You might have heard that you can straighten your teeth without braces by using a set of aligner trays through Invisalign. While this may sound like a miracle, you also might have some questions like can this technique ruin your teeth? The good news is that this method of teeth straightening, as prescribed through Nasser Orthodontics in Shreveport, LA, is as safe for your teeth as traditional braces.
Can Invisalign Ruin Your Teeth?
More than 9 million people had used Invisalign through 2020 and of those users, there were only 173 reports of adverse effects, and none were reports of dental issues. All 173 reports of adverse reactions to the trays were related to allergies and irritation. This data indicates that this system is completely safe for your health and for your teeth. However, there are some complications that could arise due to the straightening process itself, either with braces or aligners.
Anytime you have had an injury to a tooth, you could experience further damage or kill the root by attempting to move your teeth using braces or aligners. Usually, if damage to the root of the tooth is discovered, your orthodontist will suggest that you undergo an endodontic procedure like restorative surgery or a root canal before you begin straightening your teeth. This will prevent any further damage to the injured tooth and make straightening more effective.
Crowns and Fillings
Aligners are designed to fit up tight against your teeth, so it’s possible that fillings and crowns could become dislodged during treatment. Typically, when these dental appliances become dislodged, they are damaged to the point where they cannot be repaired. As such, they will need to be replaced. The aligners will not directly damage teeth, but they can damage previously-placed appliances. Note that you may need a new set of aligners if the replacement filling or crown alters your bite.
Invisalign, as with any teeth-straightening method, triggers a cellular action in the roots of the teeth to get them to move. Very rarely, this cellular response can damage the ends of the roots, which can result in the need for a root canal or other procedure that can restore health to your tooth. Moreover, aligner treatment does not prevent gum disease from occurring after your treatment has concluded. You’ll still need your teeth cleaned professionally every six months.
Increased Risk of Cavities
If you’ve heard that this treatment can ruin your teeth, these stories are probably related to the increased risk of cavities that comes with using aligners. You have to wear the aligners for as many hours during the day as possible, except for eating and drinking beverages other than water. This reduces the amount of oxygen that reaches your teeth, which leaves them more vulnerable to acid. They can also trap bacteria that feed on food left on your teeth.
However, as long as you are extremely diligent about your oral hygiene routine, neither the reduced oxygen levels nor the bacteria should be an issue. You should continue brushing and flossing your teeth as recommended by your dentist or orthodontist, and you should always rinse your mouth with water after eating or drinking, and before re-inserting your aligners. This is why these aligners aren’t an ideal choice for everyone, especially those who aren’t good at following a strict cleaning routine.
Benefits of Aligners
The benefits of Invisalign over braces are numerous, and can often be an excellent solution for people who want a straight smile, but don’t want to go through the aggravation of traditional braces. They have been very popular with a segment of the population since their debut in 1998, and the technology has only improved in the 20 years since then.
The Aligners Are Clear
The primary benefit of this treatment is that the aligners are clear, so they cannot be seen from a reasonable distance away. While they are still noticeable up close, they remove some of the embarrassment people feel about having a mouth full of metal. Teenagers are already self-conscious about their bodies at the time when braces are most often prescribed. This treatment can help take away some feelings of anxiety while achieving the same goals as braces.
They Promote Better Oral Hygiene
It can be difficult to brush and floss your teeth when there are brackets and wires in the way. In fact, many patients end up having to get cavities filled when they get their braces off because food got trapped between a bracket and a tooth and couldn’t be brushed away. With aligners, you can remove them whenever you need to brush or floss, and nothing gets in the way of ensuring you get between each tooth every time.
There Are Few Food Restrictions
Another positive aspect of aligners is that you can eat almost anything you want. With braces, you’re restricted from eating popcorn, hard candy, gum, corn on the cob, and more due to the damage they can cause to the brackets and wires. Since with this treatment, you remove the aligners any time you eat, you can eat whatever you want. You should take care when drinking fluids, though, as coffee, tea, soda, and wine can stain your aligners.
Remember that even though you can eat whatever you want when you are using aligners, you need to ensure your mouth is clean before you re-insert them following a meal. You don’t want to get food trapped between your aligners and your teeth that then sits there eating away your enamel until the next time you brush your teeth. It’s recommended that you brush your teeth and rinse your mouth after each meal and snack if possible.
The medical-grade plastic used to make your aligners is much more comfortable than traditional braces. Not only do they fit tight against your teeth so you barely know they’re there, but they also don’t have any pokey ends of wires or abrasive metal parts to scrape your cheeks or tongue. This makes the aligners more convenient as well since you won’t have to make emergency appointments to get brackets or wires fixed.
