The Dentist From a Child' Point of View

Tips On Invisalign Aligner Cleaning And Maintenance

Invisalign aligners can straighten the teeth without the discomfort of metal wires and brackets. And, the aligners are low maintenance. While this is true, you will have to provide some care to them to make sure they stay in good shape. Keep reading to learn the answers to a few common questions about cleaning the aligners.

How Often Do They Need To Be Cleaned?

Your Invisalign aligners need to be cleaned every time you take them out of the mouth and replace them. This means cleaning them when you eat. You also want to clean them gently when you brush your teeth in the morning and evening. 

The aligner cleaning process is fairly simple, but it is different than what you would do when brushing your teeth. You do not want to use toothpaste due to the abrasiveness of the product. This will force scrapes and scratches in the plastic, and allow bacteria to grow. You should instead use a gentle soap, and preferably, one that is antibacterial. 

You only need a small squirt of soap on each aligner to complete the cleaning. Scrub the aligners when you are ready with either a denture brush or a washcloth. Rinse with warm water when you are done, and wipe the aligners clean with a cloth to make sure that all the suds are removed. 

Keep in mind that you should never use water that is hot, or you may melt the aligners. Even a slight difference in the fit will mean an ineffective straightening process. 

What Happens When Tartar Forms?

If you are not diligent with your oral care maintenance and the cleaning of your aligners, then plaque and tartar will have an opportunity to form on the plastic. And, you should remove the debris before placing the aligners back into your mouth. You can do this safely with a bit of vinegar. Simply pour about one-quarter cup of white distilled vinegar in a glass with one cup of warm water. Place the aligners in the cup and let them sit for about 30 to 45 minutes. 

Remove the aligners from the cup and look to see if they appear clear. If they do not, then you may need to soak them overnight. For this soaking, you should purchase an Invisalign soak product. Do not use anything made for dentures, as this type of cleaner will be too strong for the aligners and may damage them. 

If you want to know more about Invisalign aligners and how to keep them clean, speak with an orthodontist.