If you're considering clear aligners treatment, you may be wondering what you can or can't do with them in your day-to-day life during your treatment. Here, our Burnaby dental team shares some advice to keep in mind.
What can I do with clear aligners?
In many different ways, clear aligner treatment can change your life. However, there are many ways in which your daily life will also remain unchanged throughout your clear aligners treatment. Here are some of the things you can do with clear aligners:
DO: Eat anything you want
Because clear aligners are removable, you can keep eating the foods you love. Unlike with braces, where you have to avoid many foods, from your favourite crunchy vegetables to pizza crust, you won’t have these restrictions with clear aligners.
DO: Remove your aligners to brush, floss, drink and eat
Being able to remove your aligners to brush, floss, drink and eat has its advantages as well as its challenges.
Because you won’t have brackets or wires to contend with, you’ll easily be able to carefully brush and floss (and get all those little food particles that can easily lead to bacteria that get stuck between your teeth and your aligners). You can (and should) also take your aligners out to eat or drink anything other than water.
You do need to make sure that you fit your meals into the allotted two hours of time that you can have your aligners out of your mouth each day. Since you need to wear your clear aligners for 22 hours every day, you will soon be scheduling your meal times and brushing or cutting back on snacking like a pro.
DO: Drink water while wearing your aligners
Although you shouldn't drink or eat food or beverages with dark colours while eating your clear aligners, you can drink water and stay hydrated in that way. This is helpful for maintaining your health and also because clear aligners make some patients salivate excessively.
DO: Change to your next set of aligners before bed
You may feel some minor discomfort for the first day or two when you switch to a new set of aligners, as your teeth shift positions.
While this is totally normal, it can still be annoying. One way to address this is to switch to your next set of clear aligners before going to bed for the night, so you’ll sleep away those first few hours.
What can't I do with clear aligners?
There are a few changes and adjustments you'll have to make to your daily life during your clear aligner treatment. Here are a few little things you can't do with clear aligners:
DON'T: Forget to wear your aligners
Your self-discipline and commitment to the treatment will be a huge part of your success with clear aligners. You’ll need to wear them for 22 hours each day for your treatment to work as prescribed and your orthodontic issue to be successfully resolved.
So, don’t forget to put your aligners back in each time you take them out to eat, drink, brush, floss or do activities such as playing sports or practicing a musical instrument.
DON'T: Clean your aligners with a toothbrush and toothpaste
Though you need to keep your aligners clean, you shouldn’t use your regular toothbrush and toothpaste on them as they are too abrasive and could scratch the plastic. Instead, soak them in a special solution meant for clear aligners, denture cleaner or rinse them with water.
DON'T: Forget to brush and floss your teeth before each wear
Excellent oral hygiene is critical to your routine now - even more so that you’re wearing clear aligners, as any bacteria or food particles will be caught between your teeth and your aligners until the next time you brush.
Because of this, you will want to floss and brush your teeth before each wear of your clear aligners as well as each time after you drink or eat anything besides water.
DON'T: Drink coloured drinks while wearing your aligners
Coloured drinks such as pop, wine and fruit smoothies will stain the clear, transparent plastic of your aligners - yuck.
If you want to drink any beverages other than water, you’ll need to remove your aligners, drink up (keeping in mind your food and drink schedule for the day) and brush and floss your teeth before putting your clear aligners back in.
DON'T: Skip check-ins with your dentist
Though you won’t have to attend appointments to have tightening adjustments as you would for braces, it’s still important to check in on your progress with your dentist.
These appointments will give you an opportunity to ask any questions you may have, address concerns about your treatment, and make sure you are on track to complete your treatment successfully and on time, or adjust course if needed.