Tips for Caring for your Invisalign Aligners

You should always remove your trays whenever eating or drinking anything other than water. Drinking beverages other than water can stain the tray and also cause plaque or bacteria to build up between your teeth and your retainer, which can lead to tooth decay.

Clean your aligners throughout the day whenever you take them out. Make sure that when you remove your trays, you place them in the Invisalign case. The number one reason people lose trays is because of taking them out to eat and placing them on a napkin. They can end up being accidentally thrown away, either by you or by someone else.

It’s important to brush your teeth after drinking and eating before putting your tray back in your mouth so that bacteria don’t form between the teeth and the tray. It’s also important to clean the trays before putting them back in your mouth after eating.

There are different degrees of cleaning, but if you are away from home, at least give them a brushing with a mild antibacterial soap and water mixture, and then rinse well. This will help eliminate any build-up on the inside of the aligners and keep them sanitary before they go back into your mouth.

Aligner Cleaning Tips

  • We recommend using a different toothbrush for cleaning your trays than the one for cleaning your teeth. For the trays, the toothbrush should be soft so as not to scratch the plastic trays.
  • Do not use toothpaste to clean your aligners. Toothpaste is made to clean teeth and can have abrasive materials or dyes in it, which can either scratch or discolor the trays.
  • If you use mouthwash to clean your aligners, make sure that it is not color tinted. Many brands are blue or green, which will cause the trays to discolor.
  • Do not leave your aligners in hot spaces such as your car. Also, do not clean them in hot water. They are made of plastic and can lose their shape if exposed to extreme heat.

To adjust to life with Invisalign, we suggest you get into the habit of giving your aligners a deep, thorough cleaning in the morning and at night. The easiest way to do this is to soak them in denture cleaner or Invisalign Crystals for at least 10 to 15 minutes. For convenience, do this while you’re eating breakfast and dinner or whenever else may be a convenient time for you.

Make an Invisalign Kit

The easiest way to keep yourself prepared for caring for aligners is to carry an Invisalign “kit” with you. This should include:

  • A toothbrush for your teeth and a separate soft toothbrush for cleaning your trays.
  • Mouthwash for rinsing your mouth out as necessary after removing aligners. In a pinch, you can use the mouthwash to rinse your aligners, but it should not contain any alcohol or be color tinted.
  • Toothpaste for brushing your teeth after meals.
  • Braces wax.
  • Ibuprofen or Tylenol.
  • Biotene moisturizing mouth spray or XyliMelts if you suffer from dry mouth or do a lot of talking throughout the day.
  • An emery board.

It’s easy to make yourself a small bag or pack and use trial sizes so the items will fit nicely and not take up too much space.

Invisalign requires a bit of a lifestyle change in order to keep up with your dental hygiene. However, streamlining your routine makes things a lot easier and will soon become second nature!

Adapting to Invisalign

First and foremost, make sure you wear your Invisalign aligners for at least 22 hours per day. Because they are removable, it’s easy to leave them out longer than they should be. However, you won’t achieve the desired results for straightening your teeth in the prescribed timeline if you don’t wear them for 22 hours per day. Teeth can easily start to shift back into their prior position if you don’t exercise discipline here.

Your teeth may be sore for the first 12 to 24 hours after putting in a new aligner. We recommend you start with your new aligner at night before going to bed. If needed, take two ibuprofen or Tylenol before sleeping, and your teeth should feel better the next day.

Sipping on ice water can also help with pain or discomfort as you adapt to each new aligner.

If corners or edges of your aligners are irritating to your mouth, tongue, or gums, use an emery board to bevel the edges down. Most emery boards have a coarse side and a fine side to them. When filing your aligners, use the coarse side first and then use the fine side to smooth things out.

If you find your aligners are not fitting properly otherwise, please contact our office.

Additional Tips

  • Use orthodontic wax to put on areas around the aligner that may be irritating your mouth. This clear, silicone-based wax can help immensely with irritation. Best of all, because it’s clear, no one will know that you are using it.
  • If any areas of your mouth feel like they are getting raw or irritated, use a product such as GUM Canker-X. This is normally used for canker sores but also helps to ease irritations caused by Invisalign or other braces.
  • If you plan to travel for more than a few days, carry your next tray with you as a spare in case you lose your aligner. It’s okay to use a new aligner a few days early, but going more than a week or two with no aligner at all can cause teeth to start to shift back.

Be patient with yourself and with the process of Invisalign treatment! As with any type of braces, there may be some discomfort as you adapt to wearing your aligners for the first time and whenever you change them out. However, this usually resolves within a day or two. Remember the greater good, and that at the end of your treatment, you are going to have a healthy and gorgeous smile!