Invisible aligners have gained popularity as a discreet and convenient orthodontic treatment option. These clear, removable trays offer a comfortable and nearly invisible way to straighten teeth. However, to ensure optimal results and maintain good oral health during the treatment process, it is essential to take proper care of your invisible aligners.
So, what is the best way to care for plastic aligners? Here is a quick guide to ensure that your aligners keep working and that you get the straighter smile and teeth that you deserve.
Keep the aligners clean
First things first, the aligners are going to be pressed up against your teeth when you wear them, so maintaining good oral hygiene is crucial when wearing invisible aligners. Bacteria and food particles can and will become trapped between the aligners and your teeth, increasing the risk of cavities and gum disease, which is the last thing that you want!
So, aim to clean your aligners regularly by rinsing them with lukewarm water after removing them from your mouth. Try to avoid using hot water, as it can warp the aligners – remember, they are made from plastic! You should also brush your aligners gently with a soft-bristle toothbrush and non-abrasive toothpaste to remove any residue that may be on them twice a day. Additionally, you can try soaking your aligners in a denture cleaner or a specialised Invisalign Hertfordshire cleaning solution to help to keep them clean and free from bacteria.
That way, your aligners will have a minty taste too!
Avoid eating or drinking while wearing aligners
One of the benefits of invisible aligners is their removability, thereby allowing you to enjoy your meals without the restrictions that you would get with braces, such as needing to avoid sweetcorn and toffee. However, it is important to remove your aligners before you eat or drink anything besides plain water. Why? Because food particles and sugary beverages can stain or damage your aligners, and the pressure exerted during chewing can distort their shape, rendering them useless. Always carry a case or a clean container to store your aligners safely while you eat, and remember to brush your teeth before reinserting them to prevent bacteria building up.
As tempting as it is when you are in a hurry, refrain from simply throwing your aligners into your pocket or bag; again, they are plastic, and you will need to ensure that they are kept safe and free from becoming warped.
Maintain consistent aligner wear
To achieve the desired results within the prescribed treatment time, it is crucial to wear your aligners consistently. Typically, aligners should be worn for 20-22 hours a day, only removing them for meals and oral hygiene routines or for seeing your dental team. Skipping or prolonging the duration of aligner wear can slow down the progress and prolong the treatment duration because, simply put, in order for your teeth to move, you need to wear your aligners for 8 hours minimum to get your teeth moving. Set reminders or alarms to ensure you adhere to the recommended wearing schedule. By being disciplined with aligner wear, you can help your teeth move gradually into their desired positions and achieve a beautiful smile.
If, of course, you are finding it hard to stick to the wear time, talk to your orthodontist; there are other options that can be worn permanently that have minimal visual impact on your smile, such as lingual braces, or traditional ones that have clear brackets, to blend in with the enamel.
Handle aligners with care
Clear aligners are made of thin, flexible material, making them susceptible to damage if mishandled. When inserting or removing your aligners, use gentle pressure to avoid unnecessary bending or twisting. Avoid biting or chewing on your aligners, as this can cause cracks or fractures and, as mentioned before, be sure to store your aligners in their case when not in use to protect them from accidental damage or loss. If you notice any signs of wear, such as cracks or sharp edges, contact your orthodontist for guidance on how to proceed.
Remember, your aligners should have a snug fit when you first put them on, and over time (around 2 weeks), they should begin to feel loose as your teeth move.
Take pain relief
It is safe to say that many people quit wearing their aligners; simply put, the process is a bit more uncomfortable than they may have thought. Of course, the process is designed to move your teeth, so some soreness should be expected. In order to manage this and get the straighter smile that you want, it is worth investing in ibuprofen or paracetamol.