Cleaning your Invisalign aligners and Vivera retainers can be tricky business.
Let me walk you through the options as I see them, based on my experience cleaning hundreds of them for our patients.
How-to Have Squeaky Clean Invisalign Aligners
The way I see it, the art of maintaining clean Invisalign aligners is a balancing act: don’t clean them enough, and you end up wearing a science project on your teeth. Clean them too aggressively, and you can damage the aligners or make them more prone to attracting plaque.
Three Methods to Try
I propose you try out my three options below, and see which works best for you.
- Method One: The Minimalist
Toothbrush + Cold Water
In most cases, you can’t go wrong by simply brushing your aligners each time you brush your teeth. Use a small amount of toothpaste if you like (the residual amount left on the brush after brushing your teeth is plenty).
Be sure to wash and rinse your aligners under cold water, never hot. Hot water can distort the plastic of your aligner or retainer and compromise the fit.
PRO TIP: Technique matters. Brush your Invisalign aligners with the brush oriented so the long side of the brush lines up with the crevices where there are gaps between teeth.
Brush with an up-and-down motion across all those little crevices, rather than the side-to-side and circular motions you give your teeth and gums. Actually look at each crevice and see that there is no more crud. Don’t just wave your brush over it and hope for the best… use your eyeballs!
If you find your aligners become cloudy-, dull- or scratched-looking using this method, it may be because your toothpaste is too abrasive. You may want to find a more gentle, less-abrasive toothpaste to protect your aligners and, more importantly, your tooth enamel.
If you find your aligners are getting grimy even after diligent brushing, try graduating to The Super Soaker method.
2. Method Two: The Super Soaker
Toothbrush + Cold Water
Bleach Soak for Stains
Vinegar + Baking Soda Soak for Build-up
For this method, brush your aligners as you would in The Minimalist method. Just add in one or two 30-minute soaks per week based on your needs:
If your Invisalign aligners are stained or discolored…
Once a week, soak your Invisalign aligners for 30-minutes in a diluted bleach solution (about 1 tablespoon in a cup of cold water is perfect). Brush and rinse your aligners well before putting them back in your mouth.
PRO TIP: If your Invisalign aligners leave a bleach taste in your mouth even after rinsing, try giving them an “after-soak” in pure cold water. About 15 minutes should help take away the taste.
If your Invisalign aligners have visible tartar build-up…
Once a week, soak your Invisalign aligners for at least 30-minutes in white vinegar. A few minutes before pulling your aligners out, add a dash of baking soda (not too much or you’ll create a volcano! Let the solution bubble and froth for a few minutes, then brush and rinse your aligners well before putting them back in your mouth.
3. Method Three: The Full-on OCD
Toothbrush + Dish Soap + Cold Water
Retainer Brite Tablets + Mini-Ultrasonic
I get it. You’ve tried everything, and still your aligners look….. gross. Welcome to method three: The Full-On OCD.
Have a dedicated toothbrush you use just for your aligners. Keep it with you, and brush them every time you put them back in. When you can, use dish soap (blue Dawn is amazing) and plenty of elbow grease. Just be careful not to bend or break your aligner in your quest for cleanliness.
Feel free to use the soaks described above in the Super Soaker Method. Better still, use your own personal mini-ultrasonic cleaner and use Retainer Brite tablets as often as needed. Simply drop your aligners and one Retainer Brite tablet in the ultrasonic chamber, fill with cold water, close the lid and let ‘er rip for 15-20 minutes or more. Vinegar also makes a great ultrasonic soak, but it needs longer to work.
The Bottom Line
Having shiny and clean Invisalign aligners is more about working smart than working hard – try the methods here and see if they work for you. I tend to be in the Super Soaker camp, because I feel like brushing alone (if done properly) can pretty much do the job to keep my aligners clean. The extra vinegar soak once per week is all I need to keep them looking and feeling clean.
Good luck and happy cleaning!
Invisalign is a quickly growing alternative to traditional braces.
Dr. Bhatt delivers quality Invisalign in Essex , Fastbraces in Essex and Facial Aesthetics In Essex to patients throughout Colchester, Hornchurch, Brentwood,Clacton on Sea and Essex and the surrounding