Invisalign is among the most popular teeth straightening systems. Patients tend to prefer it as an alternative to metal braces because the aligners are discreet. In fact, they are virtually invisible, and they can be easily removed for restriction-free eating and thorough cleaning. Your cosmetic dentist will give you instructions for cleaning your Invisalign aligners, but here’s a quick primer to help you become familiar with the dos and don’ts.
Each time you enjoy a meal, you should brush your teeth for at least two minutes. Placing your aligners back in without brushing your teeth isn’t a good idea because the aligners prevent saliva from reaching them. Saliva is necessary to wash away food particles and bacteria. In other words, if you don’t brush your teeth too, they’ll be bathing in bacteria inside the aligners. Maximize your oral health by flossing each time you brush.
Toothpaste is too abrasive for the aligners. Instead, some dentists recommend using a mild, antibacterial hand soap or dish soap. (Only use mild cleaning products!) Use a soft-bristled toothbrush—preferably, a different one than the toothbrush you use on your teeth—and gently clean the aligners.
Another option is to let your aligners soak in a cleansing solution while you eat. You could try denture cleaner, but some patients think this makes the plastic look cloudy. Another option is Retainer Brite, which is formulated differently than denture cleaner, making it more plastic-friendly.
Other Invisalign patients prefer soaking the aligners in mouthwash. If you try this, choose a clear mouthwash, like a whitening solution. Even cheaper options are hydrogen peroxide and vinegar. Make a half-water, half-hydrogen peroxide mixture (or a 50-50 water and vinegar mixture) and let the aligners take a bath while you eat.
Whichever method you choose, always be sure to rinse the aligners very well before putting them back in your mouth.
From an early age, we’re taught that washing things in hot water is best for killing germs. But this isn’t necessarily the case, and in fact, hot water is damaging to aligners. It will warp the plastic, and you’ll need another pair of aligners made. Only use cool water or mildly lukewarm water.
Keeping up with your cleaning routine can be more challenging when you’re going out to a restaurant or traveling, or if you’re an on-campus student who relies on the dining halls. Don’t let this stop you from taking good care of your teeth. Simply go into the restroom, discreetly remove your aligners, and store them safely in their case. When you’re done eating, you can return to the restroom to clean your teeth and your aligners.
When it’s time to transform your smile, get in touch with Dr. Nick or Dr. Elliot—two experienced and friendly Invisalign dentists on Long Island. We pride ourselves on extensive patient education, and we’ll be happy to introduce you to life with Invisalign. Contact Long Island Implant and Cosmetic Dentistry at 631-296-0588. Our modern dental office in Suffolk County is committed to unsurpassed patient care within a comfortable setting.
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