Unless you are planning to keep your Invisalign trays as a souvenir for your journey to a straighter, more beautiful smile, you don’t need to keep them. Aside from your current tray (obviously) and the tray you had used before, you can throw away all the others.
For many, tossing out old used trays can actually be helpful to avoid confusion. Because Invisalign is designed to gently guide your teeth into their new position, the differences from tray to tray may seem minute, making it relatively easy to mix up the aligners and jeopardize your treatment plan.
One exception to the rule (sometimes) is if you lose your current tray. Face it—Invisalign trays get lost, broken, chewed up by Rover, and more. When this happens, your dentist may suggest that you either move on to the next aligner early or regress to the previous tray until your current one can be replaced. So, it is good to keep a back-up and check with your dentist before moving to an old or new aligner. Any trays older than your previous one though won’t fit and could actually do more harm than good—so toss it!
The most common way of disposing Invisalign trays is in the trash bin. Since they aren’t recyclable (more on that below) and can’t precisely be reused, there aren’t many other places for them besides the trash bin.
Of course, you can always keep them all shoved in a shoebox under your bed, but it won’t be doing much good there either. Some patients do, however, like to hold onto a few of them to document their journey. Many people keep the first one to compare how far they’ve come, and if you have a particularly dramatic journey, you may want to save a few “milestone” trays as well.
Unfortunately, no. We know that it can feel frustrating tossing your plastic trays in the landfill, but there are a few things that prevent your aligners from classifying as recyclable. First, they are considered medical waste. Like any other plastic used for medical purposes, trays that have spent the last week sitting in your mouth are not technically allowed in the green bin.
Second, Invisalign is a multi-layer polymer, which means it uses a mixture of different plastics to create the exact balance of elasticity and rigidity to nudge your teeth where they need to go. It also means that it complicates the recycling process. There are roughly seven grades of plastic, each of which requires a different method for recycling. Because Invisalign fuses several different types of plastics, they can’t be sorted into one of the recycling methods. So, even if you have a few unused pairs, they may need to join the others in the trash bin. At least for now.
At Long Island Cosmetic & Implant Dentistry, we are excited to welcome new and existing customers back into our offices to help them achieve the smile they’ve always dreamed of. Because we take your health seriously, we have put rules and protocols in place to ensure a safe and sanitized environment to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Schedule an appointment today.
Contact our South Huntington Office (631.423.6563) today.
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