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Can I leave Invisalign out for a night out?

Many Invisalign wearers wonder if they can leave their aligners out for a night out drinking or eating without ruining their teeth straightening progress. While Invisalign is removable and provides more flexibility than fixed metal braces, patients are still required to wear their aligners for at least 20-22 hours per day to see results. Removing aligners for too long, such as an entire night out, can definitely impact the straightening process.

The risks of leaving Invisalign out all night

There are a few risks associated with leaving Invisalign aligners out all night during a night out on the town:

  • Halts progress – Invisalign works by gradually moving your teeth into proper alignment. The aligners need to be worn consistently to maintain gentle pressure and keep teeth moving. Removing them for 8-12 hours or more can cause your teeth to shift back towards their original position.
  • Makes aligners not fit – Along with stalled progress, leaving aligners out all night can make them not fit properly when you put them back in. Your teeth may have shifted enough that the aligners don’t seat correctly, which can be uncomfortable.
  • Increases treatment time – Because leaving aligners out too long halts progress, it means it will take longer for your teeth to get to their desired position. This translates to a longer treatment plan.
  • Causes permanent setbacks – In some cases, leaving Invisalign out for an entire evening and shifting teeth too much can cause setbacks that are difficult or impossible to correct. This may result in not achieving the desired straightening results.

The longer you go without wearing your aligners, the higher the risks. While a couple hours may not cause much disruption, leaving Invisalign out 6-8+ hours overnight lets your teeth shift back substantially. This should definitely be avoided if possible.

Tips for minimizing impact

If you do need to remove your Invisalign for a special night out, there are some tips that can help minimize the impact on your treatment progress:

  • Wear them as long as possible before removing. Keep aligners in all day and until right before you go out.
  • Remove for the shortest time possible. Put them back in as soon as you get home.
  • Stick to shorter nights out if you can. The shorter the time span without aligners, the better.
  • Avoid eating and drinking with aligners out. This protects them from damage.
  • Rinse your mouth after eating/drinking before putting aligners back in.
  • Use chewies when reinserting aligners to seat them properly.
  • Wear aligners for extra time the next day to compensate.

Also, only remove aligners for a night out occasionally, not every weekend. The more often you leave them out overnight, the more it will slow progress. Limit it to special events only.

What if I leave them out 2 nights in a row?

Leaving Invisalign out two nights in a row is definitely not recommended. This constitutes close to 24 hours without aligner wear, which allows substantial shifting. The risks include:

  • Teeth shifting backwards significantly
  • Aligners may not fit at all when you go to insert them
  • Discomfort and difficulty getting aligners to seat properly
  • Halting progress for that set of aligners, extending time in them
  • Potentially needing new impression or mid-course correction

Two nights without aligners can essentially negate the progress you made with that set of aligners. It requires getting back on track and wearing the current trays diligently before being ready to move to the next set. Otherwise, you risk having to backtrack in treatment.

What if I frequently leave Invisalign out at night?

If you make a habit of leaving your Invisalign aligners out multiple nights per week for things like going out, sleeping, etc., it will undoubtedly stall your treatment progress. The impacts of frequent overnight removal include:

  • Teeth shifting back and forth rather than progressing
  • Much slower overall movement of teeth
  • Aligners never fitting properly due to constant teeth shifting
  • Discomfort and inability to seat aligners after leaving them out
  • Needing repeated mid-course corrections and new impressions
  • Significantly extended treatment time
  • May never achieve desired results

Frequently leaving Invisalign out overnight essentially cancels out the time you wear them. Your teeth are just going to shift back and forth rather than move in the desired direction. This will require constantly extending time in certain trays and delays. Be prepared for a much longer road to straight teeth.

How much can I drink with Invisalign in?

Drinking with Invisalign aligners in place is very limited due to the risk of damaging the plastic trays and discoloring the attachments. The only beverages recommended include:

  • Water
  • Clear soda/sparkling water
  • Black coffee/tea

Avoid any staining or acidic drinks when wearing aligners. Things like wine, coffee with cream, sports drinks, and juice can all discolor or warp Invisalign trays. Either avoid them or remove aligners first.

Key Takeaways

Here are the key takeaways to keep in mind about leaving Invisalign out for a night out:

  • Leaving aligners out 6-8+ hours overnight risks halting progress and compromising treatment.
  • Only do so occasionally for special events vs. regularly.
  • Minimize time without aligners and wear extra the next day to compensate.
  • Avoid multiple nights in a row without aligners.
  • Frequently removing aligners overnight will significantly slow treatment time.
  • Drink smart with aligners in – stick to clear, non-staining beverages.

The Bottom Line

While Invisalign offers flexibility compared to metal braces, aligners still need to be worn 20-22 hours per day to work properly. Leaving them out for a full night periodically won’t completely derail treatment, but can set you back. Be strategic in minimizing the time without aligners in and make up for lost time to keep your teeth moving in the right direction.

Time without Aligners Level of Impact
One night out (6-8 hours) Moderate impact
Two nights in a row Major impact
Frequently removing overnight Severe impact