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Do you want to learn how to clean Invisalign?
Invisalign is a popular orthodontic treatment that uses clear aligners to straighten your teeth. The process of wearing the aligner trays can be time-consuming and frustrating for some patients, but it’s also incredibly effective at correcting crooked teeth.
If you’re considering this option, here are some tips on how to clean your Invisalign aligners so they stay in good shape throughout the duration of your treatment.
Does Invisalign Work? Pros, Cons, Effectiveness
Invisalign is one of the most popular orthodontic treatments today. While it does take some time to adjust to wearing the aligner sets, many patients love how easy they are to wear and keep track of. However, there are some things to know about them.
There are several different types of Invisalign aligner trays, each designed to move your teeth into better alignment.
The most common type of tray is called Invisalign Teen. This is recommended for patients aged 12 to 18 years old. You wear the aligners for 22 hours per day, five days per week, for approximately three months. After that, you take the aligners off and replace them with another set. Each set costs around $1,200.
One of the most important parts of wearing Invisalign aligners are the fact that they need to be kept clean. They do not work well if they are covered in food, sticky substances, or anything else. If you forget to clean them, they can become quite smelly and cause problems with your teeth.
Invisalign aligners are one of the most popular orthodontic treatments today because of how easy it is to use and how effective it is. They are removable clear plastic trays that fit over your teeth like traditional braces.
There are several ways to clean them. You can use toothpaste and water, or you can use special cleaner products designed specifically for Invisalign.
Cleaning vs. Rinsing Invisalign Aligners
Invisalign recommends that patients rinse their aligners once per day. However, some dentists believe that rinsing the aligner every night is enough to keep them clean.
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that patients clean their aligners once per day and rinse them three times per week. You must do both steps to ensure that your aligners are free of germs and bacteria.
If you choose to skip one of the steps, you risk contaminating your aligners and increasing your chances of developing an infection.
You might think that just rinsing your aligners with water and brushing them with a soft-broom brush is enough. But, according to the instructions on the Invisalign site, brushing your aligners doesn’t actually remove any dirt or debris.
Instead, it simply helps distribute the dirt throughout the aligner. And, since the aligners aren’t really designed to hold much in the way of dirt, most of it ends up getting pushed around inside the aligner rather than being removed.
Invisalign Cleaning Accessories
Invisalign sells a variety of products to help keep your teeth straight while you wear your aligners. One such item is a cleaning kit called Steraligner Cleaning Crystals.
You simply put your aligners into a small plastic dish and soak them in the liquid overnight. Then rinse them off in the morning and brush them out.
The ingredients are pretty simple: rubbing alcohol, sodium bicarbonate and a few other things. But it turns out that there’s some controversy over whether these items actually do what they claim.
A study published in 2016 found that soaking aligners in rubbing alcohol for 15 minutes could kill bacteria. And another study published in 2017 found that soaking aligners for 10 seconds in sodium bicarbonate kills 99.9% of E. coli.
But a 2018 report conducted by the American Dental Association says that neither method works well enough to make the process safe. Instead, the ADA recommends brushing your aligners out every day and rinsing them under running water.
And even though the studies show that the cleaning kits don’t work very well, they still sell like hotcakes. In fact, the company behind the Steraligner Cleaning Kit sold $1 million worth of the stuff in just one month.
Is There Any Research on Best Cleaning Practices?
The researchers found that the use of toothpaste alone wasn’t effective. However, the combination of brushing and effervescent tablets worked better than either one alone. This could mean that brushing after you’ve used effervescent tablets might help prevent buildup.
They also noted that some people might want to use a different type of toothpaste depending on what type of aligner they are wearing.
For example, those wearing clear aligners might want to use a whitening toothpaste while those wearing colored aligners could opt for a darker paste.
How Often Should You Clean Your Aligners?
You’ve probably heard about the benefits of brushing and flossing your teeth regularly, but did you know it applies to your Invisalign aligners as well?
While you don’t want to go overboard with cleaning your aligners, you shouldn’t neglect to clean them either. If you notice your aligners are looking dull or stained, use a soft toothbrush to gently scrub away any buildup.
If you wear your aligners everyday, you’ll find yourself having to replace them sooner rather than later.
So why wait until they start to show signs of wear and tear to clean them up?
Cleaning your aligners regularly will help prevent buildups of plaque and food particles, keeping your mouth healthy and preventing potential issues down the road.
Any Cleansers to Avoid?
If you’re thinking about getting braces, it might be worth considering whether or not you’ll need to cleanse your teeth while wearing Invisalign aligners, says Dr. David B. Wright, DDS, MS, FACOI, FICOI, FAADCIO, director of orthodontics at University Orthodontic Associates in New York City.
“The best way to keep your aligner system clean is to brush twice daily,” he explains. “Brushing helps remove food particles and plaque buildup.”
But some cleansers — such as mouthwash, toothpastes and even dental floss — could actually damage the aligners themselves.
These products contain ingredients like sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), which is used to thin liquids and whiten clothes. SLS is extremely effective at cleaning surfaces, but it can also cause problems in the oral cavity.
“Aligners are made out of plastic, and they contain very small pores,” Dr. Wright notes. They don’t absorb water well, so if you use a product containing SLS, it can dry out the surface of the aligner and make it brittle.
This can lead to cracks and breakage, which can eventually affect how well the aligners work.
To prevent this, Dr. Wright recommends avoiding certain types of cleansers altogether. To help you choose the right ones, here are some things to consider:
Look for products labeled “for brushing and rinsing.” If the label doesn’t specify, look for one that contains fluoride. Fluoride works by strengthening enamel, making it less likely to crack or chip.
Avoid anything that contains abrasive substances, such as toothpowders, gels, powders and polishes. They can wear down the aligners’ surface and weaken the bond between the aligner material and the acrylic baseplate.
Don’t use a product that contains alcohol. Alcohol evaporates quickly, meaning it won’t remain long enough to do much good.
Also Read: How to Remove Stubborn Ear Wax at Home
Best Ways to Care for Your Aligners
Following some best practices for taking good care of your aligners will help ensure they remain clean and bacteria-free, keeping them looking great. If you want to make sure you don’t end up with an embarrassing stain.
Here are some things you shouldn’t do while wearing your aligners:
- Don’t eat during treatment
- Avoid brushing teeth while wearing your aligners
- Never drink alcohol
- Keep your aligner cases closed
- Use a soft toothbrush
- Wash your hands regularly
How to Clean Invisalign – Takeaway
Invisalign is a popular method for people to straighten teeth, but it requires regular cleaning in order to work effectively. Showing some care to the aligners can help keep your smile as clear and undetectably perfect as possible.
Because they are disposable, they can’t usually withstand harsh methods of cleaning, like abrasive brushes or very warm water. If you have a problem maintaining your aligners clean, speak to your dentist.
He or she can suggest other methods specific to your situation that can help you maintain your oral hygiene while wearing aligners.
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