There are many types of orthodontic treatment. Clear aligners, like Laster Perfect Smile aligners, continue to grow in popularity and provide multiple orthodontic benefits. As with all treatment types, clear aligners do come with a few care and maintenance challenges. One of the most popular questions patients ask orthodontists is, “what is the best way to clean aligners?”. Aligners like Laster Perfect Smile are fully removable and custom-made to fit a patient’s teeth snugly. Like teeth, aligners have crevices that can hold food particles in place, increasing the risk of bad breath and cavities. This is why cleaning them regularly is so important. Here’s a closer look at some of the most common types of clear aligners, and how to clean them, so you keep can keep your teeth fresh, and cavity free.
Different Types of Clear Aligners Available
Today, a number of different types of clear aligners are available, including:
- Laster Perfect Smile Aligners – Laster Perfect Smile Aligners are a cost-friendly alternative to Invisalign, and personally designed by Dr. Laster of Raleigh, North Carolina. Dr. Laster uses detailed, precise software to create his aligners. With an in-house system, these aligners are a fast, cost-effective orthodontic solution for patients.
- Smile Direct Club – The Smile Direct Club sells aligners designed to help you straighten your teeth at home. However, there’s no supervision from a dental professional, which means it’s possible to actually damage your bite and teeth, resulting in more serious problems. The ADA or American Association of Orthodontists do not recommend the use of Smile Direct Club.
Common Patient Complaints with Clear Aligners
Some of the most common complaints voiced by patients wearing clear aligners include:
- Dry Mouth – Since you’ll be wearing the aligners more than 20 hours a day, it’s not uncommon to experience dry mouth over time. A dry mouth can increase the growth of bacteria on your tongue, teeth, and gums. It’s important to stay well hydrated, so drinking plenty of water daily will help flush out bacteria. If dry mouth results in chapped, cracked lips, be sure to use lip balms regularly to help keep the moisturized. You can also purchase mouthwashes designed to remedy dry mouth for use when you brush and floss.
- Bad Breath – Some patients report that they deal with bad breath while wearing their aligners. If bacteria and food particles get trapped on teeth under your aligners, it often leaves an off-taste and bad breath.
- Buildup – If you’re not cleaning your aligners often enough, buildup can occur on aligners, not only increasing your risk of tooth decay, but making your aligners look dirty.
- Discoloration – Failing to remove your aligners when you consume food or drink may result in the discoloration of the aligners, especially when consuming those notoriously known for staining teeth, like coffee and berries. It is important to avoid staining your aligners, so they remain less noticeable.
Tips for Cleaning Your Aligners
As you wear your clear aligners, they’ll start to collect bacteria, so cleaning them is essential. Establishing a regular cleaning routine for your mouth and aligners will keep them both in good shape. The following tips can help with maintenance.
- Brush and Floss Before You Wear Them – Caring for your clear aligners starts before you even put them in your mouth. Make sure you brush and floss well before wearing the aligners to remove plaque and bacteria so it’s not trapped beneath them.
- Rinse Well with Cold Water After Removal – After you remove your clear aligners, rinse them thoroughly with cold water. This will help eliminate any food particles that became trapped in them and will keep dried saliva from building up on the plastic.
- Never Rinse with Hot Water – As you’re cleaning the aligners, make sure you never use hot water. Hot water can alter plastic and end up ruining your aligners.
To clean Laster Perfect Smile clear aligners, use the following tips:
- Use Antibacterial Soap for Cleansing – One of the best ways to clean the aligners is to use a little bit of antibacterial soap on them, which will help eliminate any bacteria left on the aligners.
- Soak in White Vinegar - White vinegar may also be used to rid your aligners of bacteria. You can soak your aligners in a tablespoon of white vinegar and cold water for 15 minutes to effectively clean them.
- Dentibrite - An aligner cleanser that can be bought on Amazon or at the drugstore. This cleaner easily, and safely, removes bacteria and buildup.
- Brush Gently When Cleansing with Soap – When you’re using soap to clean clear aligners, use a soft toothbrush and brush very gently, so you don’t scratch the plastic.
- Brush with a Bit of Toothpaste (non-abrasive) – You can use a bit of toothpaste to clean your aligners, but it must be non-abrasive. Toothpastes with abrasives, like baking soda, may scratch the plastic. Scratched aligners may not look as clear as you’d like them to be, making them more noticeable. Toothpaste can leave a film on the aligners if too much is used.
- Soak in Clear Mouthwash, Denture Cleaner, or Other Cleaning Tablets – You can also soak your aligners in a clear mouthwash to clean them. Avoid blue or green mouthwash products, since they may discolor aligners. Denture cleaner and retainer cleaning tablets, like Retainer Brite, will also effectively disinfect and clean your clear aligners.
If you are in the Rolesville, Zebulon, or Raleigh, North Carolina area, Dr. Laster and the Laster Orthodontics team are available to you for your clear aligner questions.
At Laster Orthodontics, we help families develop healthy, life-changing smiles using customized treatments, cutting-edge technologies, and caring relationships. Our individualized treatment plans help our patients achieve their perfect smile in the quickest, most painless way possible by utilizing a wide range of options from traditional braces to Propel accelerated treatment to Dr. Laster's in-house aligner program, Laster Perfect Smile. With three locations throughout the Triangle Area, we create life-changing smiles every day.