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.
Aligners should always be cleaned throughout the day whenever they are taken out. Make sure that when you remove your trays you place them in the Invisalign case. The #1 reason that trays are lost is because of taking them out to eat and placing them on a napkin, and they end up being accidently 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 doesn’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.
We recommend using a different tooth brush for cleaning your trays than the one you use to clean 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 out of plastic and can lose their shape if exposed to extreme heat.
To adjust to life with Invisalign, we suggest that 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 – 15 minutes. For convenience sake, do this while you’re eating breakfast and dinner, or whenever else may be a convenient time for you.
The easiest way to keep yourself prepared for caring for aligners is to carry an Invisalign “kit” with you whenever you leave this house. This should include:
- A toothbrush for your teeth and a soft toothbrush for cleaning your trays.
- Mouthwash for rinsing your mouth out as necessary when aligners are removed. Mouthwash can be used for rinsing your aligners out in a pinch 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 does require a bit of a lifestyle change in order to keep up with your dental hygiene, etc., but 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 can be easy to leave them out longer than they should be, however, desired results for straightening your teeth will not be achieved in the prescribed time line if they are not worn for 22 hours per day. Teeth can easily start to shift back into their prior position if discipline is not exercised here.
Your teeth may be sore for the first 12-24 hours after putting in a new aligner. We recommend that you start with your new aligner at night before going to bed. If needed, take 2 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 you have corners or edges of your aligners that are irritating to your mouth, tongue, or gums, use an emery board to bevel the edges down. Most emery boards have a course side and a fine side to them. When filing your aligners, use the course side first and then use the fine side to smooth things out.
If you find that your aligners are not fitting properly otherwise, please contact our office.
You can also use orthodontic wax to put on areas around the aligner that may be irritating to your mouth, etc. This wax is silicone based and clear in color and can help immensely with irritation. Best of all is that because it’s clear, no one will ever 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 without any 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 duration, you are going to have a healthy and gorgeous smile!
If you are not currently using Invisalign and are interested in learning more about this virtually invisible way to straighten your teeth, click here for more information. You can also call us at (417) 883-6898, or fill out the form below and we will contact you!