Invisalign has quickly become a popular alternative to traditional braces because the clear aligner trays are a much more discreet option than bulky metal brackets. There’s no need to feel self-conscious or embarrassed about your dental gear when you can barely see it! That said, some patients have run into challenges with their aligner trays becoming somewhat tinted, which defeats the purpose of “invisible” orthodontics. If you’ve noticed your Invisalign is turning yellow, read on to learn 2 reasons this happens and what you can do to prevent it.
Reason #1: Consuming Foods that Stain
If you’re not removing your Invisalign for meals, then you could be contributing to its drab appearance. The same foods that stain your teeth can have a similar impact on your Invisalign. Common culprits include:
- Coffee and tea
- Red wine
- Dark sodas
- Colored mouthwash
Reason #2: Buildup
It’s unfortunate, but bacteria love to thrive in the spaces between your aligners and your teeth. With the trays pressed over your teeth and gums 22 hours a day, they have plenty of time to gather and grow. They produce acids as they consume starchy or sugary food particles that form a layer of plaque on your teeth as well as your aligner trays. This can harden into tartar on the plastic surface which causes both some yellowing as well as an unpleasant odor.
How Can I Keep My Invisalign Clear?
No one wants to have ‘invisible’ aligner trays if they’re cloudy, faded, and smelly! Not only that, but the blemishes are often irreversible. That means you’ll want to do everything you can to prevent them from discoloration in the first place. You can keep your aligners clear by:
- Removing them for meals. Taking your Invisalign out while you eat or drink ensures that you’re not exposing them to foods that stain. Be careful not to set them in a napkin that you might end up throwing away!
- Cleaning them thoroughly. Twice every day you should remove your aligners to brush them gently with a soft-bristled toothbrush and toothpaste. You can also soak them in a solution of water and Invisalign Cleaning Crystals for 15 minutes once or twice per day.
- Drinking plenty of water. This is much safer for your dental gear and won’t stick to your teeth or the aligner trays like sugary beverages do. It has the added benefits of ridding your mouth of unwanted food particles and keeping you hydrated.
Thankfully, your orthodontist will provide you with new aligner trays after a week or two as your treatment progresses. If your current set is less-than-sparkling, you won’t have to live with them for long. Then when you get your new set, you can start fresh now that you know better how to keep them fresh!
About the Author
Dr. Alex J. Johnson has more than 30 years of experience providing orthodontic treatments to patients of all ages. He pursued his dental doctorate as well as his master’s and Orthodontic Certificate at Washington University. Since then, he has completed additional training hours with the prestigious Pankey Institute including several courses in Airway Orthodontics. If you’re just learning to love your smile and would like to schedule an appointment, you’re welcome to request one on the website or by calling (727) 786-7550.