If you’re thinking about treatment with clear aligners, you might be curious about what you can and can’t do with them in your daily life. Today, our Riverdale Toronto dentists share some advice to keep in mind.
What can I do with clear aligners?
In a lot of ways, clear aligner treatment can be a life-changer but there are many ways in which your day-to-day life will remain relatively unchanged during the course of your treatment. Here are some things you can do during treatment with clear aligners:
DO: Eat whatever you want
Since you can remove your clear aligners, you can keep eating the foods you love. Unlike with traditional metal braces, where you have to avoid many foods, you won't have to avoid your favourite crunchy vegetables... or that irresistible pizza crust.
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 worry about, you can easily brush and floss properly to get all the little food particles that can easily lead to bacteria getting stuck between your teeth and clear aligners. You can (and ought to) also remove your aligners out to drink anything that is not water.
One potential challenge could be fitting your meals into the two daily hours that you can have your clear aligners off. Since they must be worn 22 hours a day, you'll benefit greatly from scheduling your meal times, cutting back on snacking, and brushing like a pro.
DO: Drink water while wearing your aligners
Although we don't recommend eating or drinking foods with potential staining properties while wearing your clear aligners, we do recommend drinking water. Keeping hydrated is very important to maintaining your health -- and for some patients, wearing clear aligners can cause an increase in salivation.
DO: Change to your next set of aligners before bed
It's normal to experience minor discomfort for the first couple of days after switching to a new set of aligners as your teeth shift positions.
While a minor inconvenience for most patients, it can still be a source of annoyance. 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
A huge part of the success of your treatment with clear aligners will depend on your self--discipline and commitment. 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.
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
Although you absolutely should 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 or denture cleaner, or rinse them well with water.
DON'T: Forget to brush and floss your teeth before each wear
Excellent oral hygiene is even more critical to your routine now 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.
That’s why you’ll want to brush and floss your teeth before each wear, and every time after you eat or drink anything other than 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, potentially creating an unpleasant colour on top of your smile.
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.