- Invisalign aligners are generally safe to wear while showering. There is no need to remove them.
- However, it’s important to brush and floss before putting aligners back in after showering.
- Bacteria and food particles can get trapped between teeth and aligners if not cleaned properly.
- Storing aligners in a protective case and cool environment when not wearing them is recommended.
- Avoid extremely hot showers, and rinse aligners with cool water after showering.
- Take care not to drop aligners while showering, as they can be difficult to find.
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Invisalign has become an increasingly popular option for those seeking straighter teeth without the look of traditional metal braces. The clear plastic aligners are virtually invisible, removable, and comfortable. This allows patients to continue their normal routines, including showering and bathing, while undergoing Invisalign treatment. However, questions arise around proper aligner care and whether the aligners can or should be worn in the shower.
This article will comprehensively evaluate the considerations around wearing Invisalign aligners while showering. It will analyze the potential benefits and drawbacks, provide clear guidelines and recommendations, and answer key questions patients have. Specifically, the article will cover aligner safety in the shower, best oral hygiene practices, risks of misplacing aligners, and tips for keeping aligners protected. The depth and breadth of the information will help readers understand how to make the showering process simple and straightforward when using Invisalign.
Wearing Invisalign aligners in the shower can simplify oral care routines and prevent misplacing aligners during busy mornings. However, thought needs to be given to proper cleaning before and after showering. With some basic precautions, patients can confidently keep aligners in while bathing. This article will ensure readers have helpful facts and practical guidance related to this common aspect of Invisalign use.
Can You Wear Invisalign Aligners in the Shower?
Yes, Invisalign aligners are generally safe to wear while showering. The aligners are designed to be worn for most daily activities, including bathing and showering. There is no specific need to remove them before getting in the shower. The warm water will not damage the aligners. In fact, some orthodontists actually recommend keeping aligners in while showering to prevent accidentally misplacing them.
It is completely normal and acceptable to go about your regular shower or bath routine with the removable plastic aligners still in your mouth. However, proper oral hygiene before and after showering is important.
Should You Brush and Floss Before Putting Aligners Back In?
It is recommended to brush and floss your teeth before putting your aligners back in after showering. This helps prevent bacteria growth and keeps aligners fitting comfortably.
While the aligners are out during your shower, food particles, bacteria, and plaque can collect on and between your teeth. If you put the aligners immediately back into your mouth after showering without brushing and flossing first, these particles can get trapped between your teeth and the aligners.
One study from the University of Texas Dental Branch found that patients who did not brush before reinserting aligners after eating had a high level of bacterial colonization. This bacteria growth can lead to decalcification, tooth decay, gum irritation, and oral malodor.1
Therefore, proper oral hygiene is an important step after showering and before putting your aligners back in your mouth. Take a few minutes to brush thoroughly and floss between all teeth before reinserting clean aligners. This will maintain good oral health during your treatment.
What Risks Are There of Misplacing Aligners While Showering?
One concern with removing Invisalign aligners specifically for showering is the increased risk of misplacing them. Aligners that are taken out and set aside can be accidentally left behind, dropped, or difficult to find if you are moving between bathroom areas.
It is not uncommon for patients to report losing aligners after taking them out for any period of time, whether for eating, drinking, or showering. One survey showed that 6% of patients have reported misplacing their aligners, often occurring when changing in and out of them frequently throughout the day.2 Keeping aligners in your mouth while showering eliminates this risk.
If aligners do happen to fall out of your mouth while showering, they can be difficult to retrieve, especially in a steamy and wet environment. The small, clear plastic is easy to lose track of if it falls on a wet shower floor or sinks to the bottom of the tub. By keeping your aligners in place, you ensure this does not happen and prevent frustration from losing them.
How Hot Can the Water Be With Aligners In?
In general, warm or hot shower water will not damage Invisalign aligners. However, it is recommended to avoid extremely hot water, just as you would with your natural teeth.
Water that is uncomfortably hot on your hands could also be too hot for your aligners and mouth. Extreme heat can potentially warp or deform the plastic. Lukewarm or hot water that is still comfortable on your skin is ideal.
If showering in a very hot steam room or bath, consider removing aligners after a few minutes or decreasing the temperature. Listen to your body, and once the heat feels uncomfortable in your mouth, take aligners out to avoid potential warping until showering is complete.
Should You Rinse Aligners With Cool Water After Showering?
