In an incredibly short span of time, the coronavirus pandemic has impacted almost every facet of most people’s lives, and the lingering uncertainty about the course of the virus means that continued vigilance about its spread is key.
One of the major takeaways from our experience thus far is that there is no substitute for comprehensive hygiene practices as a way to mitigate transmission of COVID-19. To that end, there is no room to skimp when it comes to observing proper protocols when handling and caring for removable dental and orthodontic appliances. Because Invisalign aligners are among the most frequently used removable appliances, it is important for those who wear them to be aware of best practices for their maintenance. The team at Texas Orthodontic Specialists wants to provide some useful guidance for ensuring that aligners of this sort remain their safest during this unprecedented time.
Keeping Hands Washed
Regular, diligent handwashing is known to be one of the best ways to reduce viral spread, and this is an especially important practice to follow whenever Invisalign aligners are either inserted or removed. Recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate that the hands should be washed for no less than 20 seconds and that soap and water should be used. This is a habit that should be kept following any visit to a public place or after anything has been touched that carries a risk of COVID-19 contamination. Should soap and water be unavailable at a given time, it is best to make liberal use of a hand sanitizing product containing 60% or greater alcohol concentration.
Aligner Cleaning Protocols
Cleaning Invisalign aligners is always an important priority, but the task has taken on new importance in the age of COVID-19. Make sure aligners are brushed each morning as well as every night prior to bedtime. Having the ability to also brush them after eating lunch can also make a big difference. Giving the aligners a good rinse whenever they are taken out of the mouth is another great way to minimize buildup of contaminants.
Aligner Soaking Suggestions
Wearers of Invisalign aligners will also want to consider soaking the appliances in denture cleaning solution or by using Invisalign cleaning crystals. This works to eradicate bacteria and other types of buildup. Should either of these products be inaccessible, a blend of half lukewarm water and half distilled vinegar can work just as well. A solution made of anywhere between 0.5 and 3% hydrogen peroxide is yet another alternative. Using Listerine or other tinted mouthwash products to soak aligners is not recommended, as stubborn staining can result.
Cleaning the Aligner Case
Not everyone realizes the importance of keeping aligner cases clean, but the fact is that they can otherwise become havens for odor-causing bacteria and other contaminants. It is best to wash aligner cases every couple of days with soap and warm water as a means to limit the accumulation of daily grime.
A sense of anxiety or unease is perfectly understandable during this ongoing public health crisis, but the key is to remember that by heeding the advice from the CDC and other experts, keeping hands washed, wearing masks, and social distancing, it really is possible to minimize the risk of contracting COVID-19.
If you have additional questions or concerns about keeping your Invisalign aligners in safe condition during the pandemic, are interested in exploring treatment options, or wish to schedule an initial consultation with our team, contact the professionals at Texas Orthodontic Specialists today.