Invisalign offers many benefits to eligible patients, including the comfort of being able to remove the trays when needed and the confidence granted by their invisibility. Compared to conventional braces, Invisalign trays can be worn discreetly at school or in meetings.
However, insufficient oral hygiene or improper care of the Invisalign appliance can lead to the trays losing their invisibility or even their effectiveness. Continue reading to learn why you should keep your Invisalign trays clean and how to clean your Invisalign trays during your treatment.
Want to find out if you or your child needs braces? Visit Reese Orthodontics in Charleston, SC for leading orthodontic care.
Why Cleaning Invisalign is Important
Invisalign straightens your teeth with a succession of trays worn like a retainer. After each replacement (usually every two weeks), the tray will move your teeth to a new “normal” position. Your orthodontist will check your progress periodically to make sure you are wearing the trays for the required time (usually at least 22 hours per day) and progressing as expected.
However, Invisalign may not work as expected if the trays are not regularly cleaned. The main thing that can happen is a buildup of bacteria caused by sugar and other food debris that remains on your teeth after you put the tray back in. This can cause the trays to develop a bad taste or smell.
If it gets bad enough, the trays may even stop fitting properly, which can impede your treatment, costing you time and money to correct it.
How to Clean Your Invisalign Trays: 5 Tips
With not only your breath but also your treatment schedule on the line, it’s important to follow these tips for properly cleaning your Invisalign trays. They will help ensure that your treatment is comfortable, effective, and non-smelly.
Tip #1: Know when to remove your Invisalign
Your orthodontist will recommend wearing your Invisalign tray nearly all the time, but there are two crucial times when it should be removed: during contact sports and when you eat or drink anything besides water. If the tray comes in contact with food debris and sugars, this will only increase the likelihood of your Invisalign becoming discolored or damaged.
Tip #2: Add cleaning to your brushing routine
Since you wear your Invisalign at night, you’ll have a buildup of saliva-born bacteria when you get up. When you take the tray out to brush your teeth, gently brush the tray as well to remove the nightly buildup. For extra cleanliness, do this before bed too.
Tip #3: Rinse frequently
Whenever you remove your retainer, either to eat a snack, drink a soda, or play sports, you should rinse it before you put it back in. This is an easy way to keep tabs on the bacteria buildup in your appliance.
Tip #4: Give it a soak
An occasional soak, whether once a day or 2-3 times a week, can be an effective way to keep Invisalign clean. You can buy cleaning crystals designed to clean Invisalign, which remove plaque and other nasty buildup as they dissolve. But you can also use anti-bacterial soap, so long as it’s clear, or a solution of baking soda and warm water. Some people even sanitize their trays with strong clear alcohol like vodka!
Tip #5: Always use your case
A tight-fitting case like the one provided by your orthodontist is important to keep your Invisalign tray out of the open air when you aren’t wearing it. If you leave it sitting out, bacteria will jump at the chance to move in, leading to all the problems we’ve described.
What NOT to Do With Invisalign Trays
We’ve gone over several tips on how to properly clean Invisalign. Here are a few advisories as well.
Firstly, never use colored cleaning solutions like colored soaps. They can leech color into the tray and make it visible when you put it back in.
Secondly, never use scalding water to clean or rinse the trays. Only use cold or warm. Hot water can warp or even melt Invisalign, causing it to fit incorrectly.
Finally, while it may seem logical to use a whitening toothpaste to get your Invisalign tray back to its original state, these can often be rough on the material of the trays and scratch them. The scratches make it easier for bacteria to grow by giving them a place to hide.
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.