Invisalign aligners are a great orthodontic treatment for misaligned teeth. But if you don’t take proper care of them, you may find yourself in some embarrassing situations. Invisalign aligners are easy to discolor and they may accumulate bacteria if not cleaned properly. This build-up affects the health and smell of your mouth.
Want to keep your teeth clean and healthy and your aligners unnoticeable? Here are some of the tips you ought to know from the get-go.
1. Cleaning vs Rinsing Your Aligners: Know the Difference
While rinsing your aligners might remove superficial dirt, lots of unseen bacteria remain unaddressed. Invisalign recommends the following cleaning steps when you remove your aligners every night:
- Rinse your aligners with water
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to brush your aligners. Add a gentle clear liquid soap to remove food particles and debris that’s accumulated throughout the day. Keep a separate toothbrush from the one you use to brush your teeth.
- After brushing, thoroughly rinse your aligners with water
- Store the aligners in a protective case when you’re not wearing them.
2. Get Some Cleaning Accessories
Invisalign sells several products to help you maintain your clear aligners. One of them is Steraligner, a product comprising of rubbing alcohol and sodium bicarbonate. Place your aligners in the tray they come with and soak them for 3 minutes. Sodium bicarbonate is a natural antiseptic that removes the bacteria buildup in your aligners. After soaking your aligners for 3 minutes, rinse off the sterilizing solution and brush them with warm water.
Invisalign also has another product known as Cleaning Crystals. You dissolve them in water and soak your aligners. These crystals contain sodium sulfate and other cleansing agents for effective stain removal and sterilization.
3. Avoid Harsh Cleansers
Some cleansers are too harsh and they can damage your aligners. These cleansers include:
- Toothpaste (for real, leave the toothpaste for your teeth)
- Scented soaps that will leave your aligners with a bitter taste
- Mouthwashes that contain alcohol
- Denture cleaners
We also discourage using soaps with added dyes; red, green, or blue soaps because they can stain your aligners. Course brushes may also scratch and damage your aligners.
4. Take Out Your Aligners Before Eating
Always take out your clear aligners before eating. It’s easy for food particles to build up on or damage them. Take them out when you’re drinking too unless it’s water. Beverages like tea, wine, and coffee can stain your aligners.
5. Plan Ahead
Your clear aligners should be replaced every few weeks as part of your treatment. If you’re traveling and need to change your aligners away from home, remember to pack the new ones. Disrupting your treatment by overwearing your aligners may tamper with the results.
6. Brush and Floss Before Putting the Trays Back In
Wearing clear aligners doesn’t exempt you from the necessary oral hygiene practices. Brush and floss your teeth before you put your trays back in. This prevents leaving food particles trapped inside the aligners, which can accelerate bacterial growth.
Pros and Cons of Invisalign Aligners
Invisalign typically correct the same dental issues you’d get braces for. They include
- Crowded teeth
- Gap teeth
- Open bite
- Some types of crossbite, underbite, and overbite
Are you considering getting Invisalign clear aligners? Here are some pros and cons to aid your decision-making:
Advantages of Invisalign
- The clear aligners are less noticeable compared to metal braces
- The trays are removable
- Since you can remove the aligners, it’s so much easier to brush and floss your teeth. Braces require that you work around the wires and brackets, and you may leave food particles stuck between your teeth.
- Metal braces can break or detach, requiring an emergency visit to the clinic. Invisalign aligners have fewer potential problems.
- For maximum benefit, you must wear your aligners for at least 20 hours each day. It’s a small price to pay for better-aligned teeth.
- Invisalign aligners may not be the best option for you if you’ve had bridgework on some teeth.
If you just started your Invisalign treatment, you want to make sure you achieve the desired results. The best way to ensure efficacy is by maintaining your aligners properly and keeping up with your oral hygiene. Even though you get to change your aligners every couple of weeks, it’s vital to keep them clean and damage-free. Do your part with the tips above and enjoy clean and healthy teeth at the end of your Invisalign treatment. And avoid using hot water to clean your trays, they’re made of flexible plastic, remember?