How to Care for Invisalign Clear Aligners

How to Care for Invisalign Clear Aligners Grand Rapids MI

Wish you could straighten teeth without braces? Like the name suggests, clear aligners from our Invisalign® Grand Rapids, MI, orthodontists are nearly invisible plastic trays that gradually move teeth into a beautiful, healthy smile.

Invisalign is a great alternative to traditional braces, especially if you think you would feel self-conscious with metal on your teeth. However, you will have to care for your clear aligners differently than you would care for metal braces.

Here are a few ways to keep clear aligners clean and in good shape while they straighten your teeth.

1. Brush & Floss After Every Meal

Unlike traditional braces, you can remove Invisalign aligners before you eat. While this helps prevent food particles from getting stuck in your aligners while you eat, you’ll still need to brush and floss your teeth after every large meal and snack.

Taking care of your teeth after eating helps you avoid staining your clear aligners. Also, food particles left behind in your aligners can give you bad breath due to accumulated bacteria. Although it may be an inconvenience to brush and floss after every meal, it’s better than allowing your aligners to get yellow and smelly.

2. Avoid Staining Drinks

Certain drinks like coffee and red wine will stain clear aligners, not to mention your teeth. If you can’t survive without your morning cup of coffee, we recommend removing your aligners before drinking. Once you’re done drinking coffee, brush your teeth to avoid staining your aligners. 

While this may seem extreme, it’s important that you keep your aligners clean and free of bacteria.

Many of our patients appreciate that Invisalign is subtle enough to go unnoticed by family members, friends, and coworkers. However, there’s no point in wearing clear aligners if you let them become discolored over time. If needed, our orthodontists can give you more tips for how to adopt a healthy oral hygiene routine during your Invisalign treatment.

3. Store Clear Aligners in Their Case

When your aligners aren’t in your mouth, they should be resting in the case our orthodontists gave you. When you take out your teeth aligners to eat, make sure that you place the aligners in their special case and not in a napkin.

Too many patients have accidentally thrown out their aligners because they were wrapped in napkins or sitting on lunch trays. Don’t let this be you! No one wants to dig through a public trash can because they threw out their Invisalign trays.

Clear aligners are custom-made to fit the contours of your teeth and gums. However, you could risk crushing or bending your aligners out of shape if you store them in your pocket, purse, or anywhere else other than their case.

It’s worth also noting that your aligners shouldn’t be left in overly warm or hot environments. While they are durable and built to withstand a fair amount, unfiltered sun exposure can lead to possible warping or distortion of the thin plastic.

For at least 22 hours a day, keep your aligner in place. If they need to come out for eating, drinking, or cleaning, don’t forget them in a hot car or allow them to get too close to a heat source. 

4. Wear Your Aligners

One of the safest places for your aligners is in your mouth. In order for Invisalign to work, you need to wear your clear aligners for 22 hours per day. Otherwise, your teeth won’t move according to schedule.

When you get a new set of aligners from our orthodontists, you’ll feel pressure on your teeth for the first few days. This pressure is a sign that the aligners are moving your teeth into optimal alignment. If you need pain relief, we recommend taking over-the-counter pain relievers.

Bonus Tools You Can Use

In addition to at-home methods, you can also purchase Invisalign cleaning products if you prefer. One of which is what they call a “Steraligner”.

The Steraligner comes with a tray, rubbing alcohol, and sodium bicarbonate which is a natural antiseptic. All you need to do is place your aligners in the tray provided and soak them for 3 minutes in the cleaning solution. When the time is up, rinse them off with warm water.

Invisalign also offers “cleaning crystals” that act as sodium sulfate cleansing agents and dissolve once placed in water. Submerging your aligners in the mixture for a few moments and rinsing them afterwards does the job. Sanitizing cases, foams, sprays, and more are also available.

Straighten Your Smile with Clear Aligners

Our Invisalign orthodontists in Grand Rapids, MI, are dedicated to helping you achieve your best smile with clear aligners. Call Armbrecht & Wierenga Orthodontics today at (616) 455-4800, or contact us online for a free consultation.

This blog post has been updated.