Invisalign aligners are temporary treatment appliances that last around two weeks. Your orthodontist will help you follow the schedule of switching out your current aligners for new ones to stay on track with your projected treatment. However, you may wonder if you need to clean your aligners during those two weeks to facilitate your treatment.
Continue reading to learn how to clean your Invisalign and why you absolutely should be cleaning your Invisalign aligners throughout your treatment, how to do it, and what can happen if you don’t.
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What Does “Cleaning Invisalign” Mean?
When patients take out their Invisalign appliances to eat or drink, they often rinse them before putting them back in. This is a good practice since it can remove saliva and food debris and make your aligners look cleaner.
However, rinsing an aligner is not the same as cleaning it. In addition to rinsing your aligner after eating and every night before bed, you should also brush them with a cleaning solution and then rinse them again to remove any food and bacteria build-up before putting them back in for the night.
Cleaning Tools for Invisalign
There are multiple ways that you can clean your Invisalign retainers. The easiest way is to rinse it with water, brush it gently using a soft toothbrush and a clear liquid soap, and then rinse it again. Importantly, you shouldn’t use your regular toothbrush since toothpaste and other debris can be abrasive to your aligner. Buy an extra-soft brush explicitly for your appliance.
Another way to clean your Invisalign aligner is with a specially formulated cleaning solution made by Invisalign called “Steraligner.” This product contains a mixture of baking soda and rubbing alcohol and works as a natural sterilizer to remove unseen bacteria from your appliance. Invisalign sells a cleaning agent in crystal form that can be dissolved in water and used to soak the aligners for the same effect.
Additionally, make sure you always put your aligner back in its case when you aren’t wearing it. Leaving it on a table or in an open container can not only dry out the appliance but it can also cause unwanted bacteria buildup that negates your cleaning efforts.
Invisalign Cleaners to Avoid
Not all cleaning agents are equally effective at cleaning your appliance. Many are too abrasive or contain chemical additives that can alter the appliance’s taste and potentially discolor it.
Cleaners to avoid include toothpaste, alcohol-based mouthwashes, denture cleaner solutions, and colored or scented soaps, which can cause a bitter taste.
How Often Does Invisalign Need to be Cleaned?
Invisalign aligners should be cleaned every night to ensure they stay free of bacteria buildup from food and saliva. Cleaning them should be an easy addition to your nightly brushing and flossing routine.
However, you don’t have to limit cleaning to the nighttime. Any time the aligner looks, feels, or tastes strange, you can use the above steps to restore it to its original condition. A great way to know whether you are cleaning your Invisalign enough is to compare the old retainer to the new one when you change them over. If the old retainer looks yellower, you’ll know your retainer has retained debris and regularly exposes your teeth to bacteria, which can not only be uncomfortable but also cause bad breath.
How to Clean Your Invisalign
In addition to cleaning your Invisalign appliance every night, here are a few tips for caring for your retainers so they don’t need to be cleaned as often.
- Never wear your retainer when eating or drinking liquids other than water since this can damage it, cause staining, or create a buildup of food debris and bacteria
- Never use scalding water to clean your aligners as this can warp their shape
- Always keep your aligners stored properly in their designated containers or another airtight, clean container to prevent them from getting damaged or lost
Choose Reese Orthodontics
If you’re an adult who is considering braces, you need professional advice on your treatment and payment options. For orthodontic treatments in Charleston, SC, Reese Orthodontics offers the latest technology and treatment plans. Our advanced and comfortable orthodontic treatments can be customized to suit your needs. A consultation with Reese Orthodontics includes scans, a comprehensive exam, and a conversation with the orthodontist to discover which treatment options are right for you.
Schedule an appointment with us today to stay ahead of your oral health and receive the best possible treatment in your area.