Invisalign clear aligners are a popular alternative to traditional metal braces for straightening teeth. The clear plastic trays are virtually invisible, removable, and more comfortable than braces. However, some Invisalign patients notice discoloration or yellowing of their trays over time.

What to Do If Your Invisalign Trays are Yellow

Can Discolored Aligners Be Cleaned?

There are a few methods patients can try to clean discolored Invisalign trays:

  • Soaking in denture cleaner: Special denture-cleansing tablets dissolve stains and brighten Invisalign trays soaked overnight. These help remove deeper set stains from the plastic.
  • Hydrogen peroxide: A diluted hydrogen peroxide solution brushed onto tray surfaces acts as a bleaching agent to lighten yellowed aligners. Rinse thoroughly before wearing again.
  • Baking soda and water paste: Make a paste of baking soda and water and gently scrub onto dull Invisalign aligner surfaces with a soft bristle toothbrush. Help break up tartar and surface stains.
  • Vinegar soak: A 50/50 mixture of white vinegar and warm water helps deodorize trays and dissolve stains when used as a 30-minute soak solution.

What Causes Invisalign Tray Discoloration?

There are a few common causes of Invisalign tray discoloration:

Food and Drink Stains

Food and beverages, especially dark-colored items like coffee, tea, wine, berries, tomato sauce, and curry, can stain the plastic aligners. The trays tightly fit over the teeth and trap pigments from food residue. This leads to gradual staining over time.


Chemicals from tobacco smoke also lead to the yellowing of the Invisalign plastic. The trays absorb and retain nicotine residue.

Poor Oral Hygiene

Bacteria, plaque buildup, and tartar on the teeth can transfer to the Invisalign surface while wearing them. This causes dingy spots and yellow discoloration. Failing to properly brush and floss allows oral bacteria to thrive.

Natural Wear and Tear

Finally, the cumulative effects of regular wear, tear, and aging of the plastic trays lead to a gradual yellowish discoloration. This may happen even with good oral care habits.

Causes of Invisalign Tray DiscolorationPreventive Measures
Food and drink stainsClean aligners promptly after eating and drinking
SmokingConsider quitting smoking while wearing Invisalign
Poor oral hygieneBrush and floss meticulously
Wear and tearRotate aligner trays per the schedule

Is Some Discoloration Unavoidable?

Mild discoloration of Invisalign trays over their typical 12-18 month treatment time is common and generally harmless. Keeping aligners meticulously clean, avoiding staining foods/drinks, and maintaining excellent oral hygiene help minimize staining. But some gradual, slight yellowing is often inevitable even with diligent care.

For stubborn discoloration that resists home cleaning remedies, Lansdowne Family Dental offers professional Invisalign tray cleaning and polishing services in-office to restore their clear appearance.

When to Replace Discolored Aligners

While home cleaning helps, badly damaged, warped, or excessively yellowed Invisalign aligners should be replaced. The plastic teeth molds lose their precision fit. This negatively impacts the teeth straightening progress.

Lansdowne Family Dental supplies each Invisalign patient with a series of trays on schedule – about 12-48 sets per full treatment plan. Replacing overly discolored aligners ensures proper results. Contact our Invisalign-certified dentists for aligner replacements as soon as excessive yellowing is noticed. Keep your smile on track!

Maintain Oral Health with Invisalign

Alongside aligner cleaning and replacement, excellent oral hygiene minimizes discoloration ensuring teeth straightening success. Follow these best practices:

  • Brush and floss after each meal before reinserting Invisalign trays
  • Use non-alcohol mouthwash 2x daily
  • Clean aligners daily with soap and cool water before soaking
  • Visit Lansdowne Family Dental every 6 weeks for teeth cleaning/checkup
  • Replace worn toothbrush every 3 months
  • Ask us about home whitening to brighten stained teeth

Proper care protects your Invisalign investment for an optimally straight, healthy smile. We provide supporting hygiene services for Invisalign patients.

Let Lansdowne Family Dental Answer Your Questions

Discoloration of Invisalign aligners is common but manageable. Mild yellowing generally does not impede teeth straightening progress if promptly addressed with cleaning and replacement when excessive. For personal answers about aligner staining or other Invisalign concerns, contact our dental office or request an appointment online to maintain your oral health during Invisalign treatment.

Learn about invisible braces options or teeth whitening to brighten staining. Smile confidently under our caring guidance.