Once your Invisalign treatment is complete, you’ll be given a set of Vivera retainers. Vivera is part of the Invisalign brand and you’ll find that the retainers are very similar to your aligners; they are clear and molded to the shape of your teeth, but the plastic is a bit thicker to account for the fact that Vivera retainers are meant to last for a few years, rather than a few weeks. Here’s how to clean Invisalign retainers to maximize their lifespan.
Cleaning Invisalign Retainers
Because Invisalign retainers have a similar design to aligners, you’ll find that cleaning them is almost the same process you used for your aligners. We recommend that you clean your retainer morning and night, at the same time you brush your teeth. Here’s what you’ll need to do:
- Rinse your retainers with lukewarm water.
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush or retainer brush to clean the retainers, inside and out.
- Rinse again.
- Dry your retainers, then return them to your retainer case.
- When you notice tartar buildup, use a retainer cleaning solution or the Invisalign Aligner Cleaning System for a more thorough cleaning.
There’s some controversy about whether it’s okay to use toothpaste with Invisalign retainers, since some dentists believe toothpaste can cause microabrasions on the surface of the retainers that can harbor bacteria and give the retainers a cloudy appearance over time. Invisalign itself says a small amount of toothpaste is acceptable, though, so as long as you make sure you’re using toothpaste without abrasives and you’re brushing gently with a soft-bristled toothbrush, you shouldn’t have to worry about damaging your retainers. If you’d rather err on the side of caution, a little bit of liquid dish soap works well, too. Don’t clean your retainers with:
- Whitening toothpastes, which have harsh abrasives
- Rubbing alcohol
- Boiling water
Other Care Tips for Invisalign Retainers
Invisalign retainers can last for years with proper care, but if you don’t take the time to care for them, you may need to replace them frequently. In addition to cleaning your retainers twice a day, follow these guidelines:
- Always remove your retainers when eating or drinking anything other than water.
- Make sure your teeth are clean before putting your retainers in. Food particles stuck in your teeth can cause tooth decay and make your retainers smell bad.
- Never rinse your retainers in hot water.
- Wear your retainers as instructed. If you don’t, you may find that it’s painful to put your retainers in, or that they no longer fit because your teeth have shifted.
- Store your retainers in their case.
- When you notice that your retainers are cracked or damaged, switch to a new set. We’ll provide you with a few so you’ll have them on hand!
By wearing your Invisalign retainers and taking good care of them, you’ll ensure that your Invisalign results last a lifetime.