A removable orthodontic appliance (an aligner or a retainer) is a common form of solution for people looking to straighten their smile. Once the straightening treatment is complete, we also recommend a removable retainer such as Essix or Vivera which should be worn at night. This practice uses the Invisalign system of removable aligners to treat our patients with great success. Clear removable aligners can be an essential piece of equipment that will enable the straightening results that you are looking for.
A common problem, however, is that some patients don’t take proper care in keeping their orthodontic aligner clean, which can sometimes hinder their oral health and the straightening or retaining process.
Plaque can build on your orthodontic appliance the same way it can build on your teeth. To ensure this doesn’t occur with your aligner or retainer, follow these steps regularly to keep your orthodontic appliance clean.
Before you go through the process of cleaning your orthodontic appliance, be sure to rinse it first. Whilst the appliance is still moist with saliva, rinsing it can help to rinse away excess debris that you currently have on the appliance and make it easier to clean later. It also prevents any debris from becoming hard and dry, and thus more of a challenge to remove in the long term.
Another cleaning method that you can use to keep your orthodontic appliance clean is the use of soaking. This can help to disinfect and remove bacteria effectively. Just be sure to check with your dentist which tablets are appropriate for your orthodontic appliance. Some can be harsher than others. This practice keeps a stock of Retainer Brite® which we recommend to our patients to be used each week or more regularly if needed. All you have to do is add a cleanser tablet to a lukewarm cup of water. Once the tablet is completely dissolved in the water, add the appliance to the water and leave it there for the recommended time – usually around 20 minutes. Then rinse and replace in the mouth or your box as needed.
In some cases, you may find there’s been a build-up in very awkward places around your appliance. These can be difficult to tackle with the usual rinsing and soaking. If you have this problem, a great way to overcome this is using cotton buds.
Moisten the bud in lukewarm soapy water and manoeuvre it around the deep grooves and ridges to remove any build up, then rinse. This may be quite a tedious job, but it can be a great way to ensure the cleanliness of your orthodontic appliance.
Our dentists do not recommend brushing your removable appliance. The brushing motion on your appliance can cause tiny scratches or abrasions which can potentially cause your appliance to stain. Our dentists feel that the rinse, soak, bud technique is more than adequate to clean your appliance.
Dental Solutions wants to make sure that you can be ‘appliance smart’ when it comes to keeping your orthodontic appliance clean. These tips can be particularly helpful considering the current circumstances we are witnessing at the moment. By following these tips, you can be sure that your appliance is kept in good condition and your oral health is of a high standard.