Congratulations! You’ve just begun Invisalign, so you’re firmly on the path to a straighter, healthier, and more attractive smile! The aligners practically disappear while they’re on your teeth, but if you want to keep them nice and transparent, it’s going to require a little extra care on your part. Fortunately, it doesn’t take much to make sure your aligners stay in great shape and your smile remains healthy throughout your entire treatment—the tips below will tell you everything you need to know about taking care of Invisalign.
1. Clean your aligners at the end of every day
Your oral health routine is going to involve a few extra steps while you’re straightening your teeth. At the end of each day, after you’ve brushed and flossed, make sure you gently brush the inside and outside of your aligners to remove any plaque and food debris that has built up on them. Otherwise, they could stain your aligners or become trapped up against your teeth, increasing your risk for cavities.
Simply run your aligners under lukewarm water while you brush them with a light touch. Water that is too hot could possibly cause an aligner to warp and change shape, and brushing too vigorously can actually scratch them, creating the perfect places for harmful bacteria to hide and accumulate.
2. Rinse your mouth before putting your aligners back in
One of the best parts about Invisalign is that the aligners are removable. Whenever it’s time to eat or clean your teeth, you can just take them out and proceed as normal. When it comes to eating, however, it’s important that you give your mouth a nice thorough rinse after each meal before you put your aligners back in. Otherwise, leftover food on your teeth can become pressed up against the enamel, making tooth decay more likely to develop. Ideally, you’d be able to brush after each meal, but if you can’t, a rinse with water will do just fine.
3. Don’t eat with your aligners
Invisalign aligners seem pretty strong…why not just leave them in while you’re eating? This is a mistake many patients make. In truth, the aligners simply aren’t designed to withstand the chewing forces, so eating with them can easily cause them to become broken or misshaped, rendering them useless. Whether you’re sitting down for a full meal or just grabbing a quick snack, be sure to always take your aligners out before you chow down.
4. Only drink water with your aligners
Taking Invisalign out to eat makes sense enough, but can you leave your aligners in while you enjoy a refreshing beverage? Unfortunately, drinking items like sodas, coffee, sports drinks, and energy drinks can lead to all sorts of trouble for Invisalign. These drinks can easily stain the aligners and cause them to take on a yellowish hue, and sugar will become trapped between them and your teeth, which is bad news for your oral health. You should only leave your aligners in if you’re drinking plain, unflavored water.
5. Visit your dentist for progress checks
Your dentist will recommend that you come to see them every few weeks in order to make sure your treatment is staying on track, so make sure you attend them! These appointments will give your dentist the chance to catch and fix any small problems before they can really derail your treatment, plus you’ll have the chance to ask them any questions you might have about maintaining your aligners.
All in all, most of these tips only take a few seconds each to follow every day, but they will save you a lot of hassle over the course of your treatment. By keeping them in mind, you’ll have a smooth journey to a beautifully straight smile, and your treatment will be over before you know it.
About the Author
Dr. Masha Kogan is a family, restorative, and cosmetic dentist who has been practicing in Westport, CT for almost 20 years, providing a wide range of services to meet all the dental needs of local families. If you’d like to learn more about the best ways to take care of Invisalign, or if you’re interested in starting the treatment, she can be reached through her website.