What can I do with clear aligners?
In many ways, Invisalign 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
Since clear aligners can be removed, you can keep on eating the foods you love. Unlike traditional metal braces, you will not have to avoid foods like pizza crust, crunchy vegetables or popcorn when undergoing treatment 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 wires or brackets to contend with in your mouth, you will be able to carefully brush and floss as you always have (making sure to thoroughly clean your teeth to avoid food particles and bacteria getting stuck between your teeth and 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
While you shouldn't drink or eat anything but water while wearing your clear aligners, you should still drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. This is both important for anyone's health, and extra important for people undergoing this treatment since 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
Your commitment to the treatment and self-discipline will be huge parts of your success with clear aligners. You will need to wear your aligners for at least 22 hours each day. You will need to wear your aligners 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: 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.
Because of this, you will want to floss and brush your teeth before each wear and every time after your drink or eat anything that isn't just water.
DON'T: Drink coloured drinks while wearing your aligners
Coloured drinks such as pop, wine and coffee 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 the chance to ask any questions you might have, address concerns about your treatment, and make sure you are on the right track to completing your treatment successfully and on time, adjusting course if needed.