If you are contemplating using clear aligners for your orthodontic treatment you are probably wondering what you can and can not do with clear aligners. Here, our dentists in Parksville share with you a few tips as well as some of the things you will and won't be able to do during your treatment.
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 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: Remove your aligners to brush, floss, drink and eat
There are both advantages and challenges when it comes to being able to remove your aligners to brush, floss, eat and drink.
Since you won’t have to deal with wires or brackets you will be able to easily and carefully brush and floss (and get all of the little food particles that could easily lead to bacteria getting stuck between your aligners and teeth). You can (and must) remove your aligners to eat or drink anything that is not water.
But, you have to schedule your meals into a two hour time frame, where you are allowed to have your aligners out for every day. Because the aligners have to be worn for 22 hours each day.
DO: Drink water while 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: 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
The success of your clear aligners treatment will rest largely on your self-discipline and commitment to your treatment. You will have to wear your aligners for 22 hours a day for your treatment to work as it's supposed to and for your orthodontic issue to be treated successfully.
So, it's critical that you put your aligners back in your mouth after every time you take them out to eat, drink, brush, floss, or participate in activities like sports or playing a musical instrument.
DON'T: Clean your aligners with a toothbrush and toothpaste
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 each wear
It is always essential to have an excellent oral hygiene routine, especially if you wear clear aligners. If you don't brush and floss your teeth well before putting your aligners back in your mouth, after eating or drinking anything that isn't water, food particles and bacteria can get stuck between your teeth and aligners.
This makes it very important to brush and floss your teeth every time you go to put your aligners back in your mouth.
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 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
Even though you won’t have any tightening or adjustment appointments as you would need to with braces, you still have to attend regular appointments with your dentist so they can check in on your progress.
These appointments provide you with the opportunity to ask any questions that you might have, address any concerns about your treatment, and make sure you are on schedule to finish your treatment successfully, on time, or make any changes if needed.