Wearing aligners all day and night leads to a big problem- hygiene. Plaque deposits can be seen on the inside of the aligner. There can also be food deposits where cleaning of my teeth prior to refitting the aligners hasn’t been possible. This can lead to:

  • More bacteria
  • Increased chance of decay
  • Increased chance of gum problems
  • Halitosis (bad breath)
  • Unsightly appearance

None of this is desirable. Cleaning methods of the aligners are given to you when you embark on the treatment and include the use of a toothbrush to remove deposits and the regular use of effervescent cleaning tablets to disinfect and clean them (Specialist retainer cleaners can be bought but denture cleaning tablets can be used also)

Whilst I was following the instructions I have to admit that I was never totally happy with the level of cleanliness of my aligners. I used a sonic toothbrush on the inside of the aligners which did the best job out of all the toothbrushes I tried, and the sterilisation tablets made the aligners ‘taste’ cleaner, but there were many occasions that I had to clean the aligners and then use the tablets afterwards to approach a satisfactory level of cleanliness.

So I looked for how this could be improved and combined some of the cleaning techniques we use in a dental practice and advised methods. With this in mind I purchased an ultrasonic cleaner off a well know online retailer (who’s name is maybe realated to a large river in South America) which was reletively inexpensive. Ultrasonic cleaners are used in dental practice to ‘shake’ unattached debris and material off our instruments before they are cleaned manually and then sterilised with heat/steam/pressure. They are also sold for domestic use to clean jewelry and watches among other things

When it was delivered I ripped open the box, plugged in the cleaners with huge excitement, then filled the bath with warm water, placed my aligners and a sterilisation tablet in the water together and then turned the cleaner on. 5 minutes later my aligners emerged pristine and in a state they hadn’t been in since I first had the aligners delivered.

I then continued to use this cleaning technique every 2 or 3 days depending on the build up in order to maintain my aligners in tip top cleanliness and was highly recommended.

This technique is also useful for retainers which are going to be worn at the end of treatment to prevent the teeth ‘drifting’ back toward their original positions. It would be also be great for cleaning dentures, if you have them, to prevent plaque and food build up on them and help improve the health and cleanliness of your mouth generally.

Edit: While the ultrasonic cleaner worked brilliantly to clean my aligners on an almost daily basis, It did break shortly after my treatment completed. Because the unit was only about 6 months old, Amazon were great at refunding the money very quickly (as they often are) , but the long term use of an ultrasonic cleaner may need something more substantial, or it my be ok if the unit was only used once a week/fortnight- this would need further investigation.

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