If you're thinking about using clear aligners for your treatment, you may be curious about what you can and cannot do while wearing them. Our Lethbridge dentists offer some tips to remember today.
What can I do with clear aligners?
The use of clear aligners can significantly alter one's life in many ways. However, there are many aspects of your daily life that won't change while you're receiving treatment. With clear aligners, you can do the following things:
DO: Eat anything you want
You are able to continue eating the foods you enjoy because clear aligners are removable. You won't have these restrictions with clear aligners, unlike when you have braces, which require you to avoid a variety of foods, including pizza crust and your favourite crunchy vegetables.
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.
You won't have to worry about dealing with brackets or wires, so you can easily carefully brush and floss your teeth (and get all those little food particles that can easily lead to bacteria that get stuck between your teeth and your aligners). You can remove your aligners when you eat or drink something besides water, and you should.
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
While wearing your clear aligners, you shouldn't eat or drink anything coloured, but you can drink water to stay hydrated. This is crucial for your health as well as for some patients who may experience excessive salivation when wearing clear aligners.
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.
Even though this is completely normal, it can still be inconvenient. Switching to your subsequent set of clear aligners before retiring for the evening is one way to deal with this, as you'll sleep through the initial 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 success with clear aligners will be greatly influenced by your self-discipline and dedication to the procedure. For your treatment to function as intended and your orthodontic issue to be successfully resolved, you must wear them for 22 hours every day.
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
Although you should keep your aligners clean, regular toothpaste and a toothbrush are too abrasive and risk damaging the plastic. Instead, rinse them with water or soak them in a solution designed especially for clear aligners.
DON'T: Forget to brush and floss your teeth before each wear
As you wear clear aligners, maintaining good oral hygiene is even more important because any bacteria or food particles will get trapped between your teeth and your aligners until you brush again.
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 while wearing your aligners
Coloured drinks such as pop, wine and fruit smoothies will stain the clear, transparent plastic of your aligners - yuck.
You must take out your clear aligners before drinking anything other than water, brushing and flossing your teeth, and drink as much as you want while keeping in mind your daily eating and drinking schedule.
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 meetings will give you the chance to discuss any worries you might have about your treatment, ask any questions you might have, and check to see if you're on track to finish it successfully and on schedule—or to change your course, if necessary.