It is a good idea to rinse your aligners with cool water after showering or bathing. While still in your mouth, swish some cool clean water around to wash away any soap, shower products, or hot water.
Rinsing helps prevent residue buildup on aligners from soaps, shampoos, and conditioners. These products can leave an unclean feeling in your mouth and on the aligners. Swishing cool water for 15-30 seconds removes any product residue.
Cooler water is also soothing if you were showering with hotter water temperatures. Additionally, a quick rinse with cool water helps bring the aligners back down to regular temperature to prevent warping from residual heat.
Tips for Keeping Invisalign Aligners Protected in the Shower
While Invisalign is safe for showering, consider these tips for keeping aligners protected and clean in the warm, humid environment:
- Invest in an aligner case – Bring a protective aligner case into the bathroom and place aligners inside while brushing and flossing after the shower. This prevents aligners from getting lost on the sink or counter.
- Avoid direct heat – Position aligners away from direct shower spray to prevent extreme hot temperatures. Angle your face out of the hot stream.
- Clean aligners daily – Use an aligner-safe cleanser tablet each day to clean bacteria and residue. Soak aligners in the solution for 5-10 minutes.
- Watch your footing – Take care not to slip on wet shower surfaces while wearing aligners. Catching your fall with unprotected hands can damage aligners in your mouth.
- Check aligner fit – Gently remove and inspect aligners after showering to check for damage, warping, or poor fit. Report any issues to your orthodontist.
- Store out of the bathroom – Keep aligners in a cool, dry place like your bedroom when not wearing them. Bathroom humidity can warp aligners over time.
Maintaining Proper Hygiene with Invisalign Aligners
In addition to brushing and flossing before reinserting aligners after a shower, continue practicing thorough oral hygiene throughout treatment:
- Brush after meals – Carefully remove aligners and brush your teeth after eating anything. Food particles easily get trapped with aligners in.
- Clean tongue and cheeks – Use a tongue scraper and brush cheeks well while aligners are out. Bacteria accumulate in these areas.
- Floss daily – Floss at least once daily, especially important at night to remove plaque before long aligner wear.
- Rinse with mouthwash – Swish an antibacterial, non-alcohol mouthwash around your mouth and aligners.
- Avoid sugary drinks – Limit beverages like juice, soda, and coffee with aligners in place. The sugar feeds decay-causing bacteria.
- Visit your dentist – See your general dentist every 6 months for a thorough cleaning and checkup. Monitor tooth and gum health.
Proper oral hygiene is critical for successful Invisalign treatment and healthy teeth and gums. Showering with aligners is safe with some simple precautions.
Common Questions About Wearing Invisalign Aligners in the Shower
Can you wear Invisalign aligners in a steam shower or sauna?
It’s best to remove Invisalign aligners before spending time in a steam room or sauna. The extreme heat and steam can potentially warp or damage the plastic. Wait until after steam bathing to reinsert clean, dry aligners.
Do aligners need to be taken out before swimming?
Yes, it is generally recommended to remove Invisalign aligners before swimming in a pool, lake, or ocean. The aligners can be lost and are difficult to clean afterward due to harsh pool chemicals, bacteria, and debris.
Can you wear aligners while taking a bath?
Similar to showering, patients can keep Invisalign aligners in during a bath. However, be sure to rinse them with clean water after to prevent soap or bath product residue on them. Avoid extremely hot bath water.
Is Invisalign safe with emergency or survival showers at a job site?
For emergency eye-wash stations or chemical shower safety purposes, Invisalign aligners are safe to leave in place while flushing your eyes or rinsing chemicals off your body with these intense safety showers. Just be sure to rinse your mouth after as well.
How do you keep aligners clean long-term after repeated shower wear?
It’s a good idea to regularly soak Invisalign aligners in a dental aligner cleaning solution made specifically for Invisalign. This helps remove microscopic residue and bacteria that can build up over time with daily wear, including during showering.
Invisalign aligners can safely remain in place while showering, providing some basic precautions are followed. Be sure to thoroughly brush and floss teeth before reinserting aligners after a shower. Additionally, rinse aligners with cool clean water and store them properly when out of the mouth. Avoid extremely hot water, clean aligners daily, and take care not to drop them when showering. With proper aligner care and oral hygiene, patients can feel confident keeping Invisalign in for simplicity and convenience while bathing.