If your Invisalign cosmetic dental treatment process is over, you have received a set of retainers from your doctor. Congratulations! You have been successful in achieving your goal of enhancing your smile. It is time to keep that smile intact for the rest of your life. And you can start this chapter of your life by asking: How to clean my Invisalign retainers at home?
Based on our research on the recent material available in the public domain, we bring the 10 best tips for cleaning your Invisalign retainers at home.
10 Ways to Clean Invisalign Retainers at Home
1. Brush your retainers regularly
Brush your retainers every time you brush your teeth. It will be good for you if you consider them an extension of yourself. That way, it will be easier to remember when to brush them and why you should not neglect them.
2. Rinse them under lukewarm water
Use only lukewarm water to rinse your retainers. Never use hot water. Hot water may distort their shape. Any minor distortion may result in misalignment.
If you notice any distortion in your retainers, bring the matter to your doctor’s notice. Your doctor will be able to order a new set of retainers for you.
3. Use a retainer brush
Use a retainer brush or any soft-bristled brush to clean your retainers. Reach the entire surface of your retainers. Reach all corners so that no debris or plaque remains on them.
4. Remove tartar
If you notice something on the retainers that you cannot clean with lukewarm water and your toothbrush, soak your retainers in the retainer cleaning solution.
Invisalign has its native retainer cleaning solution called Steraligner.
They also have Invisalign cleaning crystals. But seek your doctor’s advice regarding which retainer cleaning solution you should buy from the market.
However, do not soak your retainers in mouthwash. The discoloration is almost certain to happen. Besides, you do not know how the chemicals or alcohol in the mouthwash will affect the retainers’ structural integrity.
-Take enough concentrated Steraligner solution into the soaking jar (up to the fill line).
-Place your retainers on the solution.
-Add water to merge the retainers completely.
-Wait for 3-5 minutes.
-Scrub the retainers and rinse them under lukewarm water.
5. Store your retainers in the retainer case
Once clean, you may wear your retainers immediately or store them in the retainer case. Store the case in a safe place. Retainers may crack if they fall from a certain height. The case will protect them.
But, in some cases, the case may not be strong enough to tackle the friction. That is why you need to find a place within your house where you can reach easily but where your retainers will also be safe. Don’t leave them on the table or kitchen worktop.
6. Keep retainers dry
Damp retainers may work against you. Bacteria love damp corners. That is why never forget to dry your retainers before storing them. If you do, there is a chance that you may wear them quickly before going out. That will be like throwing millions of dangerous bacteria at your teeth.
7. Do not soak your retainers overnight
Do not soak your retainers in a retainer cleaning solution or water overnight. If you do, you may weaken their plastic.
You are not supposed to do that anyway, as you are required to wear your retainers at least 22 hours a day.
8. Clean stained Invisalign retainers with vinegar
The process can be as follows:
- Take a solution of one part distilled white vinegar and three parts lukewarm water in a glass.
- Soak your retainers entirely in the solution for 15 minutes.
- Brush your retainers and wash them under lukewarm water.
- Put them in your mouth or dry them before storing them in their case.
9. Clean Invisalign retainers with Hydrogen peroxide
Clean your retainers with a 50-50 lukewarm water and hydrogen peroxide mix. Soak them in the solution for an hour (based on how cloudy they are) before rinsing them under lukewarm water.
10. Cleaning Invisalign retainers with soap
You may clean your Invisalign retainer with anti-bacterial soap. As usual, use lukewarm water for rinsing.
Vivera retainers are supposed to last ten years. But many different things can influence their durability. Poor oral health is only one of them.
If your retainers look cracked or damaged or show signs of breakage, contact your doctor to receive a new set of retainers.
How not to clean your Invisalign retainers at home
- Do not use hot water on your retainers. Not even to sterilize them.
- Do not use pigmented soap.
- Avoid using aromatic soap.
- Do not soak your retainers in the cleaning solution or water overnight.
- Do not clean your retainers with dish soap or harsh detergent, or alcohol.
- Mouthwashes often have alcohol in them. Do not soak your retainer in mouthwash.
- Denture cleaning solutions are not suitable for cleaning retainers. They are too harsh.
- Use only a soft-bristled toothbrush to brush your retainers. Do not use your old toothbrush on them.
- Do not leave your retainers on the table. Store them in their case.
- Do not forget to wear your retainers according to your doctor’s recommendations.
- If you have not brushed your teeth, your retainers cannot offer you a healthy mouth. If you keep your mouth healthy, your retainers will not stink.
- Drink lots of water to keep hydrated. Your retainers will last longer.
- Do not use whitening toothpaste on your retainers.
- Do not throw your stained Invisalign retainers into the dishwasher.
Aligners vs. Retainers
What you use during your Invisalign treatment are aligners. Aligners help reposition your teeth, while retainers help hold your teeth at the expected position.
Aligners are not a long-term solution. As a patient, you change your aligners every two-four weeks (sometimes one to three weeks, based on your doctor’s recommendations). They are changed when moving the teeth in the right direction is complete.
Each aligner set is supposed to shift your teeth by up to 0.2 mm. Then you take your next set of aligners and change them when their job is done.
In comparison, you do not change your retainers often. A set of retainers are designed to last from 5 to 10 years. When manufacturing retainers, their durability remains a significant point.
You can’t use your aligners as retainers. They are made from different materials.
Types of Retainers
There are two types of retainers available in the cosmetic dentistry industry: They are:
- Removable retainers: made from a plastic-like material. For example, Invisalign’s Vivera retainers.
- Fixed retainers: made from thin wire and bonded to your teeth.
Invisalign retainers are made from ‘medical-grade, high molecular weight, thermoplastic polymers,’ according to Invisalign USA.
In this post, we will deal with only removable Invisalign retainers.
Do I Have to Wear Retainers?
Your doctor will be in the best position to answer this question.
Every treatment case is different. But as a rule of thumb, most doctors or dentists recommend using retainers after a patient’s teeth have attained their desired alignment.
If you do not wear retainers, your teeth may return to their original position with time. All your sacrifice and the money you spent on treatment will have no meaning.
Invisalign retainers are thin and barely visible. The best thing would be to adjust to the concept of wearing retainers instead of having a fear of them.
Who knows, that may even bring the order you always wanted in your life.