Invisalign is an amazing system for achieving straight teeth more quickly, more comfortably, and much more discreetly than wearing braces. Invisalign treatment is one of our most popular services here at Bunker Hill Dentistry. Following these guidelines throughout the treatment process and beyond will ensure that this amazing process produces equally amazing results.


Key Takeaway: With Great Teeth Comes Great Responsibility

The flexibility and convenience Invisalign gives you is a double-edged sword; having the aligners is like having another set of teeth to take care of. Not only must you maintain good dental health practices, you’ll have fairly delicate medical devices to clean and maintain, as well. 


Caring for Aligners

One of the greatest benefits of Invisalign is the fact that they’re clear, so no one should be able to tell you’re wearing them. Neglect to care for your aligners, however, and this will quickly not be the case. They can become discolored and covered with bacteria that can result in bad odors, poor health for your teeth, and an all-around bad experience.



Every morning when you rise–and really every evening before bed–you should clean the trays with a soft toothbrush (that’s separate from your normal toothbrush) that won’t scratch them. You may use a small dab of clear antibacterial soap with it, and finish by rinsing them thoroughly with warm water. Do not use toothpaste, as it’s too abrasive to be used on the trays. 

Of course, at these times you should also be brushing and flossing your teeth, as well. Putting the aligners back in on top of food particles can lead to cavities or other problems. Regular brushing is especially important with Invisalign because the trays prevent saliva, which helps protect against cavities, from contacting the teeth.



Rinse the trays under warm water each time you take them out. Whenever you’re taking them out, if you’re not going to be soaking them, they need to be in a case. Leaving them in the open air exposes them to bacterial growth. 



Once a day, while you have the trays out anyway, let them soak in a cleaning solution to keep them in optimal shape. Invisalign offers its own cleaning system, in which you agitate special dissolvable cleaning crystals to clean the trays. But because the system and crystal replacements are somewhat expensive, you may opt to use a denture cleaner such as Polident instead. 

Either way, after soaking, brush the trays with your soft toothbrush and rinse them before putting them back in. 


Eating & Drinking

There’s only one allowable thing to consume while wearing Invisalign trays, and that’s water. For anything else, you’ll need to remove the aligners. And before you put them back in, you should brush your teeth.

As you can imagine, this means you’ll be brushing your teeth in a lot of different places: work, restaurants, friend’s homes, etc. You’ll want to have an extra toothbrush, toothpaste, and carrying case for travel so you aren’t carrying around the equipment you use at home all the time. 

Click here to learn more about eating and drinking with Invisalign.


Combining Invisalign with Other Treatments

Here is how a few common dental treatments interact with the Invisalign process:

  • Crowns: If you already have crowns when you begin Invisalign, they should not present any difficulty in your treatment, although the dentist may suggest a clear attachment to protect the crowned tooth, or plan to manipulate it more slowly than the other teeth. If you need a crown during Invisalign treatment, it may need to be a temporary crown that will be replaced when Invisalign treatment has concluded.

Learn more about using Invisalign with crowns.

  • Teeth whitening: It’s best to wait to whiten your teeth until finishing Invisalign treatment. Part of the reason for this is new, discolored sides of your teeth may be visible once they’ve been straightened, potentially facilitating the need for you to whiten again to address them. Whitening also tends to make teeth sensitive, and the added pressure of moving them with aligners is sure to cause discomfort. Learn more about whitening teeth with Invisalign.
  • Implants: As with teeth whitening, it’s recommended to wait on a permanent implant until Invisalign treatment is finished. However, this can vary by patient and the dentist can guide you after examining your situation. 
  • Propel: Propel is a procedure that has been shown to significantly reduce the amount of time it takes for Invisalign aligners to move teeth. Treatments are performed in office visits in which the dentist uses the Propel device to create tiny holes through your gums into the bone called micro-osteoperforations that spur the body to remodel the bone via your body’s inflammatory response. The area is numbed first so there is no pain during the treatment. 


Invisalign and Headaches

In some cases, patients find that the tension caused by teeth moving cause headaches or muscle pain in the face or neck. This is perfectly normal and should subside in a few days after starting to wear a new aligner. You can treat these aches with over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen. However, if your pain doesn’t go away, you should schedule an appointment with your dentist.     


How Long Does Invisalign Treatment Last?

On average, Invisalign treatment lasts 12 to 18 months. 

Every patient is different, but an average schedule for aligners calls for virtual round-the-clock wear for the first several months. 

When Invisalign treatment is complete, patients typically transition to retainers for a period of time to prevent teeth shifting back to their original positions. Retainer usage varies significantly by patient – it may require the same sort of full-time commitment as Invisalign aligners initially – and a rule of thumb is that a retainer should be worn at least as long as Invisalign treatment lasts. 

Eventually, patients will usually need to wear a retainer only at nighttime, and then 3-5 nights a week indefinitely. This may seem drastic at first, but it is for a very good reason – retainers prevent teeth from naturally shifting inwards and forwards as we age.

The benefits of wearing Invisalign should last the rest of your life, but there’s a catch.

It’s up to you to maintain good aligner and oral hygiene as your teeth will not remain in their new, straight position unless you wear your retainer as prescribed by the doctor. After as little as a few days without wearing it, the aligner will begin to feel tight in your mouth when you put it in as those teeth begin shifting back. 

Without total commitment, the whole process resets and treatment time increases.


Learn About Invisalign Treatment at Bunker Hill Dentistry