If you are considering straightening your teeth with clear aligners, odds are you want to know what you can and can't do with them. Here, our Burlington dentists answer this question.
Things You Can Do With Clear Aligners
Clear aligner treatment can be a life-changer, but many aspects of your daily life will remain unchanged during treatment. These are things you can do with clear aligners:
DO: Eat your favorite foods
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: Take out 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.
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 when wearing your aligners
Though you shouldn’t eat or drink coloured food or beverages while wearing your clear aligners, you can drink water, which will keep you hydrated. This is important for your health, and also because clear aligners can make some patients salivate excessively.
DO: Switch your 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.
Things You Can't 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 them
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 use a toothbrush and toothpaste to clean your aligners
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 putting them on
Excellent oral hygiene is now an essential part of your routine - 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 consume coloured beverages with your aligners on
Coloured drinks like 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 the course as required.