August 3, 2022By Dr. TannerIn Invisalign6 Minutes

How to Clean and Care for Your Invisalign Aligners

Now that you are underway with your Invisalign treatment, it is important to properly care for your aligners and keep them as clean as possible. It isn’t as difficult as you might think and can be accomplished in a number of ways using either pre-made products or items you already have in your home.

The Importance of Caring for Your Invisalign Aligners

Keeping your aligners clean has many benefits. This will help you keep a healthier mouth as you work to transform your smile. You are brushing your teeth regularly, and perhaps rinsing with a mouthwash every morning. However, if you neglect to take proper care of your clear aligners, your teeth and breath may suffer.

How to clean your aligners

Caring for Invisalign aligners is easy and only takes a few minutes. You should get into the habit of cleaning your aligners every time you brush your teeth. In order to properly clean the aligners, you will need a toothbrush.

  • Rinse your aligners under lukewarm water that isn’t too hot or too cold.
  • With a soft-bristled toothbrush, using small, circular motions, gently brush the entire aligner, both inside and out.
  • Once you have completely brushed the inside and outside of the aligner, rinse it again under lukewarm water.
  • Carefully inspect the aligner for any calcium build-up. It appears as a cloudy, white film on the aligner.
  • If you do notice calcium buildup, soak the aligner in a denture or aligner cleaning solution according to the product’s instructions. Invisalign makes the Invisalign Cleaning System that is designed specifically for Invisalign aligners, but any denture or retainer cleaning solution will work.
  • Once you are finished cleaning your Invisalign aligners and your teeth, place the trays back in your mouth.

NOTE: You should not use toothpaste on your aligners. Toothpaste is abrasive and can cause scratching of the aligner, increasing plaque and tartar build-up

As an aside, rinse your aligners every time you remove them for eating or drinking. This holds true whether you have time to brush the aligners and is an important step to remove saliva build-up.

To soak or not to soak?

Although not necessary, some people prefer to soak their aligners in addition to their daily cleaning routine. This can be done every few days or once a week in the middle of your aligner cycle. It is important not to use hot water, as the heat may damage and distort your trays. Regardless of which method you select, always be sure to thoroughly rinse and brush your trays after soaking. Here are some options:

  • Invisalign Cleaning Crystals: This product is available online and in some retail stores where dental products are sold. It comes in single-use packets and is added to lukewarm water. As it dissolves, it cleans your tray aligners. This product recommends soaking for 10 to 20 minutes.
  • Denture and Retainer Tablets: Denture and retainer tablets are available online or in retail stores that sell dental products. They work in a similar manner as cleaning crystals. Dissolve one tablet in warm water and soak your trays for 10 to 20 minutes. Caution: Some denture tablets having coloring that will stain your aligners. Select tablets with no coloring.
  • Baking soda and water: This mixture should be approximately 1 teaspoon of baking soda to about one-half to three-quarters cup of warm water. Soak your aligners in this solution for 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Vinegar and water: This mixture is equal parts white vinegar and warm water. Soak trays for 20 to 30 minutes in this solution.

NOTE: It is not recommended soaking your aligners in mouthwash. Most mouthwashes have added color that will tint your aligners. Also, some mouthwashes contain alcohol, which can distort aligners.

Problem solving dirty or discolored aligner trays

Staining: Staining of aligners can occur when you leave them in while drinking coffee, tea, juice, wine or soda. Always remove the trays when drinking hot or colored liquids. Staining will also occur if the aligners are not kept clean on a regular basis. Finally, smoking with the aligners in place will definitely discolor the trays.

White film or chalkiness: Usually due to calcium build up or residue from not keeping the aligners clean– similar to tartar on your teeth. The best option is to clean the aligners daily to prevent the accumulation of these mineral deposits. If the deposits have already developed, then try one of the soaking options mentioned above.

Remember that your aligners are always in intimate contact with your teeth – keep them clean!!

If you have questions about the benefits of Invisalign treatment, please call Visage Orthodontics to schedule a visit with Dr. Tanner, your Santa Fe Invisalign specialist. Dr. Tanner will review everything in detail and develop a customized treatment plan to fit your lifestyle and budget.

A confident and beautiful smile is right around the corner!