At Staten Island Aesthetic & Implant Dentist, Invisalign® is a popular teeth straightening treatment. Invisalign corrects the position of the teeth and aligns the bite by progressing patients through a series of clear, plastic aligners that put pressure on the teeth.
While patients make their way through Invisalign treatment, it is important that they keep their aligners clean. Clean aligners will not only look more discreet, but they also help preserve a healthy smile. Here, Drs. Alex and Jason Hecht provide our Staten Island, NY, patients with some tips and practices for cleaning Invisalign aligners.
Remove Aligners When Eating
Invisalign aligners need to be worn at least 20 to 22 hours a day for patients to get the desired results of treatment. However, one time when aligners should not be worn is while a person is eating. Patients should remove aligners prior to eating so that aligners stay clean and are not subject to the force of biting and chewing. The only thing that should be consumed when aligners are in place is water.
Rinse Aligners When They Are Removed
Even if aligners are removed for eating, they can collect bacteria. To prevent bacteria buildup, our Staten Island patients should rinse aligners every time they are taken out of the mouth. Invisalign aligners can be rinsed with warm or room-temperature water. It is best to avoid hot water, as this could warp the plastic and alter the shape of aligners. Prior to putting aligners back in place, patients should also brush or rinse the teeth, so that clean aligners are not put on dirty teeth.
Store Aligners When Not in Use
Aligners are an ideal breeding ground for bacteria. Even as aligners sit outside the mouth, they can collect harmful bacteria. The best way to keep aligners clean when they aren’t in the mouth is to store them in a clean, closed container. Retainer cases are a great place to keep aligners, because they block out bacteria and make it easier to keep track of aligners so they aren’t lost.
Soak Aligners Once a Day
Once a day, Invisalign aligners should be cleaned beyond a simple rinse. Patients should soak aligners in a cleaning solution for about 20 to 30 minutes. Many find that it is easiest to soak aligners while they eat a meal since the aligners have already been removed.
When aligners are done soaking, they should be brushed with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Brushing will further remove any bacteria, food particles, or deposits, so that aligners remain clean and clear.
Choose Non-abrasive Cleaners
Scratches and other minor damage give bacteria a place to accumulate, and also make aligners more prone to discoloration. To prevent structural damage, patients should choose non-abrasive cleaners for their aligners. The best choices for cleaning Invisalign aligners include an Invisalign or dentures soak, clear anti-bacterial hand soap, or a mix of vinegar or peroxide and water.
If you are considering Invisalign treatment, Drs. Alex and Jason Hecht would be happy to let you know if this teeth straightening technique is right for you. Contact us to learn more about the Invisalign process, or call (718) 705-4434 to schedule an appointment at your earliest convenience.