Are you thinking of treating your orthodontic condition with clear aligners? Here, our Orleans dentists share some things you can and can't do with clear aligners to help you determine if they are a good fit for you.
What You Are Able To Do With Clear Aligners
In lots of ways, clear aligner treatment could change your life. But there are many ways in which your daily life will remain unchanged during treatment. These are some of the things you are able to do with clear aligners:
DO: Eat all of the foods you love
Since 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 your aligners out to drink, eat, floss, and brush
Being able to remove your aligners to brush, floss, drink, and eat has its advantages as well as its struggles.
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 champ.
DO: Drink water with your aligners on
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 aligner sets at night
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 You Can't Do With Aligners
There are several changes and adjustments you'll need 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 every day
Your self-discipline and commitment to your treatment are key to the outcomes you have 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: 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 floss and brush your teeth before putting your aligners on
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 beverages with your aligners
Coloured drinks like fruit smoothies, wine, and pop will stain the clear, transparent plastic of your aligners - gross.
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-in appointments with your dentist
While you don't need to attend appointments to have tightening adjustments done as you would for braces, it’s still important to check in on your progress with your dentist.
These visits give you the chance 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 if needed.