Getting straight teeth with Invisalign allows you to show off your new smile even before your treatment is complete with clear aligners. Adults and teens alike love the discreetness of Invisalign, and the majority of people find Invisalign more comfortable than traditional metal braces .
However, just like with traditional braces, completing your Invisalign treatment means you’ll need to wear a retainer to keep your teeth straight. Teeth naturally shift over time, and wearing your retainer can help prevent shifting teeth and the need for future orthodontic treatment.
Your Invisalign retainers will be custom-made for your smile and very similar to your aligners during treatment. You’ll need to wear your retainer as directed by your orthodontist, but it’s generally recommend to wear them for about one year full-time and then nightly for life after.
So how can you take the best care of your Invisalign retainers?
Brush Your Retainers Twice a Day
Just like with your teeth, you should aim to brush your Invisalign retainers twice a day when wearing them full-time in the year after your treatment. Don’t use water that’s too hot, as it can cause the plastic material used to make your retainers to warp over time.
Gently brush your retainers with your toothbrush as thoroughly as possible, rinsing afterward before putting back in your mouth. Once you switch to wearing your retainers nightly, you can brush them after each use, ensuring they dry completely before storing them in a case. This way, they’ll be clean for the next time you use them!
It’s important to not store your Invisalign retainers in a case when wet, as this can cause bacteria to grow on them.
Ask Your Orthodontist About a Soaking Solution
If you feel that it’s hard to really get your retainers clean after each use with your toothbrush and toothpaste alone, you can ask your orthodontist about a soaking solution. While it’s generally acceptable to use a denture or retainer cleaning solution for your Invisalign retainers, always check with your orthodontist to ensure the solution won’t be too harsh to corrode the plastic in your retainers.
Some orthodontists suggest that a soaking solution is better than brushing, since many toothpastes contain abrasive materials that can scratch or damage the retainers. You should also avoid rinsing or soaking your retainers in mouthwash, as mouthwash can stain the plastic!
Have Questions? Don’t Hesitate to Reach Out to Your Orthodontist
Caring for your Invisalign retainers can help you prevent the need for a replacement and keep your smile straight for life. Since Invisalign retainers are removed for cleaning, they allow you to have better hygiene than you would have with a fixed retainer, which is sometimes used after metal braces—but if you don’t clean your retainers, it doesn’t help your smile !
Brush your retainers twice a day when wearing full-time and after each use when switching to nightly wear. Always ask your orthodontist any questions you may have to take the best care of your Invisalign retainers!