Are your teeth straight? Do you have spaces in your smile? Or maybe you have a tooth out of alignment that you’d change. But you don’t want braces. What about clear aligners?
You may have heard about the benefits of using aligners for improving the appearance of your smile.
Aligners are removable retainers made of plastic that are worn over your teeth to move them into their ideal place.
If you’re considering getting aligners, you should know that they require a few steps to keep them — and your mouth — healthy.
And if you’re not sure how to properly clean your aligner, here are four tips to get you started.
What Are Clear Aligners?
Clear aligners are removable retainers used in orthodontics. They’re designed to straighten crooked teeth without surgery or braces and can help give you the smile of your dreams.
Through a system of trays, clear aligners work by moving individual teeth gradually until they’ve moved to their correct position.
These trays are worn for several months up to two years, depending on the patient’s needs and smile goals.
The Benefits of Clear Aligner Therapy
There are many benefits to clear aligner therapy:
They are invisible. You can discreetly improve your smile with clear aligners. These trays are designed to be nearly undetectable. Many people wear them without anyone even knowing, unlike metal braces.
You can remove them during meals. Clear aligners can be removed when eating or drinking so you don’t have to worry about food getting stuck between your teeth.
They are comfortable. While wearing aligners, patients often report that they experience less pain than with traditional braces.
How Do I Care For My Aligners?
Cleaning your aligners is fairly easy, but you should do it regularly to keep your aligners and mouth fresh. We recommend that you:
1. Take out your aligners so you can brush and floss regularly. This will help remove any food debris that can cause stains and damage your aligners. Brushing and flossing daily is critical for overall dental health because it helps reduce bacteria and dental plaque to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. We recommend that you brush at least twice daily and floss once daily.
2. Rinse with water after every meal. After you eat, we recommend that you rinse your mouth with cool water before you put your aligners back in. This can help to remove food debris that can contribute to the development of plaque and bad breath.
3. Clean your trays. Keep your trays fresh by cleaning them regularly to avoid bad breath. You can use:
Cleaning tablets. These denture-cleaning tablets or cleaning crystals contain chemicals that dissolve away stains from your trays. In most cases, directions for the tablets say to drop the tablet in water and allow your trays to soak (follow manufacturer instructions). Then rinse.
Baking soda. Mix 1/4 cup baking soda with 2 cups warm water. Soak your trays in this solution overnight. The next morning, rinse thoroughly.
White vinegar. Mix equal parts vinegar and water. Dip your trays in this mixture and let sit for 10 minutes. Rinse well.
Toothpaste. Brush your teeth as usual to remove food particles and sticky plaque. Use a small amount of toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush and rub it gently on your trays. Rinse well.
Liquid soap. You can clean your clear aligners with liquid soap, a soft toothbrush and hot water as well. Rinse well. We recommend that you avoid scented soaps.
4. Store your aligners correctly. Put your aligners in a cool, dry place where they won’t be exposed to heat. Heat can cause them to become warped and damaged.
What NOT to Use to Clean Clear Aligners
We’ve told you what to use to clean your aligner trays, but what shouldn’t you use? These things could be damaging to your trays:
Chewing gum. While not strictly a cleaning solution, chewing gum is often used to remove debris from teeth and freshen breath. But chewing gum shouldn’t be used in the same way with clear aligners. It can leave a sticky residue on your invisible aligners and increase the risk of staining.
Toothpicks. Using toothpicks may scratch your aligners and lead to permanent marks.
Alcohol-based products. Alcohol-based products can also stain your trays.
Bleach. Bleach can stain your aligners permanently if used improperly.
Scouring pads. Scouring pads can scratch your aligners.
Other abrasive materials. Abrasive materials like sandpaper and emery boards can scratch your aligners and damage their finish.
Do Clear Aligners Stain?
Yes, clear aligners can stain if you eat with them in. Foods like berries , coffee, tea, red wine and dark chocolate can leave permanent stains on your aligners. To avoid staining, always take your aligners out of your mouth when eating, and practice regular cleaning.
Did you know that we offer our very own clear aligner treatment, Refined Aligners to improve the appearance of your smile? We can help give you the smile of your dreams.
Why Consider a Smile Makeover?
A smile makeover is an excellent option for those who want to change the appearance of their smile. A smile makeover can involve cosmetic dentistry procedures such as veneers, crowns, bonding, whitening and more. It can also include orthodontic treatments such as straightening crooked teeth, removing gaps and correcting bite problems. If you’re interested in changing your smile, contact us now for more information and to schedule a consultation.