Fewer Orthodontist Appointments
Patients with traditional braces usually have to see their orthodontist every four-to-six weeks to have their braces tightened and adjusted. If you choose aligners, though, you won’t have to see your orthodontist as often. This is because you’ll receive several sets of aligners at one time, and each set will be worn for two or three weeks. You will keep switching out trays until you need a new set, which can be anywhere from eight to 12 months.
Of course, your orthodontist will schedule your appointments based on your individual treatment plan, which means you might have more appointments than other patients. This is especially true if you have a particularly complicated treatment plan for a difficult orthodontics issue or if your orthodontist just wants to check in on your progress more frequently. Be sure to talk with your doctor about how often you’ll need to come in for a visit.
The length of time that your treatment with aligners will take depends on your individual needs. The average time it takes to complete treatment is between 12 and 18 months; however, some people continue wearing aligners for up to 30 months if their condition requires it. Likewise, some patients are able to achieve the smile they want after just six months of wear. These cases are rare and usually require very little tooth movement. You should start seeing results within weeks, though.
The best way to know how long you’ll have to wear your aligners is to schedule a consultation with your orthodontist. During this appointment, your orthodontist will examine your teeth and determine the severity of your dental issues. They will also talk to you about your goals and what you hope to achieve from treatment. Using this information, your orthodontist will develop an individual treatment plan for both braces and aligners, allowing you to choose the option best for you.
If you choose Invisalign as your course of treatment, you’ll be required to wear your aligners for 22 hours per day. You cannot cheat on this number, as it will only require your treatment to last longer if you do. Your trays can be removed when you eat, drink anything but water, and brush and floss your teeth, but that should be it. If you struggle with compliance, this system may not be right for you.
Once in a while, you might want to take your aligners out for a special occasion, but know that you’ll probably have to make that time up later. This is something you should talk to your orthodontist about to ensure you’re not making the treatment less effective. Typically, going a couple of hours without your aligners for a special event will be fine as long as you don’t make it a habit and start leaving them out all the time.
Believe it or not, an adult’s teeth move just like a teen’s teeth, so you don’t have to be “young” to get your teeth straightened by any method. However, adults often prefer to use clear aligners instead of metal braces because they usually have to present a “public face” at work or in their social lives. As long as you’re in good health and your teeth are generally healthy as well, you can use this method to straighten your teeth.
You should also be willing to comply with the instructions for wear to ensure your aligners are effective at moving your teeth in the time frame you’re given at your consultation. This means you must wear your aligners for at least 20 hours a day (22 is preferable) and not forget to wear them for too long. This is why traditional braces are sometimes a better option for teenagers who have yet to become responsible enough to manage their use.
You may also be a good candidate for Invisalign if you’ve already had braces but your teeth have moved back since you had your braces removed. This is a great way to discreetly regain your smile that you had when you first completed your treatment. Additionally, if you’re currently wearing braces, it may be possible for you to switch to aligners, which means you probably won’t have as many trays to use before you achieve the results you want.
Broken or Lost Aligners
It happens to the best of us: we’re traveling and we forget something at our hotel or lose a bag at the airport. If you lose an aligner, let your orthodontist know right away so they can monitor your progress and determine if a new one needs to be made. You might be able to wear a previous set of aligners or jump to the next set, but this won’t be known until you have your teeth examined.
The same is true if one of your aligners breaks. This isn’t a common issue, but occasionally, as you near the end of using a set of aligners, they can break or split when you take them out. Your orthodontist will determine if you’re okay to move to the next set early or if you need to have a new one made to replace the broken aligner. Don’t try to wear a broken aligner, as it could irritate your mouth.
Ordering Aligners Directly
Since aligner trays are considered by the FDA to be a prescription product, they must be ordered through your orthodontist. There is no way to directly order this system yourself. The reason behind this is that to get the results you want, your progress with the aligners needs to be carefully monitored. This allows adjustments to be made as your treatment continues and prevents larger dental issues from arising.
Moreover, do not share your aligners with anyone else, even if you sterilize them, since they will have been made for your teeth only. They will not work for anyone else, and could actually cause dental problems to develop for that person.
Invisalign can be a very effective treatment for just about anyone, and it’s safe to use as well. Contact Nasser Orthodontics in Shreveport, LA today to schedule your consultation and let our experts give you the smile you deserve.