Clear Aligner Care: Dos and Don'ts

DON’T:  Leave Them Out in the Open


Leave Them Out in the Open

Storing clear aligners properly is important. When they are left out carelessly, many issues can arise. They can get lost, stolen, stepped on, or even contaminated.

Damage is a real risk. It's easy to overlook these risks, but anyone can make these mistakes.

To prevent problems, follow these clear aligner storage tips. This will help in preventing clear aligner damage. Keep them in a safe place when not in use. This simple step ensures they stay clean and undamaged. Remember, taking good care of your aligners is key to their effectiveness.

  • Sports:   If you play high-contact sports, you should swap out your clear aligner for a robust, durable mouthguard. Be careful not to misplace one for the other though; both mouthguards and aligners serve their respective roles well, but not interchangeably. Don’t make that mistake, and don’t leave them behind in the locker room.
  • Restaurants:   If you’re out grabbing a meal and realize you left your aligner case at home, you might be tempted to wrap the aligner tray in a napkin, paper towel, or cloth tissue. Wrapping aligners like this is never an advisable idea. With the appliance out of sight, it’s far too easy for you or your server to leave it out of mind and accidentally throw it out with the tissue.
  • Regions:   Areas near high heat, humidity, and again, a pet’s reach, are NOT ideal storage locations for removable clear aligners. Humidity can warp the plastic of the aligners and containers, as can a dog’s powerful bite. Always do your due diligence to minimize the appliance’s proximity to these potential hazards.
  • Loose pockets:   If your case is stored in a loose pocket, then it’s possible that the container could tumbler from your pocket on public transit, or anywhere outside unbeknownst to you. Since you’re hustling to get from point A to B, it’s surprisingly easy to lose your aligners in the shuffle, which is why investing a little extra money and effort in a go-bag is so important. Even when not going anywhere, be mindful about not having your aligners fall out on a couch or chair, where they’re free to be unsuspectingly sat on.
DON’T:  Store Them in Humid or High Heat Areas


Store Them in Humid or High Heat Areas

When you start using clear aligners, you might think the bathroom is the best place to keep them. This makes sense because you keep other cleaning items there. However, it's important to think about how to avoid aligner mishaps.

Clear aligners, similar to braces, need proper care. Instead of storing them in the bathroom, find a clean, dry place. Remember, Invisalign trays are delicate. Protecting them from damage and contamination is key. This simple step helps you take good care of your aligners.

Not necessarily. High heat and humidity can damage and deform the clear aligner material, as well as the container. If it’s a bathroom where hot showers and baths often happen, then that would NOT be an ideal place for aligner storage. Likewise, storing your appliance in a hot car during the summer months could also lead to problematic plastic warping.

This is the same reason why placing aligners and/or containers in a dishwasher machine is a bad idea. General Electric lists the optimal dishwasher water temperature range as 120-150 degrees Fahrenheit; those heat levels won’t give your products a deep clean, and will only serve to irreparably misshape them.

Excess moisture will let bacteria fester, and excess humidity will let damage fester.

EXPERT,  In-Person Invisalign Treatment Leads to Lower Costs


Leave Them Out for Over Two Hours

It's important to remember that wearing your aligners for the recommended time is key to straightening your teeth effectively. If you often eat, drink, or smoke, you might take out your aligners more than you realize. This can exceed the two-hour daily limit for removing them. To keep your treatment on track, try to limit how often you remove your aligners.

Leaving your aligners out for too long can slow down your progress. If you often need to eat or smoke, clear aligners might not be the best option for you. Before starting with aligners, consider cutting back on these habits.

When it comes to cleaning your teeth and aligners, use a soft-bristled toothbrush. This is gentler than traditional metal braces. A soft-bristled toothbrush helps maintain oral hygiene without damaging your aligners. Remember, good habits in eating, drinking, and cleaning are crucial for the success of your aligner treatment.

WHAT  If All Else Fails


If All Else Fails?

If your clear aligners get lost or broken , don’t stress! It’s not the end of the world, nor is it the end of your treatment success. Depending on the case and context, you may move to the next set in the aligner sequence, or use the previous set of aligners for the time being. If the next set of aligners are not available and you do not have the last set of aligners, you need to let your orthodontist know ASAP. Ordering new sets may cost you somewhat extra, but if you hesitate,   the teeth will shift and the gain in alignment will be lost .

Always keep your last set of removable clear aligners as a backup. Store them in a spare container. Losing aligners is not a major error. However, it can be annoying and costly. To prevent this, clean your aligners carefully and store them properly.

Wearing clear aligners, like lingual braces, requires consistent care. Brush and floss your teeth regularly. Wear your aligners for 22 hours a day.

Clean them with lukewarm water. Aligners are designed to move teeth to desired positions. Avoid using denture cleaners, as they can harm your aligners. Proper care reduces the risk of gum disease.