Invisalign CareColts Neck, NJ
Invisalign® treatment is a life-changing journey and one that can enhance both your smile and your confidence. Proper Invisalign care is as essential to the process as the aligners themselves. Since its conception over 20 years ago, Invisalign has reshaped the orthodontic industry and continues to adapt to its patients' needs by improving software and introducing new tools for caring and maintaining aligners.
The ability to easily remove your aligners and brush your teeth, floss, and maintain proper hygiene remains one of the distinguishing factors between traditional fixed appliances and clear aligners. Various appliances and kits, designed for Invisalign aligners, are available to ensure maximum hygiene and overall oral health during and post-treatment.
Invisalign Care information is available at Colts Neck Center for Orthodontics & Invisalign in Colts Neck and the surrounding area. Our staff can help you understand specific needs and hygienic practices that are best suited for your unique case. Call us at (732) 761-9700 to find out more.
Cleaning Routine for Invisalign
Aligner trays should be thoroughly cleaned twice a day using lukewarm water and mouthwash. Using hot water will warp the plastic and make them expendable. Patients should be sure their teeth are clean and free of residue before reinserting the aligners as they can become stained. To keep aligners sanitary, keep them in their case or a sealed container.
Apart from general hygienic practices, Invisalign offers various accessories for cleaning aligners. The cheek retractor, made with medical-grade plastic for comfort, facilitates easy and accurate image capturing from patient to orthodontist and can also be used to check for any remaining residue after brushing and flossing teeth. The cleaning system includes a cleaning tub and 50 packets of cleaning crystals that keep aligners odor-free, hygienic, and transparent while removing plaque in under 15 minutes. Simply place aligners in the cleaning tub, add lukewarm water and cleaning crystals, shake gently for 20 seconds, and let them sit for 15 minutes.
“The cleaning system includes a cleaning tub and 50 packets of cleaning crystals that keep aligners odor-free, hygienic, and transparent while removing plaque in under 15 minutes.”
Storing Invisalign When not Wearing Them
One of the most crucial tips for protecting and maintaining aligners is to keep them in a sealed case when they are not being worn. Avoid placing them in open spaces, such as cabinets, counters, tables, or on a napkin, as they can collect dust and become unsanitary. If aligners fall in a contaminated area or are left out, clean them thoroughly with water and mouthwash or cleaning crystals.
Invisalign offers unique cases for safekeeping. We urge patients to store their aligners in a well-fitting case when eating, drinking, brushing teeth, or traveling. Cases should be cleaned out and free of dust or liquid residue before storing the aligners.
“One of the most crucial tips for protecting and maintaining aligners is to keep them in a sealed case when they are not being worn.”
Prevent Damaging Aligners
Although Invisalign aligners are quite durable and meant to last the full two-week duration, patients should be aware of simple practices that limit or prevent even minor damage to their aligners. One of the most common practices that cause damage to Invisalign aligners is inadequate brushing and flossing.
Decalcification, the removal or loss of calcium or calcium compounds in the tooth, causes white marks and leads to cavities. According to The American Association of Orthodontists, "Prompted by a build-up of plaque, calcium and other minerals leach out tooth enamel and leave a permanent white mark behind. It can progress to a full-blown cavity if plaque keeps collecting." The AAO suggests patients use interproximal brushes, floss threaders, floss holders, water irrigators, power toothbrushes, and fluoride toothpaste to clean teeth before placing aligners back in. Lastly, never use hot water when cleaning or rinsing the aligners as the plastic will become warped and compromised.
Avoid Certain Foods
Along with oral hygiene practices, patients should avoid certain activities, foods, and drinks that cause further damage to aligners, especially when they do not have access to their cleaning tools. Mayo Clinic advises patients with braces against certain practices that can also be applied to Invisalign aligners such as cutting down on sugary, starchy, or acidic foods and beverages, which substantially contribute to plaque formation and tooth decay and can transfer to the aligners.
Patients should also be wary of clenching or grinding their teeth when wearing their aligners to prevent wear and tear. Nightguards are specifically designed to minimize grinding and keep upper and lower jaws separated. Invisalign "chewies" are another effective tool to properly seat the aligners, limit grinding and clenching, and prevent any damage to the aligners.
“Along with oral hygiene practices, patients should avoid certain activities, foods, and drinks that cause further damage to aligners.”
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Traveling with Invisalign
The most crucial tip for aligner care while traveling is conscientious and excessive brushing, flossing, and rinsing. Plaque can build up more quickly and easily when traveling as most people do not carry their oral tools around with them and typically do not have access to rinsing water throughout the day.
