For several decades, invisible aligners have been a popular treatment for mild to moderate orthodontic issues. Patients love Invisalign because the trays are less visible, less disruptive, and easier to clean than traditional braces. At M. Scott Runnels Orthodontics in Destin, FL, we offer this solution to teenagers and adults. Let’s have a closer look at how to keep your aligners and teeth clean while you’re being treated.
How Do You Clean Invisalign Aligners?
When you get braces, you have to follow a very specific cleaning routine that might take 15–30 minutes every day. Because this can be hard to get used to, the chance of dental issues is elevated. In contrast, invisible aligners are simpler to use, and they are less likely to cause complications. You simply take them out each time you eat a meal. Then, you brush your teeth, rinse the trays, and replace them.
Once a day, you clean your aligners more thoroughly to prevent cavities and gum disease. It’s important to follow all our instructions. The cleaning products we provide are designed to prevent damage, staining, and a bad taste in your mouth. Although each set of trays is only used for 10–14 days, it’s worth taking care of the aligners because they can become visible or ineffective when they are damaged.
Cleaning the Aligners
Every time you eat or drink anything except water, you have to remove your aligners to prevent discoloration and staining. Rinse them with water before placing them back in your mouth. Perform a more intensive cleaning routine at least once a day, preferably in the evening. When you get your first trays, we’ll provide you with a special cleaning solution that contains natural antiseptic agents that are safe to use on the plastic aligners.
Rinse your trays, then use a soft-bristled toothbrush to gently apply the cleaning solution. Don’t use the same toothbrush you brush your teeth with. Rinse the trays thoroughly before placing them back into your mouth. Whenever your aligners are not in use, they need to be stored in their protective case to prevent contamination.
Products to Avoid
Always use the cleaning solution we provide because it’s designed to be used on invisible aligners. Don’t use your regular toothpaste, which could damage the plastic or cause staining. Before you use a cleaning product, always check that it doesn’t contain any added dyes or alcohol. It’s best to avoid denture cleaners since they are meant to be used on different materials.
Be careful about cleaning your aligners with scented soap. This could make them taste bitter, so it becomes very hard for you to wear them all day. A coarse-bristled toothbrush might be too harsh for the plastic, so it’s best to use a soft one. Never boil your aligners or wash them with very hot water, as they could become deformed.
Cleaning Your Teeth
Aside from brushing your aligners, you also have to clean your teeth because plaque and food debris could get stuck between the trays and your teeth if you’re not careful. Brush and floss every time you eat something, and avoid consuming sugary foods and beverages in between your main meals. Use a toothpaste that contains fluoride and therefore strengthens the tooth enamel.
Make sure to keep flossing your teeth while you’re being treated. When you come to the clinic for your initial appointment, we’ll check that you’re flossing correctly and give you tips that help you remove all the debris between your teeth. Sometimes, using mouthwash can add extra protection. However, it can also remove beneficial bacteria from the mouth, so it’s important to choose safe, alcohol-free products.
How to Keep the Aligners in Good Condition
One of the most important reasons why most people choose invisible aligners is that they aren’t as noticeable as braces. To fully benefit from this effect, patients have to take good care of their aligners. Fortunately, the trays aren’t kept for very long. Every 10–14 days, patients get sent new aligners, and the old ones can be discarded.
Despite this, it’s important never to eat or drink anything except water while wearing the aligners. Sugary beverages, tea, coffee, and alcohol can stain the clear plastic. Patients must also remove their trays from the back to the front to avoid damaging them. This can be particularly hard early on in the cycle when they are still very tight. Fortunately, there is a tool that can help. Ask us about it if you’re struggling.
Are Aligners Easier to Care for than Braces?
Invisalign aligners are much easier to care for than braces because they can be removed during mealtimes and when brushing the teeth. This means that you don’t have to change your oral hygiene routine. You can keep using your regular toothbrush, dental floss, and toothpaste. During your appointment, we might ask you to demonstrate how you brush your teeth, so we can make sure that your technique is optimal.
If we believe that you’re not reaching all the surfaces and removing all the plaque on your teeth, we might ask you to use disclosing tablets. They contain a dye that demonstrates where you haven’t brushed properly. It’s important to carefully remove this dye before putting your aligners back into your mouth because they could get stained by it.
Aside from the easy care routine, there are several other reasons why invisible aligners are so popular. Firstly, they don’t restrict the patient’s diet. When wearing braces, people can’t eat crunchy, chewy, or sticky foods. However, aligners don’t come with these restrictions because they aren’t worn during mealtimes. This means that they are ideal for people who have allergies, intolerances, and mild eating disorders.
Invisible aligners are suitable for teenagers and adults because they don’t change the patient’s appearance. Most people can’t tell if someone is wearing them, since they’re completely see-through. During important presentations and sporting events, the aligners can be removed, so they don’t interfere with the patient’s life.
When to Take the Aligners Out
Although invisible aligners are removable, they can’t be taken out all the time. You have to wear them for at least 20–22 hours a day. If you fail to do so, you won’t experience the desired results, and you might have to get braces, or the treatment has to be prolonged. That’s why it’s best to only remove the aligners when you’re eating or during very important presentations or events.
Who Is a Good Candidate for Invisible Aligners?
During your initial consultation, we’ll analyze your orthodontic issues and medical history to determine whether you’re eligible for invisible aligners. This treatment can address a wide range of problems. The most common one is crooked teeth. Invisible aligners are also suitable for some people with an overbite, underbite, crossbite, and gaps between the teeth.
You might not be able to participate in treatment if you have rotated or very small teeth, gum disease, or you’ve had previous dental work. Sometimes, we ask people to wear braces for a certain amount of time before they can switch to invisible aligners. Because the trays are made out of safe, custom-made plastic, they are suitable for people who have allergies.
How Long Do Invisible Aligners Need to Be Worn?
Those with very minor dental issues might only need 15–25 sets of trays, so their treatment might take six to twelve months. However, patients who have major orthodontic issues might need 40–50 trays. They might need to wear the aligners for eighteen to twenty-four months.
Once treatment is over, most people have to wear retainers for at least a decade. In the beginning, these are worn around the clock, but eventually, they only have to be used at nighttime. Their purpose is to prevent the teeth from shifting back into their original position.
Get Your Perfect Smile Now
Cleaning Invisalign aligners isn’t hard. You simply wash them in a special solution once a day and rinse them whenever you take them out of your mouth. Because the trays are removable, you can maintain your regular oral hygiene routine, which includes flossing and brushing your teeth. Get in touch with us at M. Scott Runnels Orthodontics in Destin, FL to learn more about invisible aligners. We’ll be happy to help you find out whether you’re a good candidate.