Wearing orthodontic silicone trainer

Invisalign has made orthodontic treatment simpler, more convenient, and faster. But some people may drag their feet about wearing Invisalign because they don’t want to “deal” with the aligners or have to worry about taking care of them. But think about this: Traditional metal braces require special tools so that you are able to meticulously clean between the wires and brackets after every meal. Invisalign is not nearly as demanding, plus, you have to admit, the benefits of being able to “opt out” of Invisalign for a few minutes when necessary is pretty tempting.

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Invisalign aligners must be a minimum of 20 hours a day. That gives you four hours to work with for eating and cleaning your trays. The cleaning itself doesn’t take much elbow grease, but there are some very important dos and don’ts to remember so that your Invisalign aligners stay fresh, clean, and working properly.

  • Don’t use toothpaste. Toothpaste is abrasive to Invisalign trays, especially whitening toothpastes. Using toothpaste on Invisalign aligners can scratch, dull, or otherwise damage the trays. It’s OK to gently rush your aligners – the practice is even encouraged. Discuss the proper brushing technique with your dentist and designate a separate soft toothbrush for this duty.
  • Do use a cleaning solution. How do you get your aligners clean if you’re not allowed to brush them with toothpaste? There are special Invisalign cleaning crystals available to properly sanitize your aligners. Your dentist may also recommend a specific type of tray cleaning solution. This method of cleaning is simple and hardly taxing.
  • Don’t skimp on cleaning. It’s easy to think that since you’re only wearing each set of Invisalign aligners for a few weeks at a time that cleaning them isn’t really necessary. After all, you’re just going to move on to another set and they’ll be clean when you start. Don’t get lazy! If you don’t keep up with cleaning your Invisalign trays, they will become discolored, as well as smelly and covered in bacteria. And that’s just gross, not to mention completely unhealthy and detrimental to your treatment plan.
  • Do rinse your Invisalign trays. Every time you remove your Invisalign aligners and before you put them back in your mouth after a meal, rinse them. Sure, you might have to figure out some unobtrusive ways to make this happen, especially if you’re out at a meal with colleagues or sitting at the lunch table with friends, but make the effort. Rinsing your aligners rinses away saliva that has dried on them and helps wash away bacteria throughout the day.
  • Don’t snack and drink while wearing Invisalign. Water is the only thing you should be consuming when Invisalign aligners are in place on your teeth. Foods and drinks are known to stain Invisalign trays, so if you have the habit of sipping on soda or coffee all day or munching on a snack here and there, you’ll have to change your ways to accommodate the demands of Invisalign. But take heart – follow the rules and you’ll likely develop a better diet for yourself while maintaining the forward progress of your teeth-straightening treatment.

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The most important thing to remember is that Invisalign is not self-cleaning. The success of this type of orthodontic treatment is absolutely dependent on the wearer’s dedication. At the start of your treatment, your dentist will identify how many aligners you’ll be wearing and for how long. Each set of Invisalign trays gradually move your smile into place, shifting certain teeth at certain times until your whole smile is in alignment. And an important part of the process is taking care of your smile.

It’s possible for bacteria to get trapped in between your form-fitting Invisalign aligners and your teeth, especially since you wear the aligners for lengthy periods of time, which is why it’s so important to clean your trays. It’s also critical to keep up with preventive care including dental exams and cleanings and daily brushing and flossing. If you’re going to this much effort to alter your smile, then make sure cleanliness is part of your routine.

Make an appointment with Dr. Shaista Najmi at Ivory Dental in Jacksonville, Florida, to learn more about Invisalign and whether this type of orthodontic treatment is right for you.

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