Some orthodontic patients choose Invisalign, a series of clear, overlay templates that some teens and adults can use to correct certain orthodontic bite problems.
At Sims Orthodontics, we sometimes recommend Invisalign to our patients. When we do, one of the most common questions we hear is this:
What is the best way to clean my Invisalign Aligners?
That’s a good question to ask. Every patient who uses it should know how to clean Invisalign. Keeping your Invisalign overlays clean is important. In fact, you should give them a basic cleaning every day. If they do get stained, there are some things you can do to remove the stains – and some special precautions you should take if you have been sick.
General Invisalign Care
General Invisalign care is relatively simple. Here are the rules you should follow.
- Never eat anything with your aligners in your mouth, and don’t drink anything other than water while you are wearing them.
- When you get up in the morning, remove your aligner, clean it, and brush your teeth. Plaque can build up overnight and you don’t want to start the day with bacteria in your Invisalign.
- You can clean your Invisalign by brushing it with a soft-bristled toothbrush and a little bit of toothpaste. Some people find it easier to brush the exterior of the Invisalign while wearing it and then clean the interior after taking it off.
- Always brush and floss your teeth after eating and before you put in your aligner. If you don’t, you risk allowing plaque to form on your teeth.
- Never soak your aligners in denture cleaner or mouthwash. These things can damage the surface of your aligner, scratching it and making it more visible. Since one of the benefits of Invisalign is that the aligner is less obvious than metal braces, you don’t want to do anything to change that.
- Rinse your aligners thoroughly after each cleaning.
- Always store your aligners in the case when you are not wearing it. Leaving it exposed to the open air may allow bacteria to grow on your aligner.
- Use the Invisalign cleaning products at least once a week, but you can use them more frequently if necessary.
Following these routine steps will ensure that your aligners stay clean and free of bacteria, and that they look good when you wear them.
Cleaning Invisalign After an Illness
What happens if you get sick? You might think that you’ll need to take special precautions with your Invisalign, and you are correct about that. Here are some things to keep in mind while you are sick.
First, you should still wear your Invisalign. The one exception might be if you are sick to your stomach and vomiting. In that case, leaving your Invisalign out until your stomach settles down. If you do happen to be wearing your Invisalign when you vomit, you will need to rinse it, gently wash it with clear antibacterial soap, and rinse it again before putting it back into your mouth. Using a toothpaste with baking soda can help get rid of odors.
We recommend against soaking aligners in mouthwash or using denture cleaning products to clean your aligner. These things may damage your aligner. However, there are products available that are specifically designed to clean mouth guards and aligners. Using one of them may be a good idea if you have been sick.
For most people, it will be sufficient to brush their teeth and clean the aligners in the usual way several times a day. Using antibacterial soap instead of toothpaste can give you some peace of mind and do a good job of keeping your aligners free of bacteria.
Removing Stains from Invisalign
One of the reasons that we recommend removing your Invisalign before eating is that some foods can stain your aligners. Examples might include tomato sauce, coffee, or curry powder.
The challenge with Invisalign is that the aligners are made of porous material that can easily absorb colors and odors from the things you eat and drink.
If your aligners do get stained, you should clean them as quickly as possible. The longer the substance that stained them is on the aligner, the more difficult the stain will be to remove.
Invisalign makes special cleaning crystals that may be able to remove some stains from your aligners. Soaking them may help to remove stains. There are also a few home remedies you can try:
- Use a solution of 50% hydrogen peroxide and 50% water to soak your aligners
- Mix one part of bleach to ten parts of cool water and soak your aligner in the solution
- A solution of 50% white vinegar and 50% water can remove tartar buildup and some stains
Whichever solution you try, make sure to rinse your aligners thoroughly before wearing them again.
Ultimately, the best cure for stains is preventing them from happening in the first place by removing your aligner before you eat and brushing and flossing before you put it back in your mouth.
What to Do if Your Aligner Gets Scratched
Another thing that can happen is that your aligners may get scratched. If that happens, it makes the aligner more noticeable. Here are a few tips to keep in mind to prevent scratches:
- Always remove aligners before eating and clean the aligner and your teeth before putting them back in your mouth
- Always store your aligner in its case to prevent it from falling or coming into contact with debris
- When you brush your aligner, use a soft-bristled toothbrush and a non-abrasive toothpaste
There isn’t much you can do if your aligner gets scratched. The material is porous and it’s not possible to buff out a scratch without causing additional scratches.
If you want to know how to clean your Invisalign aligners, the tips we’ve provided here can help you keep your aligners clean, clear, and free of bacteria.
To learn more about Invisalign at Sims Orthodontics, please click here.