If you're thinking about getting clear aligners, you might be wondering what you can and can't do with them during treatment. Today, our Toronto dentists offer some words of wisdom.
What can I do with clear aligners?
Clear aligner treatment has the potential to change people's lives in a variety of ways. However, many aspects of your daily life will not change while you are undergoing treatment. You can use clear aligners to do the following:
DO: Eat anything you want
Because clear aligners are removable, you can continue to eat the foods you enjoy. Unlike braces, which require you to avoid a variety of foods, including your favourite crunchy vegetables and pizza crust, clear aligners do not impose these 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 there will be no brackets or wires to contend with, you should be able to brush and floss your teeth with ease (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 anything other than water.
However, you must schedule your meals around the two hours that you can remove your aligners each day. Because they must be worn for 22 hours per day, you'll soon be scheduling meals, limiting snacks, and brushing like a pro.
DO: Drink water while wearing your aligners
Though you should avoid eating or drinking coloured foods or beverages while wearing your clear aligners, 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.
While this is completely normal, it can be inconvenient. One solution is to switch to your next set of clear aligners before going to bed for the night, allowing you to sleep through the 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 dedication to the treatment will play a significant role in your success with clear aligners. You must wear them for 22 hours per day for your treatment to be effective and your orthodontic problem to be 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
While it is important to keep your aligners clean, you should not use your regular toothbrush and toothpaste on them because they are too abrasive and may scratch the plastic. Instead, soak them in a clear aligner solution, 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, and even more so if you're wearing clear aligners because any bacteria or food particles will be trapped between your teeth and your 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 can stain the clear, transparent plastic of your aligners - yuck.
If you want to drink anything other than water, you'll need to remove your aligners, drink up (while keeping your food and drink schedule for the day in mind), and brush and floss your teeth before re-applying your clear aligners.
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, and ensure you are on track to complete your treatment successfully and on time, or to adjust the course if necessary.