Invisalign is a popular clear aligner treatment option for straightening teeth. While Invisalign aligners can effectively move teeth into their desired positions, it is important to properly clean them to maintain oral hygiene and treatment success. Here are 5 key reasons why cleaning invisalign aligners is important:
1. Remove Plaque and Food Debris
Invisalign clear aligners are designed to be worn for the majority of the day, only being removed for a short period of time to eat, drink, brush and floss. Due to the extensive wear time of over 20 hours, there are many opportunities throughout the day for food particles and plaque to build up on the surface of the aligners. Plaque is the soft, sticky film that constantly forms on teeth. Bacteria, and food scraps, as well as salivary components make up its composition. Due to the close contact between aligners and teeth, plaque can easily accumulate on aligners similarly to how it forms on teeth. Any food or drink that is consumed provides nutrients for the bacteria within plaque to grow and multiply rapidly.
If aligners are not cleaned properly after eating, the plaque and food particles trapped between the aligner and teeth have ideal conditions to remain undisturbed. This allows the bacteria levels to increase substantially. High amounts of bacteria can lead to bad breath and potentially cause cavities or tooth decay if left unchecked. To avoid these oral health issues, it is important to thoroughly clean aligners after every meal using a soft toothbrush and cleaning solution formulated for aligners. This helps to mechanically remove plaque and food debris trapped on the surface and between teeth contact areas. Proper cleaning reduces the bacteria count and maintains a clean environment in the mouth.
2. Prevent Staining and Discoloration
Invisalign aligners are made of a clear plastic material that is meant to be barely noticeable when worn. However, this same transparency makes it easy for stains and discoloration to be seen on the aligners over time. Certain foods and drinks are especially likely to cause permanent staining. Foods like coffee, tea, red wine and curry contain pigments that can bond with the plastic if given the chance. The molecules from these coloring agents are able to seep into tiny scratches and pores on the surface of the aligners. Once embedded in the plastic, they cannot be removed through regular brushing alone.
It is for this reason that it is best not to wear aligners when consuming or drinking these types of strongly colored items. Removing the aligners during meals allows any residue to be rinsed away before it makes contact with the plastic. However, prompt cleaning after eating is still important to prevent staining. Brushing the aligners with a soft-bristled toothbrush and cleaning solution designed for orthodontic use helps to dissolve and wash away particles before they cause blemishes. The solution and abrasive brushing action help break down molecules that may have begun bonding to the surface.
3. Maintain Optimal Fit and Function
Invisalign treatment involves wearing a series of clear plastic aligners for up to two years to gradually shift teeth into the desired position. Each aligner applies constant gentle pressure to the teeth in order to move them. This pressure is what facilitates the movement of teeth throughout treatment. It is crucial for aligners to maintain very precise fitting in order to effectively guide the teeth. Even a small amount of food debris, plaque buildup or staining on the surface of an aligner can disrupt the optimal contact and pressure required for orthodontic movement. When aligners no longer fit perfectly snug due to dirt or grime, they cannot apply the necessary forces to the teeth. As a result, the teeth may not shift as planned during that stage of treatment.
Regular cleaning helps remove any particles that accumulate on best aligners for teeth from daily wear. Plaque and food particles trapped between teeth and aligner surfaces prevent the aligner from fully seating properly. These gaps disrupt the ideal contact and pressure distribution needed for effective tooth movement. However, keeping aligners clean through proper brushing ensures a precise fit at all times. Clean aligners are better able to fully mold to the teeth and gum line, applying uniform gentle pressure across the dental arch. This optimal contact and fit is essential for teeth to gradually shift into alignment as guided by successive aligners over the course of treatment. Thorough cleaning prevents any buildup that could compromise an aligner’s ability to guide teeth into their target positions.
4. Reduce Risk of Decalcification
Decalcification, also known as white spot lesions, refers to the demineralization or loss of calcium from tooth enamel. It causes opaque white spots or marks to form on the teeth. The enamel becomes porous and weaker in the areas affected. These lesions are an early sign of decay developing under dental appliances or in regions that plaque can easily accumulate. Invisalign aligners are form-fitting, but they may not fully cover all tooth surfaces. The edges provide nooks and crannies where plaque and food particles can get trapped if aligners are not cleaned properly.
The bacteria in plaque feed on sugars and acids in the mouth to produce more acids as a waste product. These acids dissolve minerals from enamel over time, potentially leading to decalcification. By thoroughly cleaning aligners daily, the debris and plaque that harbor bacteria are removed. This reduces the acid levels the enamel is exposed to. It helps balance the pH in saliva and around teeth. Well-balanced pH does not promote demineralization of healthy enamel. Keeping aligners plaque-free lowers the risk of decalcification developing under aligner edges during orthodontic treatment.
5. Follow Dentist’s Advice
It is important for Invisalign patients to follow the cleaning instructions and recommendations provided by their orthodontist. As the dental expert overseeing treatment, the orthodontist understands each patient’s oral health, treatment plan and aligner cleaning needs best. Different patients may require customized cleaning routines depending on factors like teeth and gum health, aligner stage, dietary habits and more. By consulting with their orthodontist, patients can learn the most suitable cleaning technique for their aligners. This may involve the type of toothbrush to use – soft vs hard bristles, manual vs electric; or recommended cleaner – toothpaste, denture cleaner solution, baking soda etc.
The orthodontist may advise cleaning frequency needed – after each meal, twice daily etc. Following the orthodontist’s guidance ensures aligners stay hygienic as designed for treatment. It allows aligners to fit precisely and apply necessary forces as teeth shift. Using an improper cleaning method could prevent the aligners from fitting as intended or cause premature staining. This may interfere with the planned tooth movements or require replacing aligners ahead of schedule.
Keeping Invisalign aligners clean is a simple step that yields major oral health benefits. It maintains proper fit for effective tooth movement, reduces staining, controls plaque and prevents decalcification. Choosing the best dental doctor in lucknow like Mint Dental and Following their advice on an appropriate cleaning routine helps ensure aligners stay hygienic to comfortably guide teeth into their ideal positions. With regular cleaning, Invisalign patients can enjoy straighter teeth without compromising their oral health.