Your first meal out with clear aligners can feel like a scary one! Mine was.
Skip ahead to my lists on the Foods to Avoid With Invisalign Attachments and Dining Out With Clear Aligners if you're short on time. It'll be worth your while.
Now. Let's dive in.
I've mentioned before that my husband and I work from home. This set dynamic makes for an ideal schedule and it’s one I’ve grown accustomed to.
We go to Planet Fitness in the mornings, eat our meals together, and enjoy the company of our two cats. Although we’re driven by routine, spending quality time with our friends and family is something we value more than the comfort of our home base.
Fast-forward a month into having Invisalign and my husband had arranged a double date with another one of our couple friends. The catch? I wouldn’t know any details about the activity or who we were meeting up with until we got there.
All I knew was that we’d be grabbing lunch afterwards. Among many of the thoughts running through my mind.
‘What could we possibly be doing?’
‘What should I wear?’
And ‘Seriously, what should I wear?’
I was nervous about how to approach the huge white elephant in the room – the fact that my clear aligners aren’t that secretive, even to the naked eye.
It felt as though I was debuting my mouth because we hadn’t seen any of our friends since I started my treatment plan.
The date ended up being a Sur La Table knife skills class (game changer for anyone who wants to become a more talented home chef!) and I was somewhat relieved that we had to wear face masks for the duration of the lesson.
My husband also picked a wonderful couple to share in the fun: the founders of his company. Still, I didn’t want to do anything to embarrass myself.
By the time we were finished with the class, I was STARVING. Hangry was an understatement because I was still in the mindset that I had to skip breakfast in order to fit in 22 hours of wear time for my aligners – More on this later.
We decided that lunch would be at an Asian eatery and I was relieved that there would be some soft food options such as tender noodles and fluffy rice. I went with my gut and ordered a bibimbap bowl.
Making small talk in between the arrival of our drinks and meals was a little uncomfortable because I was hyper focused about my clear aligners. It’s true that they give you a not-so-cute lisp when you’re first adjusting to them.
Learning how to relax your mouth into a natural closed-mouth smile also takes some time. As with any undertaking, practice makes perfect.
I did wait until the food arrived before politely excusing myself to use the restroom and I had a small travel kit with me to keep the cleaning process a short one.
Necessities include: Your aligner case, a toothbrush, travel-sized toothpaste, floss, chapstick, dental chewies, an orthokey (at least for the first few weeks), and a bottle of travel-sized mouthwash.
Taking out my aligners in a public restroom was strange, indeed. Anyone who walked in during that moment would have seen me yanking out my trays in front of the mirror.
Nowadays I’ll pop them out in the car to avoid the social awkwardness.
When I made my way back to the table, the waitress was just setting down our plates. Phew. Some shared appetizers I did pass on, like edamame and handheld tacos. My teeth were sore and I didn’t want to add fuel to the fire. Once we were finished, I excused myself once again to floss, rinse my aligners, brush my teeth, and put the trays back in. All of this really isn’t necessary and I’d recommend that you at least use mouthwash, then complete the rest of the oral hygiene steps at home.
Foods to Avoid With Invisalign Attachments
- Hard or sticky candy
- Bubble gum
- Berries that contain a large amount of seeds
The residue from these foods are a real pain to clean off and the sugar content can diminish the durability of your attachments altogether.
Some Other Advice on Dining Out With Clear Aligners?
- Take small bites and chew slowly
- Drink plenty of water to avoid a dry mouth
- Pull apart food with your fingers instead of using your teeth to hack away at a meal. Your teeth are moving at a rapid rate so they will be SORE
- Don’t try to be a hero on day 1 (I was that crazy person who was eating Subway the night after having my wisdom teeth removed)
- Use appetizer-sized forks and spoons, when possible. Countless times I’ve hit my teeth or the sides of my mouth because I’m not used to the extra space. Plus, the rubber bands and attachments can mess with your depth perception
Remember, you’ve got this.