When you invest in invisible aligners, you’re not just investing in your smile, you’re investing in improved oral health. And that is an important decision you can make.
Straight teeth are less work to keep clean because there are less tight spaces for food debris to get trapped in. With more of the teeth’s surface area exposed, brushing and flossing are easier and more effective, and as a result, cavities are less likely. Because they are pushing and grinding on each other in an unnatural way, crooked teeth tend to experience more wear and tear than straight teeth, which can lead to multiple problems, such as TMJ, extra dental work, and sinus issues.
With that in mind, you’ll want to be sure to take proper care of your aligners so that they are effective and last as long as you need them. Here are some dental aligner tips explaining how to really get the most out of them.
Run your aligners under some cool water when you remove them. This helps prevent saliva from drying and building upon the plastic, which leads to bacteria growth. Keeping your aligners clean keeps your mouth cleaner too.
Never use hot water for this! And definitely, don’t run them through the dishwasher. Extreme heat can damage and melt the plastic, causing your aligners to become misshapen and unusable.
Whenever you finish eating, make sure to brush and floss your teeth before re-inserting your aligners. You don’t want food particles getting stuck between your teeth and your aligners, as this leads to bacteria buildup on both surfaces, which can, in turn, lead to cavities and other dental problems.
It may seem counterintuitive, but it’s actually better for your aligners to clean them with antibacterial soap rather than toothpaste. Toothpaste can be too abrasive for the plastic and scratch them, which makes them more visible when you’re wearing them--kind of defeating the purpose of invisible aligners.
The colors of most mouthwash can stain your clear braces, making them appear green or blue or purple. The whole point of clear aligners is that they’re less noticeable than traditional braces--don’t throw that away by not taking care of them properly! Instead, look for a clear retainer or denture cleaner to sanitize and soak them in.
Optimally, wearing your aligners full-time means wearing them for at least 22 hours a day. This gives you 2 hours total to eat, drink, and brush/floss your teeth. You’ll be able to tell you’re wearing them a sufficient amount of time when each new set of aligners continues to fit relatively comfortably. By contrast, if you aren’t wearing your aligners enough, each new set will feel tight and uncomfortable. And if your aligners fit improperly, your orthodontist will have to take new impressions of your teeth and remake the aligners, which will not only cost you more money but will likely lengthen your total treatment time as well.
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For more information about typical treatment time or how to clean clear braces, check out our other blog posts.