Invisalign is an orthodontic treatment that straightens the teeth and aligns the bite. It achieves similar results as braces, but through a different method of treatment. Invisalign consists of clear plastic trays called aligners that you wear over your teeth. The aligners gradually shift your teeth into proper alignment.
Invisalign is comfortable, convenient, and discreet, allowing you to straighten your teeth in a less noticeable way than traditional braces. There are many differences between braces and Invisalign, and one of them is the way you clean your aligners and teeth. Unlike braces that you clean while they are on your teeth, aligners are removable for cleaning. Here’s how you clean your Invisalign aligners and retainers.
Step By Step Cleaning Guide for Invisalign
- Remove your aligners. The first step is to take your aligners out of your mouth and rinse them off with cool water. Avoid hot water that could melt or warp them.
- Brush your aligners. Using a soft bristled toothbrush, brush your aligners using a liquid soap such as Dawn Dish soap or Softsoap. Do not brush them with toothpaste. It is important to use a soft bristled toothbrush that won’t scratch the plastic of your aligners. Scratches can make them appear less clear. Rinse them off thoroughly after cleaning.
- Place them in the storage case. After cleaning and rinsing your aligners, place them in the storage case that was provided by your dentist. This keeps them safe and clean while you take care of your teeth.
- Brush and floss your teeth. Brush and floss your teeth as you normally would, taking extra care to brush thoroughly to remove all plaque. Keeping your teeth clean is important because food particles and plaque that get trapped under your aligners can cause tooth decay and gum disease.
- Put your aligners back in. Once your teeth are clean and rinsed, put your aligners back in your mouth. It is important to wear your aligners at least 22 hours a day for effective results.
Extra Cleaning Tips for Aligners
If you feel that soap and a toothbrush are not effective enough for cleaning your aligners, Invisalign makes their own cleaning products for aligners and retainers. The Invisalign cleaning system comes with a container and cleaning crystals. You put your aligners in the container with water and the cleaning crystals, then shake the container to activate the cleaning solution. As you shake, the crystals gently scrub away any plaque that has built up on your aligners. When cleaning is complete your aligners will be clean and clear.
Another option is to soak your aligners in a solution of 50% water and 50% hydrogen peroxide.
What Happens If I Don’t Clean My Aligners?
If you don’t clean your aligners at all, or if you don’t clean them effectively, your teeth and gums could pay the price. The clear aligners fit snugly against your teeth, but there are still small spaces where food particles and plaque can get between the aligners and your teeth. Plaque is a sticky coating of food and bacteria that clings to your teeth. The bacteria gradually eats away your tooth enamel, causing cavities.
Plaque bacteria can also invade the gum tissue, causing an infection called periodontal disease, better known as gum disease. Simply brushing and flossing your teeth is not enough if your aligners are not clean.
Another side effect of not cleaning your aligners is bad breath. Bacteria builds up on your teeth and aligners, which can make your breath smell less than fresh. Your aligners can also become discolored if you don’t keep them clean.
Where Can I Get Invisalign Treatment?
If the idea of straightening your teeth with clear, removable aligners sounds good to you, you may be a good candidate for Invisalign. Creekview Dental provides Invisalign treatment for patients from children to adults. A brief evaluation can determine whether or not you are a candidate for Invisalign.
Call 651-738-8204 or contact us today to learn more and schedule an appointment.