Updated: Aug 7
Did you just get your Invisalign and your dentist gave you zero instructions on how to take care of it? Look no further, here is your guide to keeping them clean.
Table of Contents:
The best way to keep your Invisalign aligners clean
The best way to keep your Invisalign clean is by not eating and drinking while wearing them because if there is any food coloring in your foods, it will stain your clear aligners. The food coloring will leech off and stick onto the trays causing them to change colors. In addition to that, there is also the possibility of damaging your trays if you try to chew with them on so don't do it!
Another often neglected practice is forgetting to brush and floss after eating and then proceeding to put your Invisalign on. If you didn't clean off all of the food particles on your teeth and you wear your trays, your trays will pick up the staining from the food. Since the trays have a tight fit, it will hug the staining foods closely cause them to stain more quickly.
Nonetheless, even if you're very diligent with keeping them clean, they will still stain over time but that is why you need to know alternative methods to clean them!
How to use the Invisalign cleaning crystals
If you want a cleaning solution where you can soak your trays in, the only official cleanser is the Invisalign cleaning crystals. The company only endorses it's own product and none other. This is the instructions for the Invisalign cleaning crystals.
Remove the aligners or retainers and rinse with tap water.
Place the trays into a cup or glass and fill with 100 mL of warm water.
Add one packet of cleaning crystals into the cup of water.
Gently shake and agitate for about 20 seconds to dissolve the cleaning crystals.
Let the solution soak for about 15 minutes and up to 30 minutes.
Gently shake and agitate one more time for 20 seconds.
Rinse the aligners and retainers out thoroughly with tap water.
You should use the Invisalign cleaning crystals once a week but you may use it more often depending on how frequent they get stained. Soaking them once a week should be sufficient as long as you follow the daily cleaning ritual.
How to clean your Invisalign on a daily basis
The cleaning crystals are to be used on a weekly basis but you should also rinse and brush them on a daily basis. As long as you're willing to do both of those, it will prevent your aligners from getting stained as quickly.
How to rinse your Invisalign
Every time that you take your Invisalign off, you should always give them a quick rinse to freshen them up. It helps to remove any soft plaque that may be stuck onto the trays. Just be wary of the temperature of the water that you are rinsing it with.
Rinse your aligners with room temperature water.
Do not rinse your aligners with hot water because it can warp the trays. Heat applied to the plastic aligners will melt them.
How to clean your Invisalign by brushing
Whenever you are brushing your teeth, you should also brush your Invisalign as well. Some people prefer to use a separate toothbrush but you can use the same toothbrush as long as you rinse off the toothpaste prior to brushing with it.
Brush your aligners with a soft bristle toothbrush and not a hard one because hard bristles can scratch the trays.
You can use a toothpaste but make sure the toothpaste has a low abrasiveness to it. If the texture is very gritty, it can cause micro scratches to the tray. Definitely stay away from the ones that contain the micro beads in them.
Alternatively, you can also brush your Invisalign with a low abrasive clear dish soap. Make sure the soap does not have any coloring in it so that it doesn't stain the tray.
If you are unsure about your toothpaste abrasiveness, the safest thing to do is to just brush it with a wet toothbrush. That way you don't have to worry about any abrasives scratching the plastic.
Alternative cleansers for soaking your Invisalign
If you do not want to use the Invisalign cleaning crystals, you can try these home remedies but you should be aware that Invisalign only recommends using their own product. All home remedies are considered off label use.
Soaking with hydrogen peroxide. Add a little bit of hydrogen peroxide along with some water in a cup. Place trays in the cup and let it soak for up to 30 minutes. Rinse the trays out really well before wearing them.
Soaking with distilled white vinegar. Add about one quarter white vinegar and three quarters of water to a cup. Let it soak for up to 30 minutes. Rinse the trays out really well prior to wearing them.
Cleansers to avoid soaking your trays with
Please do not soak your trays in mouthwash. Most of the mouth rinses come in a colored solution and the coloring in the mouthwash can stain your Invisalign aligners. That would be counterproductive to what we want to do since we want to keep the trays clean and clear.
It is also recommended to not use the denture cleanser on your Invisalign. The denture cleansing tablets are meant to clean acrylic which the dentures are made out of. Your Invisalign are not made of acrylic so it won't work. Your aligners are made out of a hard plastic.
Last but not least, please do not put your Invisalign in the dish washer to try to clean them. The heat from the dish washer will melt your trays and replacement trays are not free. So that will be one costly wash!
How often should you clean your Invisalign?
You should be rinsing them off with water every time you take them off.
You should be brushing them with a wet toothbrush and maybe toothpaste at least twice a day.
You should be soaking them in a cleanser once every week but you can do it more often depending on how stained they get.
If you are noticing them stain a lot quicker, you may need to increase the frequency that you clean them. For the vast majority of people, the routine above should be sufficient.
How to clean your invisalign retainer
Once you are done with your Invisalign treatment, you will have to wear Invisalign retainers. The retainers are nearly identical to the previous trays except that they are made out of an even thicker material. The retainers will need to be cleaned on a daily basis as well because they can also get stained.
You clean your Invisalign retainers the same exact way that you clean your Invisalign.
Rinse them after you take them off.
Brush them with a wet toothbrush or with a low abrasive toothpaste.
Soak the retainers with the Invisalign cleaning crystals once a week.
There are a variety of ways to clean your Invisalign but the best way is preventing them from staining in the first place. That involves not eating with them and also brushing your teeth before you put them back on after a meal. If you can do those two things, the cleaning process will be a lot easier.
It also helps if you rinse them off with water every time after you take them off. You can brush them with the same toothbrush that you use for your teeth but just make sure the toothpaste you use is of low abrasiveness. You can also soak your trays in a cleanser once or twice a week to keep them fresh and dirt free!
If you take care of your trays and your teeth, it will decrease the chances of the attachments popping off! If that happens you'll need to make a trip to your dentist to have it replaced.
Author: Written by Dr David Chen, a Long Island City dentist.