When straightening your teeth with Invisalign, the last thing you expect is some kind of new imperfection due to enamel damage or some other side effect of Invisalign that ruins your teeth.
Maintaining healthy tooth enamel is vital for overall oral health, as it acts as a protective layer for the teeth, shielding them from decay and damage. But does Invisalign really ruin your teeth?
Generally, using the word “ruin” is an overstatement, since the dentist may need to shave off the enamel in some teeth to create enough room to straighten your smile. There are many dental treatments that require this kind of tooth preparation, including the common tooth bonding and even veneers, so this shouldn’t be a big deal.
Another concern with Invisalign is the high risk of tooth demineralization, since the flow of saliva is inhibited. This may cause plaque to linger on your teeth for longer, causing tooth erosion. But this can be easily resolved by ensuring proper oral hygiene and rinsing your mouth after meals.
It’s important that you adhere to the guidelines provided by your orthodontist for preventing potential damage during Invisalign treatment. Failure to follow these guidelines can lead to complications.
Potential Complications Associated with Wearing Invisalign
During the initial stages of Invisalign treatment, patients often experience some discomfort and tenderness as the teeth begin to move. However, wearing the aligners should not cause any damage to your teeth. That said, there are a few things you can expect:
1. Discomfort and Tenderness
Upon wearing Invisalign aligners for the first time, it is expected to experience tenderness and pain. This discomfort usually subsides within a few days as your mouth adjusts to the aligners.
2. Risk of Dislodging Fillings
If you have dental fillings in the treated teeth, there is a chance that they may become dislodged while biting down on the aligners. It is important to be cautious and inform your orthodontist if you have restorations in the treated area.
3. Risk of Dry Mouth
In some cases, your mouth may treat the aligners like a foreign object, causing gum inflammation and irritation, which in turn trigger the body’s response by producing less saliva. When your mouth feels dry from wearing Invisalign, it can also make it difficult to wear and remove them properly, resulting in mouth sores. It is important to consult your dentist to minimize the impact on enamel and your oral tissues, and also explore strategies for managing dry mouth.
4. Nerve Damage
In specific cases where a tooth has been extracted or if there is a history of dental injury, Invisalign may not be the best option. Your orthodontist will assess the area and determine if there is a risk of nerve damage. Restorative therapy or a root canal might be necessary to address this issue.
Enamel Shaving in Invisalign Treatment
Enamel shaving, also known as interproximal reduction, is a technique used in Invisalign treatment to create space between teeth. By reducing the thickness of tooth enamel, orthodontists can facilitate tooth movement and expedite the treatment process.
However, the practice of enamel shaving has generated controversy due to its potential impact on tooth health.
Some concerns include:
a. Damage to Existing Fillings
For patients with previous dental fillings, enamel shaving may result in the removal of artificial filling material, reversing the restoration benefits of the treatment. For individuals with healthy enamel, this technique can lead to the loss of valuable natural enamel.
b. Esthetic Implications
Enamel shaving can alter the size and appearance of teeth, making them look narrower and longer. While this may be desirable for some individuals with shorter teeth, it is important to consider the esthetic implications and weigh them against the potential risks to enamel health depending on how much enamel needs to be shaved off.
Invisalign, Tooth Decay, and Oral Hygiene
There are concerns that wearing aligners can create a microenvironment that hinders saliva flow, limiting the natural remineralization process of enamel. This can increase the risk of enamel demineralization and tooth decay.
Proper oral hygiene practices are crucial to mitigate these risks, such as:
I. Proper Aligner Usage and Hygiene Instructions
Following the prescribed instructions for wearing and caring for your aligners is essential. This includes regular cleaning and maintaining good oral hygiene practices.
II. Rinsing Mouth Regularly and Drinking Water
Rinsing your mouth regularly, especially after meals, and staying hydrated by drinking water helps maintain a healthy oral environment and promotes saliva flow.
III. Flossing or Using Interdental Brushes
Cleaning between your teeth with floss or interdental brushes helps remove food particles and plaque, reducing the risk of enamel demineralization.
IV. Consuming Calcium-Rich Foods
Incorporating calcium-rich foods and vitamin D into your diet supports enamel health. Dairy products, leafy greens, and fortified foods are excellent sources of calcium and vitamins.
V. Using Fluoride Toothpaste and Enamel-Remineralizing Mouthwash
Using fluoride toothpaste helps strengthen enamel, and using an enamel-remineralizing mouthwash can further support the remineralization process.
VI. Incorporating Enamel-Boosting Serum
Enamel-boosting serums, recommended by dental professionals, can provide additional minerals and support enamel remineralization.
The Role of Professional Dental Care
While Invisalign treatment carries potential risks, adherence to guidelines and collaboration with dental professionals can minimize these dangers. Regular dental visits are crucial for identifying and assessing risk factors associated with Invisalign treatment. Your Invisalign specialist can provide guidance and recommend preventive measures to maintain enamel integrity and optimal oral health.