Invisalign Aligner Care Guide

Invisalign has been a game changer for millions of adults and teens who wanted to straighten their teeth discreetly. Unlike metal braces, clear aligners are minimally invasive, removable, and won’t trap food particles and plaque between your teeth. While more comfortable and aesthetically pleasing than metal braces, clear aligners require proper care to ensure the best results and prevent costly replacement. Read the following care tips to help Invisalign do its intended job in the expected timeframe!

Invisalign Daily Care Tips 

If you look online, you’ll find contradictory information about how to clean aligners. Some websites state that toothpaste and dentures cleaners are acceptable, while others say to avoid both to prevent damage. We understand how confusing this can be, so we’ve compiled this list based on the most trusted source—the care guide provided by the company.

1. Clean Aligner Trays Regularly and Properly 

It’s very important to clean aligners every time you have taken them out, but especially after eating. If this practice isn’t closely followed, it can lead to bacteria and food build-up in the aligner trays. Not doing so can also increase the risk of tooth discoloration and cavities.

  •  Clean Invisalign aligners by brushing them gently with a soft toothbrush and lukewarm water only.
  •  Use Invisalign cleaning crystals, a product specifically designed to remove bacteria buildup, odors, and stains from aligner trays.
  • Never use hot water, harsh chemicals, denture cleaners, toothpaste, or mouthwash because these products are too abrasive and will cause surface damage.

2. Never Eat with Your Aligners In 

One of the advantages of Invisalign over conventional braces is that you can eat whatever you want. The caveat is that you need to remove the aligners before eating and clean them prior to putting them back in your mouth.

Likewise, if you must chew gum, do so briefly with the aligners removed and only use a sugar-free brand. As with eating, you need to clean aligners after chewing gum and prior to wearing them again.

3. Avoid Stains and Discoloration 

Food residues like blueberries or pasta sauce can lead to stained aligners which defeats their primary benefit of being invisible! Although the BPA-free plastic is stain resistant to saliva, beverages such as tea, coffee, wine, and cola can cause both tooth and aligner discoloration. Tobacco use, smoking, and/or vaping while wearing aligners can also lead to aligner discoloration or damage.

  • Brush your teeth after every meal to remove food debris, prior to putting aligners back in your mouth.
  • Limit consumption of foods and beverages that cause staining (especially coffee).
  • Drink a lot of water with meals to help flush out food and other particles.

4. Keep Aligners Moisturized 

To keep them moist, put a clean damp tissue in your case, or treat them like dentures and place them in a clean glass of water if you’ve forgotten your case! With that said, let them air dry prior to placing them back in your mouth.

5. Use Proper Insertion and Removal Techniques 

Insertion: Prior to insertion and before bed, inspect aligners for cracks and deformities and report these issues to your dentist as soon as possible. Inserting the upper or lower aligner first is a matter of personal preference, so do what feels most comfortable. Gently push the aligners over your front teeth. Then use your fingertips to apply equal pressure to the tops of your left and right molars until the aligner snaps into place. Please note that if your aligners have precision wings, the lower ones should be positioned in front of the upper ones with aligners in your mouth.

Removal: On one side of your mouth, use your fingertips on the inside of your back molar to slowly pull the aligner from your molars. Repeat this process on the other side of your mouth before trying to completely remove the aligner. After the aligner is disengaged from the back molars on both sides of your mouth, slowly work your way forward and gently pry the aligner away from your teeth with your fingertips.

Invisalign Long-Term Care Tips

Failure to store Invisalign aligners in a safe place increases the risk of bacteria buildup, damage, or loss. Throwing them loose in a gym bag or leaving them around the house are both bad ideas. The last thing you want is a buildup of grime and bacteria, or a family pet or teething baby mistaking aligners for a fun chewing toy!

Remember aligners are supposed to be worn 20 to 22 hours a day and should only be removed for eating, drinking, oral hygiene, and sports. For aligners with mandibular advancement feature(s) such as precision wings, biting directly on the features or positioning them incorrectly can prematurely damage and/or break them.

  • Whenever you take Invisalign out, develop the habit of putting them back in their case as quickly as possible.
  • Keep in mind aligners can’t handle much heat, so be careful not to leave them in the sun, in a car on a hot day, or near heated appliances.
  • After cleaning them, place them on a soft, lint-free towel prior to placing them back in your mouth.

Maintain Your Oral Health During Treatment 

Some people experience a temporary increase in salivation or dry mouth. Inadequate brushing and flossing and/or consuming acidic or sugary beverages during treatment can lead to tooth decay, periodontal disease, and permanent stains and decalcification (white spots) on your teeth. Smoking can exacerbate these problems.

  • Floss after every meal and brush your teeth a minimum of twice a day.
  • Visit your dentist for an oral exam and professional teeth cleaning twice a year or more often if you are prone to heavy plaque buildup.

Speak to a Specialist like Dr. Sabourin 

To find out if Invisalign is the ideal option for your oral health and smile, schedule a complimentary consultation with Dr. David Sabourin today. If he determines you’re a good candidate for Invisalign—congratulations, you’re on your way to a beautiful new smile, the discreet way!

Dr. David A. Sabourin, D.D.S.

Dr. Sabourin relocated to San Diego from Ann Arbor, Michigan where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Michigan. He graduated at the top of his class with High Honors from the University of Detroit School of Dentistry where he received his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree.

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