Can I Eat Whatever I Want During Invisalign Treatment?
The answer, unsurprisingly, is yes and no. We bet you were expecting that if you have read many of our blogs. We usually do not give a straight answer because there is not one single answer to questions about dental health. This is due to the unique nature of every human being, and our commitment to treating every human being we see as a unique individual with specific risks, needs and goals. At Designer Smiles, we never take a one-size-fits-all approach, so that means no simple answers.
So I Can Eat Anything I Want During Invisalign Treatment?
The way we can answer the title question with a “yes” is due to the removable aspect of clear aligner therapy for orthodontics. When we compare Invisalign to traditional braces, you can certainly eat many more foods with aligners than with brackets and wires. Because you remove the aligners for meals, the risk for damaging your aligners, the same way that brackets and/or wires can be damaged, is nonexistent.
Restrictions from foods like popcorn and sticky candy do not apply to aligners because you would not keep the aligners in your mouth while enjoying them. One of the advantages of straightening your teeth with aligners, compared to traditional braces, is the ability to remove the aligners during meals and snacking in order to enjoy your favorite foods.
Eating with Aligners in Your Mouth
You may find it strange to learn that many dentists and orthodontists give patients permission to eat with the aligners in the mouth. The force of chewing can actually improve tooth movement into the aligner’s prescribed position, so we often use this instruction as a way to enhance Invisalign’s orthodontic success.
While the chewing force is good for tooth movement while the aligners are in the mouth, it is not great for keeping your teeth clean. If you eat with the aligners in your mouth, you will likely catch a large amount of food debris in and around the aligners. This means you will need to take a little greater care with oral hygiene after eating: rinsing your mouth, removing the aligners and brushing, etc…
Chewing with aligners in your mouth also affects the sensations of eating. It just feels weird. It may alter the taste of your food, too.
So I Can’t Eat Anything I Want During Invisalign Treatment?
The answer to this question is a little more personalized, as we consider individual risk factors for dental problems. The reason we were able to say that you can eat anything you want during Invisalign treatment was your ability to remove the aligners when eating. The reason we say that you can’t eat anything you want during Invisalign treatment is that wearing aligners does increase the risk for dental diseases like cavities and gum disease.
Even though you remove the aligners to eat and drink anything besides water, you still need to wear them a minimum of twenty-two hours a day for successful tooth movement. The coverage of the aligners over the teeth does change your oral environment. And not for the better.
The aligners, when worn, create a barrier between the teeth and the constant bathing of saliva they should have throughout the day and night. When the teeth do not receive this continual washing, they miss the dental health benefits of saliva, including bacteria-fighting and tooth-strengthening activities.
This all translates to a higher risk for cavities and gum disease during Invisalign treatment.
We then customize the recommendations based on your pre-existing risk level before Invisalign treatment. Those patients who already have a moderate to high risk for gum disease or cavities should closely monitor their diets and alter them if needed. Someone with a high cavity risk should greatly reduce his or her sugar intake during Invisalign treatment. A person with an already dry mouth should eliminate all beverages but water, since everything with caffeine, alcohol, and sugar leads to dehydration.
Before you begin any orthodontic treatment in our office, Dr. Ann will assess your specific risk levels and customize your treatment instructions to account for any increased disease risk you could experience during Invisalign treatment.
More Questions about Invisalign Treatment and Your Specific Protocol to Follow?
Call Designer Smiles to schedule an Invisalign consultation with Dr. Ann. She has created hundreds of beautiful smiles with clear aligner therapy, and she would be happy to help you achieve the smile of your dreams. She will also perform a comprehensive evaluation of your dental health, assessing and identifying unique risk areas that could have an impact on your Invisalign treatment.