The reason why clear aligners like Invisalign have become a commonly chosen treatment for teens and adults here at Thacker Orthodontics is, well, clear: from their comfortable, simple design to the outstanding results they produce, clear aligners are a great option for patients of all ages. Though clear aligners may seem straightforward, there are some tricks to ensuring that you get the most out of your treatment. And, no matter where you are in your treatment journey, it’s never a bad time to brush up on tips for caring for your clear aligners! Many of these tips can also be used on your clear retainers after your braces treatment has finished. From your friends at Thacker Orthodontics, read on for our recommendations for keeping your aligners in good shape.
Keeping your aligners clean
It’s important to keep your aligners clean during treatment, not only because dental issues like cavities or gum decay can cause some serious setbacks, but because dirty or damaged aligners can reduce their effectiveness.
The good news is, it’s easy to care for both your oral health and your aligners when you use Invisalign or other clear aligners. The aligners are designed to be removed prior to eating, drinking anything other than water, and brushing your teeth. Before you remove your aligner, be sure to wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Pay careful attention to the fingernails and fingertips since these areas will come into the closest contact with your mouth and aligners.
It can be tempting to toss your aligners onto the nearest surface when you remove them, but you should always place aligners in a sealed container or leave them to soak in a cleaning solution when they’re not in your mouth. This protects them from germs and also prevents you from accidentally throwing them away (which happens more often than you’d think!). Once you’re done eating or your teeth are brushed and flossed, wash your hands again and rinse your aligner well before putting it back in your mouth.
Note that toothpaste can damage your aligners due to its abrasive nature; if you notice any build-up, you can simply soak your aligners in an oral apparatus cleaning fluid to remove it. Never clean them with or soak them in overly hot water, and keep them away from heat sources so they retain their shape.
It might sound like a lot of steps at first, but caring for your aligners will quickly become just another part of your daily routine. Being careful with your oral health and aligners will help protect your total body health, too!
Consider making a clear aligner travel kit
We recommend that all of our patients with clear aligners stay prepared for unexpected orthodontic emergencies, spur of the moment day trips, unexpected errands, or impromptu lunches out with friends by keeping a “care kit” with them in their bookbag, car, wallet, or purse at all times. Some of the items we recommend including are:
- a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste for brushing wherever you are
- floss or ortho picks to use after eating if you have the time and space to do so
- orthodontic wax, which can be used to cover any irritated areas
- an extra case for your aligners
- an old set of aligners to hold you over in case your current set gets damaged
Throw these items in a small, portable bag and you’ll have everything you need in a pinch! This can end up saving you quite a bit of time, trouble, and discomfort, and ensures that your treatment stays on track.
Follow your orthodontist’s advice!
If you’ve been given elastics to wear with your braces or aligners, ensure that you wear them exactly as directed. If you’ve recently completed treatment, continue to wear your retainer as directed by your doctor.
Dr. Jim and Dr. MaryEvan are also available for video or telephone appointments if you have any questions or concerns. Socially-distanced options like these mean that all of our patients can continue their treatments safely, conveniently, and without delay.
If we’re unable to provide you a new set of aligners right away, you can continue wearing the last set you were given. However, you should only wear them 10-12 hours each day instead of the usual 20-22 hours. This shortened wear duration will help extend the life of your aligners until an appointment is available. This way you can keep your treatment plan on track and ensure that you don’t lose any hard-earned progress!
Get the smile you deserve with clear aligners from Thacker Orthodontics
Caring for your aligners may seem like a hassle at first, but it won’t be long before it’s practically second nature! The better care you take of your clear aligners, the better care they’ll take of your smile. Clear aligners make it easy to improve your oral health safely and effectively, and will leave your friends and family wondering what you did during quarantine to get such a beautifully aligned smile.
Still have questions about your clear aligner treatment? Wondering if clear aligners could be a good fit for you? Get in touch today to schedule your FREE consultation with Dr. Jim and Dr. MaryEvan!