One of Invisalign®’s biggest advantage is having the ability to take the aligners out to eat and drink - but that doesn't mean they don't get dirty. Keeping your aligners clean is a vital part of your treatment, and it's the only way to keep them invisible, odorless, and free from germs. Without conscientious care and cleaning, your aligners can discolor, smell, and build up deposits of plaque and bacteria that can erode away the enamel of your teeth. Thankfully, caring for them is easy. Just follow these simple Do's and Don'ts when wearing Invisalign®.
* Rinse new aligners before inserting them for the first time and leave aligners in for 12 hours before removing them to eat or brush. (Pro Tip: Insert your new aligner in the evening before bed so that you sleep through the initial discomfort and get those solid 12 hours).
* Wear aligners for a minimum of 22 hours a day. Anything less, and there's a high chance that the aligners will not move your teeth predictably.
* Chewie Exercise: to make sure your teeth are tracking properly; chewie exercises should be done at least once a day. Simply place the plastic Chewie on the back-most molar on the right side and bite down and hold for 5 seconds. Walk the Chewie to the next tooth over, and bite down and hold for 5 seconds. Repeat until you’ve reached the back-most molar on the left.
*Rinse Every Time: Any time you take your aligners out of your mouth, rinse them thoroughly under running water. This will rinse away bacteria, saliva, and food particles.
* Soak Regularly: Invisalign offers specialized cleaning crystals to soak your aligners in to keep them clean and fresh. Pro Tip: If you run out of these crystals, Retainer Brite® cleaning tablets are readily found online or in drugstores.
*Clean Your Teeth: Proper care isn't just about clean aligners - your teeth need to stay clean, too! Be sure to brush and floss your teeth regularly to prevent the buildup of plaque and bacteria under the aligners.
* Use Clear, Anti-Bacterial Soft Soap: This is a great way to keep your aligners free of bacteria and plaque.
* Brush Carefully: Ideally, you want to brush aligners every time you take them out or put them back in - but be careful, as overzealous brushing can leave visible marks and scratches. Please be sure to use a Soft toothbrush.
* Keep backup aligners: Keep the previous aligners just in case you lose your current ones.
* Eat or Drink anything that has sugar or acidity with your aligners in Foods and colored drinks can stain your aligners and leave an unpleasant smell, so stick with cool, non-carbonated water while you're wearing them. (Carbonated water is acidic too!). In addition, prolonged contact of sugar and acid will cause scarring of the enamel and even cavities.
* Drink any hot beverages-- this will warp your aligners.
*Leave aligners in your car, especially in the hot sun. Aligners WILL warp.
*Use Scented or Colored Soap: Using anything but clear soap with aligners can cause it to stain.
*Soak aligners in mouthrinse -- this can discolor them.
Traveling with Invisalign
While the removability of Invisalign makes them hugely convenient, it can also cause problems- particularly when traveling. It's all too easy to misplace them, break them, or even leave them in another country when traveling. If you'll be traveling with Invisalign, it’s generally best to pause treatment and wear the same aligners at nighttime only to hold your teeth where they are, so that you can resume treatment when you're back home. However, if you will be traveling for weeks or months, here are some helpful tips for continuing treatment and taking care of your aligners on the go.
Keep a supply: In general, you should carry at least three pairs of aligners with you when you travel: your current set, your previous set, and your next set. If you'll be out of town for more than a few weeks, we recommend taking more.
Extra Case: It's easy to lose a case, so we always recommend bringing a backup just in case.