If you're thinking about getting clear aligners, you might be curious about what you can and can't do with them during treatment. Today, our Ottawa dentists offer some helpful tips.
What can I do with clear aligners?
Clear aligner treatment can be life-changing in many ways. However, there are many aspects of your daily life that will not change during treatment. You can do the following with clear aligners:
DO: Eat anything you want
Because clear aligners are removable, you can continue to eat your favourite foods. Unlike braces, which require you to avoid a variety of foods ranging from crunchy vegetables to pizza crust, clear aligners do not impose such restrictions.
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 to deal with brackets or wires, brushing and flossing will be a breeze (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) remove your aligners when eating or drinking something other than water.
But, you must fit your meals into the two hours of time that you can have your aligners off each day. Because they need to be worn for 22 hours every day, you’ll soon be scheduling your meal times, cutting back on snacking, and brushing like a pro.
DO: Drink water while wearing your aligners
You should avoid eating or drinking coloured foods or beverages while wearing clear aligners, but you can drink water to stay hydrated. This is important for your health, as clear aligners can cause excessive salivation in some patients.
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.
Even though this is completely normal, it can be inconvenient. Switching to your next set of clear aligners before going to bed for the night can help you sleep through 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 commitment to the treatment and self-discipline will be critical to your success with clear aligners. For your treatment to work as intended and your orthodontic issue to be resolved, you must wear them for 22 hours each day.
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
Although your aligners must be kept clean, you should not use your regular toothbrush or toothpaste on them because they are too abrasive and may scratch the plastic. Instead, soak them in a clear aligner solution or denture cleaner, or simply rinse them with water.
DON'T: Forget to brush and floss your teeth before each wear
Good oral hygiene is even more important now that you're wearing clear aligners because any bacteria or food particles will be trapped between your teeth and aligners until you brush again.
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 - yuck.
If you want to drink anything other than water, you'll need to take out your clear aligners, drink up (keeping in mind your daily food and drink schedule), brush and floss your teeth, and then replace them.
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 allow you to ask any questions you may have, address any concerns you may have about your treatment, ensure that you are on track to complete your treatment successfully and on time, and, if necessary, adjust your treatment course.