Are you considering treatment with clear aligners? If so, you may wonder about what you can or can't do with them as part of your daily life during treatment. Here, our Summerside dentists share some advice to keep in mind.
What can I do with clear aligners?
In many ways, clear aligners treatments can be life-changing. However, there are also numerous ways in which your daily life won't change at all when undergoing treatment. Here are a few of the things you can expect to do with clear aligners in your mouth:
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
Being able to remove your aligners to brush, floss, drink and eat has its advantages as well as its challenges.
Since you won't have to deal with wires or brackets while undergoing clear aligners treatment, you will be able to carefully brush and floss as you normally do. This will help remove all of the food particles that may otherwise 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 while wearing your aligners
Although you shouldn't drink or eat any coloured food or beverages while wearing your clear aligners, you are able to drink water, which will keep you hydrated and won't run the risk of staining the clear plastic of your aligners. 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 completely normal, it can still be annoying. One way to address this is the switch to your next set of clear aligners before going to bed for the night so you can sleep through the first few hours of discomfort.
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 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 hesitate to put your aligners back in each time you take them out to eat, drink, floss, brush and do activities like playing sports or practicing musical instruments.
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
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 is why you will want to brush and floss your teeth before each wear and every time 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 would like to drink any beverages other that water, you'll need to remove your clear aligners, drink your drink (making sure you keep in mind your food and drink schedule for the day), and the brush and floss your teeth before putting your 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 course if needed.