If you are thinking about using clear aligners for your orthodontic treatment, you might be curious about the things you can and can't do with them. In this blog, our dentists in Edmonton share the do's and don'ts of clear aligners treatment.
What can I do with clear aligners?
Some people may consider their treatment with clear aligners life-changing. But, there are many aspects of your daily life that can stay the same when you are having this kind of orthodontic treatment done. Here are the things you can do with clear aligners:
DO: Eat everything you love
Because you can take your aligners out, you are able to continue eating all foods you enjoy. Wherewith braces, there will be a handful of foods you have to avoid, from pizza crust and popcorn to your favourite crunchy vegetables, you can eat them all with clear aligners.
DO: Remove them to brush, floss, drink, and eat
Being able to take your aligners out to eat, drink, brush, and floss has its advantages and challenges.
Because you won’t have brackets or wires to contend with, you’ll be able to easily brush and floss (and get rid of all those little food particles that could cause bacteria). You can (and should) also take your aligners out to eat or drink anything that's not water.
But, you need to organize your meals to be within a two-hour time period because they have to be worn for 22 hours a day. After a bit of time, you will be scheduling your meal times, cutting back on snacking, and brushing like a pro.
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: Switch to your next set of aligners before bed
You might experience a bit of minor discomfort the first couple of days after you switch to a new set of aligners, as your teeth start shifting positions.
While this is completely normal, it could still be annoying. One way to help this problem is to change to your next set of clear aligners before going to bed at night, so you’ll be asleep for 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 commitment to your treatment will be essential in the success of clear aligners. You will have to wear them for 22 hours a day every day for your treatment to work as it's supposed to and be successful.
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 need to keep your aligners clean, don't use your normal toothbrush and toothpaste to clean them because they are too abrasive and may scratch the plastic. Instead, you should soak them in a special solution that's designed for cleaning clear aligners, denture cleaner, or rinse them with water.
DON'T: Forget to brush and floss your teeth before every 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 with your aligners on
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
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 needed.