to figure out what you do with a “Chewie.” Patients bite down on this little cylinder, which looks a bit like a small roll of cotton, to help “seat” aligners properly (or in other words, get rid of small air pockets in between the aligner and your teeth, as well as to make sure the aligner is as tight and firm around teeth as possible). It’s a little like chewing gum — without the bubbles, of course.
To properly chew a chewie, you should bite down on it, and move it around your teeth so every area of your mouth has a contact for at least a few minutes. Most dentists and orthodontists recommend using Chewies® a few times a day so your aligners are well-positioned and doing the most good for your straighter smile. Chewies can last a couple of days before getting all chewed up, and needing a replacement!
While Chewies are great, Dr. Medina and our team much prefer “Munchies” for Invisalign. (getting hungry yet?)
What are Munchies®?
Munchies aren’t just what you grab from a 7Eleven. The Munchies we love are much like Chewies® in that they help to give Invisalign aligners a tighter fit….but we recommend Munchies for Invisalign patients because they can do even more!
Chewing on a Munchie can actually help relieve the soreness some of our patients feel with new aligners. Using Munchies regularly can also help eliminate that troublesome gap that can appear near the gum line when aligners aren’t fitting properly. Patients can get wayward teeth back on-track by putting extra exertion on them through the force of “munching” on the munchie.
And, Munchies will last a couple of weeks before needing to be replaced, so you can munch away for days.
How should I use Munchies for Invisalign treatment?
Munchies® have a unique shape; unlike the small cylinder of a Chewie®, Munchies have three “prongs” that each have separate functions. The first side is flat and is used for biting around the entire mouth, as well as to offer pain or soreness relief. The second and third side have unique notches that can fit around incisors offering a better, more corrective platform for biting. Often, the front teeth can be the more difficult ones to properly fit within aligners; Munchies’ special design helps to get rid of slipping aligners in the front of the smile.
When it comes to guidelines on when you should use Munchies for Invisalign, and for how long, a lot of orthodontists and dentists have different opinions (and of course, every patient is different! What works for your neighbor’s teeth may not work for yours):
- Dr. John P. Bunkers, an Invisalign dentist from Glendora, California, says patients should use Munchies® for about 15 minutes, four times a day (that’s an hour for those of you attempting some quick mental math).
- Dr. David Penn, from Sydney, Australia, advises Munchies® be used each time aligners are put back into the mouth, for three minutes. *****
- Dr. David Galler, an Invisalign faculty member who practiced in New York, says Munchies® are best used for five to 10 minutes every night.
While we can’t say if one answer is “right,” when it comes to using Munchies®, the more the better. Every patient may have slightly different needs and seating issues, but for most patients, a couple of times a day, and a nightly munch before bed, should help your aligners align more effectively, and get you the results you want faster!
Now that’s something worth munching on.
Have you been contemplating Invisalign treatment? Wondering if it could work for you? Wondering what it may cost? We can answer all those questions (and any more you might have) at a cosmetic consultation with Dr. Medina, your Invisalign dentist serving Lincoln, Knox, and Waldo Counties. Give us a call today at 207-236-4740.