To maintain both the teeth and aligners, essential items to pack include a soft-bristled toothbrush, floss, mouthwash, and aligner case(s). It is also recommended to bring a travel-sized toothbrush, floss, and mouthwash to keep moving on-the-go. Keep the aligners and case at all times to avoid loss or damage in larger bags or suitcases.
“To maintain both the teeth and aligners, essential items to pack include a soft-bristled toothbrush, floss, mouthwash, and aligner case(s).”
Products to Avoid
Since Invisalign aligners are meant to last the full two-week duration, they are quite durable. However, cleanliness and hygiene play a vital role in protecting and preserving the aligners, and certain oral products can damage both the teeth and aligners.
Oral cleaning products in many toothpaste and mouthwash brands contain harmful chemicals such as bleach and peroxide. One way to ensure a product is safe is by checking for the ADA symbol. The Community Dental Health Journal, in the article Fluoride and Oral Health, report that "the American Dental Association (ADA) and most dentists consider fluoride to be an essential ingredient in toothpaste." Fluoride is a natural mineral that protects tooth enamel and cleans teeth thoroughly, fighting off cavities. The Environmental Protection Agency also warns against products containing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) found in many floss brands, as they have toxic effects and do not break down easily in the body.
Patients can find a list of ADA-approved oral products here.
“Oral cleaning products in many toothpaste and mouthwash brands contain harmful chemicals such as bleach and peroxide.”
Questions Answered on This Page
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Are there any home remedies for properly cleaning Invisalign aligners?
A. There are a variety of ways in which patients can safely clean their aligners at home. Vinegar and baking soda work well as fighting solutions to disinfect and clean out aligners. Antibacterial soap and clear mouthwash also remove bacteria, dust, and residue. There are many aligner cleaning products available that are designed specifically for Invisalign and other clear aligners.
Q. What will happen if I forget to remove my aligners while eating or drinking?
A. Invisalign aligners are removable and easily-manageable. We heavily advise against eating and drinking as aligners can become stained, reshaped, or damaged. If a patient forgets their aligners in, they should immediately remove them and soak them in a cleaning solution for at least 15 minutes to allow disinfection and any visible color to fade.
Q. How can smoking affect my aligners?
A. Smoking tobacco products undoubtedly leads to discoloration, which is visible on both the teeth and aligners. Smoking also increases the risk of tooth decay, tooth loss, gum disease, and oral cancer. Chronic bad breath and dry mouth are other symptoms of smoking. Wearing aligners while smoking will increase those risks as the tray traps in smoke.
Q. Should I treat my retainer with the same care as aligners?
A. Aligners and retainers are quite similar in regard to purpose and function. Retainers that are clear, plastic, and removable can be cleaned and stored in the same way as aligners. Permanent bonded retainers are fixed in the mouth and may need a different cleaning routine. Consult your orthodontist about safe cleaning practices with retainers.
Q. I clean my aligners and mouth thoroughly, but I still smell an odor. How can I eliminate the odor?
A. Many patients following all protocols regarding their aligners still experience odors, usually near the end of the day. Much of the odor results from the accumulation of saliva and bacteria in the trays. To avoid this, we recommend cleaning them out two or three times daily and leaving them out to air-dry for at least five minutes.
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Definition of Dental Terminology
- Blue Compliance Indicator (Invisalign® Teen)
- The blue compliance indicator is a small blue dot on the aligners that will fade from blue to clear in order to indicate if the patient is wearing the aligner for the proper amount of time and where the patient is in the Invisalign® process.
- iTero Element® Scanner
- An iTero Element® scanner allows professionals to create a 3D image of the patient’s teeth in minutes and predict what it will take to move the teeth into proper alignment.
- An overbite is a type of malocclusion that occurs when the upper teeth jut out over the lower teeth, covering them and causing other issues.
- SmartForce Attachments
- SmartForce attachments are small attachments that professionals place on the patient’s teeth before placing aligners to help move the teeth.
Learn More About Invisalign Care
If you are unsure how to properly care for your Invisalign aligners, call us at 732-761-9700 to speak to Colts Neck Center for Orthodontics & Invisalign about hygienic oral care and what to avoid throughout treatment.
Helpful Related Links
- American Dental Association (ADA). Glossary of Dental Terms. 2021
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- Colts Neck Center for Orthodontics & Invisalign was established in 2006.
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