Invisalign – Frequently Asked Questions & Answers

by Dr Luke Cronin & the Quality Dental Team

Q: My aligners are starting to smell after the first week of wear. How can I stop this?

A: Aligners start to smell when there is a build-up of oral bacteria on the surface of them. You can reduce the build-up of bacteria with a few tricks:

  • Rinse your aligners under cool water when you remove them;
  • Clean your teeth after every meal before you put your aligners back in;
  • Brush them with a soft toothbrush & toothpaste, using cool water, every morning & night; and
  • If you choose, you can soak them in any generic denture cleaner as often as you like.


Q: Do I really need to clean my teeth after every meal?

A: Cleaning your teeth after every meal will keep your aligners smelling fresher and reduce the opportunity for tooth decay and gum disease.

Your aligners are encasing your teeth for a minimum of 22 hours every day. If you don’t brush your teeth after eating, food and drink residue will be trapped on the surface of your teeth inside your aligners. Having the residue trapped inside your aligners feeds the bacteria that (normally) lives in your mouth. This gives the bacteria an opportunity to multiply and damage your teeth and gums. Cleaning your teeth after every meal is the most effective way to maintain great oral health during your Invisalign treatment.

Eat, Clean, Floss, Repeat.


Q: What if I can’t brush my teeth straight after I eat?

A: If you can’t clean your teeth immediately after each meal, swish water around in your mouth to flush out any food and beverage residue before replacing your aligners. Do your best to clean your teeth as soon as you can.


Q: There is a lot of different advice about the best way to clean aligners. What do you recommend?

A: The aligners are best cleaned with a dab of regular toothpaste and a soft toothbrush. Gently brush the inside surfaces of the aligners to remove any build up of plaque and rinse using cold water, hot water will distort the shape of the aligners.

If you are still worried about plaque build-up on your aligners, you can soak them in a denture cleaning solution. Make sure that you use white denture tablets as the coloured ones may transfer colour on to the aligners.


Q: My new aligners are really hard to take out. What can I do?

A: Taking out your new aligners may seem difficult at first, but don’t panic, you will adjust to the task quickly. If you are having trouble removing them, QD stocks a nifty little tool called ‘The Outie Tool’. The tool is designed with a hook to pull your upper aligner down, and a lever to push your lower aligner up. Ask the QD staff about The Outie Tool next time you come in.


Q: What should I do if I lose my aligners?

A: Call the QD team as soon as possible to determine the best course of action.

Tip: Always keep your previous set of aligners in case you lose your current set.


Q: I’ve forgotten which set of aligners I am meant to wear next?

A: Each aligner has a unique code and number printed on the aligner. The aligners are sequentially numbered (1,2,3) so you will always know which aligners you need to wear next.


Q: I keep forgetting to change my aligners. Any advice?

A: A great way to remember the day you need to change out your current aligners for your next set is to set a reminder on your phone or mark it on a calendar. It can also be quite helpful to write the date to change on each aligner pack to help you remember.


Q: Should I expect to kiss goodbye to romance while wearing Invisalign?

A: There should be no interruption to your romantic life because of Invisalign. We’ve never had a patient complain about kissing while wearing Invisalign. The key to keeping bad breath away is regular brushing and daily cleaning of your aligners. Also, one of the best features of Invisalign is that they are removable. You can always take them out when you need to.


Q: Can I smoke while wearing my aligners?

A: Smoking and Invisalign do not go well together. In the same way smoking stains your teeth, smoking can also stain or discolour your aligners. The discolouration of the aligners can occur at a faster rate due to the thermoplastic material they are made of. Take home message – it’s time to give up smoking.


If you have an urgent question about your Invisalign treatment contact us on +61 (02) 9922 1159. If you have a non-urgent Invisalign question for Dr Cronin please email info@qualitydental and Luke will get back to you with an answer.