Are clear aligners one of the options available to you for treating your orthodontic condition? In this blog, our Vancouver dentists share with you some of the things you can and can't do during your treatment with clear aligners.
What You Can Do With Clear Aligners
In lots of ways, clear aligners can be considered life-changing. However, there are many things in your everyday life that will stay the same during your treatment. Below is a list of things you can do during your clear aligners treatment:
DO: Eat all the foods you love
Because you are able to remove your clear aligners, you can continue eating all of your favourite foods. Wherewith braces, there are many foods you will have to avoid such as crunchy vegetables, popcorn, and pizza crusts. You won’t have any of these restrictions with clear aligners.
DO: Take your aligners out 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 don't have to deal with brackets or wires, you can easily brush and floss (and get all of the little food particles that could make bacteria get stuck between your teeth and aligners). You can (and should) also take your aligners out to eat or drink anything that is not water.
But, you must schedule your meals into the two hours of time that you can have your aligners out for every day. Because they have to be worn for 22 hours each day, you’ll soon be tracking your meal times, cutting back on snacking, and brushing like a pro.
DO: Drink water while you are 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 to your next set of aligners before bed
You might experience a bit of minor discomfort for the first couple of days when you switch to a new set of aligners, as your teeth shift positions.
While this is completely normal, it can still be irritating. One way you can address this is to change to your next set of clear aligners before going to bed for the night, so you’ll sleep away those first several hours.
What 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 your aligners
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 after every time you take them out to eat, drink, brush, floss, or do activities such as playing sports or practising a musical instrument.
DON'T: Clean your aligners with a toothbrush and toothpaste
Though you have to keep your aligners clean, don't use your regular toothbrush and toothpaste on them because they are too abrasive and can scratch the plastic. Instead, soak them in denture cleaner, a special solution that is designed for clear aligners, or rinse them with water.
DON'T: Forget to brush and floss your teeth before wearing your aligners
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 with your aligners on
Coloured drinks including pop, wine and fruit smoothies will stain the clear, transparent plastic of your aligners - gross.
If you want to drink any beverages that are not water, you’ll have to remove your aligners, drink up (remembering 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 dental appointments for tightening adjustments as you would for braces, you still need 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 it's course if needed.