When it comes to drinking after medical procedures, it is almost always recommended to refrain from doing so. Alcohol causes many different reactions within the body, and this is the case even with one drink. With this in mind, what can you drink after having an Invisalign treatment?
The answer varies depending on whether you have traditional braces or clear aligners. With traditional braces, they’re bonded to your teeth and they’re typically made of stainless steel or a ceramic material that resists staining, so you can drink whatever you’d like to a certain extent. With Invisalign, you’ll have to remove your aligners (we’ll get to why shortly) before you drink anything aside from cool or room temperature water.
In this guide, we will offer guidance on what you can drink after having an Invisalign procedure done. Read on to find out more.
What Is Invisalign?
Invisalign treatment is a form of clear aligner orthodontic therapy, which straightens teeth using removable, transparent plastic trays rather than permanently bonded metal braces. Invisalign treatment is safe, comfortable, and just as effective as braces.
Invisalign is a brand that produces a patented form of clear aligners, not the clear aligners themselves. Licensed orthodontists partner with Invisalign to design a unique treatment course based on a patient’s individual diagnosis using Invisalign-brand clear aligners.
The Invisalign system is a revolutionary technology that straightens your teeth without the appearance of metal brackets and wires. Instead, Invisalign aligners are made of transparent, flexible plastic, designed for your unique case, to carefully and precisely move your teeth into their correct positions. When worn, they are nearly invisible.
Using patented SmartTrack material, the aligners are comfortable and biocompatible, fitting snugly over your teeth. Most treatments use a top and bottom aligner, each designed by your orthodontist to safely shift your teeth. You’ll receive a new set every 1-2 weeks, and then will swap out for a new set. Each one shifts your teeth closer to their correct positions.
Depending on your case, your doctor may also use SmartForce attachments, which are tooth-colored holds that affix to certain teeth to give the aligners added grip. You may also use rubber bands, which connect the top and bottom teeth to further assist the precision movement of your teeth into their correct positions.
When your treatment is complete, you’ll be provided with retainers, which will help protect the results of your Invisalign clear aligner treatment. You’ll wear retainers every night for the first few months, and then a few nights a week after that.
Drinking And Teeth: The Basics
We all have bacteria in our mouth, some of which is good and some harmful. The harmful bacteria feed off the sugar and starches you eat and drink. When they do this, they release acids that eat away at your tooth enamel and form a sticky substance called plaque. Eventually, this can lead to cavities.
This is why it’s best to have drinks like soda, sweetened iced tea, certain cocktails, juice and sports drinks in moderation, whether you’re in orthodontic treatment or not.
Other drinks, such as coffee, tea and red wine, may not have as much sugar as say, soda, but they can stain the teeth. Again, in order to keep your smile looking bright and fresh, you’ll also want to enjoy these in moderation.
Some of the worst drinks for your teeth are actually acidic beverages. The acid in drinks, including orange juice, lemonade and white wine, can weaken the tooth enamel, making you more prone to cavities and staining.
Adult beverages like mixed drinks with alcohol and fruit juice have the one-two punch of acidity and sugar. While the occasional alcoholic drink is fine, drinking them regularly, particularly if you’re not keeping up with your oral hygiene routine, can have a negative impact on your smile.
What Should I Consider When Drinking With Braces?
Can you drink coffee with braces? Can you drink soda with braces? What about alcohol? Like we mentioned, there are no restrictions when it comes to beverages when you have clear braces or metal braces. Drinking with braces won’t damage your bracket and wires. That being said, wearing braces does make you more susceptible to plaque build-up because there are extra nooks and crannies for plaque and bacteria to hide.
This is why we usually recommend that our braces patients limit their intake of sugary drinks and acidic beverages, including soda, mixed alcoholic beverages and sports drinks. Getting cavities at any point in your life is no fun, however, getting cavities while you’re in braces, could cause your treatment to go longer than it would have. Plus, teeth move most efficiently in a healthy oral environment.
Beyond sugary drinks, you’ll want to be careful when drinking coffee with braces (that goes for tea, red wine, cranberry juice or anything else dark colored too). These types of beverages can stain your teeth. Since you have brackets covering portions of your teeth, when your braces come off, you could have a two-toned smile depending on how frequently you’re drinking them.
What Can I Drink With Invisalign?
Just like with braces, you can drink whatever you want with Invisalign but only when you’re not wearing your aligners. It’s extremely important to take your aligners out to drink anything aside from plain water. Here’s why:
- Invisalign aligners are crafted from clear plastic. Drinking coffee with Invisalign or any other hot beverages can cause the plastic to warp. The effectiveness of Invisalign depends on the fit. If the plastic warps and the fit is off, your teeth won’t get the necessary force to achieve the movements your orthodontist programmed into that set of aligners. This can compromise your results or mean you’ll have to wear that tray again.
- Drinking something sugary or acidic with Invisalign aligners in your mouth or drinking and then immediately putting your aligners back in without rinsing your mouth out, can lead to cavities or erosion of your tooth enamel. The aligners fit snugly against the teeth and will trap the sugar or acid, holding it against your teeth for a longer period of time, potentially causing more damage. It won’t get washed away like it normally would by your saliva. Drinking alcohol with Invisalign or having the occasional glass of soda is fine but only if you’ve taken your aligners out and rinse your mouth out after.
- Drinking with Invisalign aligners in your mouth will cause the plastic to stain if you’re having things like coffee, red wine or tea. This kind of defeats the purpose of having virtually invisible treatment since your aligners will be noticeable.
How Can I Prevent Issues When I Drink With Invisalign Or Braces?
- To keep cavities, staining and other issues at bay, when drinking with Invisalign or braces, follow these tips:
- Take your Invisalign aligners out and put them in their case before having a drink.
- Avoid the temptation to sip slowly or nurse a drink over the course of several hours. While, of course, you don’t want to drink too quickly when having an alcoholic beverage, at least when it comes to soda or sports drinks, drink it in one sitting. Otherwise, the remineralization process doesn’t get a chance to spring into action and the acids have more time to damage your teeth.
- Drink lots of water. Drinking water will wash away some of the sugar, acid and plaque. It also stimulates saliva, which is important for neutralizing plaque acids and keeping teeth healthy.
- Before putting your aligners back in, if you can, swish some water around in your mouth and then spit it out after having a drink. If you’re out for a night on the town enjoying adult beverages, whether you have braces or Invisalign, occasionally rinsing your mouth out can’t hurt.
- Don’t skimp on your oral hygiene routine. Brush your teeth using a fluoride toothpaste in the morning, after meals and snacks, and before bed. Floss once a day as well.
- Remember, everything in moderation. A glass of wine or coffee is perfectly fine but moderation is the key to a healthy smile.