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 Kelowna dentists offer some sound advice.
What can I do with clear aligners?
In many ways, clear aligner treatment can be a life changer. But there are many ways in which your daily life will remain unchanged during treatment. These are things you can do with clear aligners:
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 many 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 will 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.
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
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 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-control and dedication to the treatment will be critical to 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
Though you should keep your aligners clean, you should avoid using 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 or 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.
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, remove your aligners, drink up (keeping in mind your food and drink schedule for the day), 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, ensure you are on track to complete your treatment successfully and on time and adjust the course if necessary.