In recent years, Invisalign has evolved into a viable alternative to traditional metal braces for patients who want to improve the appearance of their smile. While every smile is beautiful—including imperfect ones—some people are shy about their smile or they’re quick to cover their mouths when they laugh. That’s a shame because a person’s smile should be a source of pride, not embarrassment.
An Explanation of Invisalign Treatment
If you lack confidence in your smile but don’t want the world to know that you’re undergoing orthodontic treatment, Invisalign could be for you. While Invisalign refers to a type of treatment that’s an alternative to conventional metal braces, every Invisalign treatment is customized to the specific needs of each patient undergoing treatment.
Although that’s the case, every treatment plan will include the use of Invisalign clear aligners. Patients wear a set of aligners between 20-22 hours per day for a few weeks before they get a new set. Every set of aligners gently moves teeth closer to their proper position.
Unlike metal braces which can be seen from a distance, Invisalign aligners are hard to see even when someone is up close. That’s why so many people refer to Invisalign aligners as invisible braces.
Both teens and adults are eligible for Invisalign treatment. In general, treatment will last several months or over a year. No matter how long your treatment lasts, it will yield an improved smile if you follow the instructions your Invisalign orthodontist or dentist provides.
Demineralization: A Side Effect of Invisalign Treatment
While having a better smile may motivate you to seek treatment from the nearest Invisalign specialist, you should know that the treatment can have some drawbacks. Some people experience mild headaches when they start treatment, for example. Other patients may suffer from soreness in their mouth until they get used to their aligners. In either case, discomfort caused by Invisalign treatment can generally be treated with over the counter medicine before it resolves itself.
While headaches and mouth discomfort are temporary side effects some people experience when they start their Invisalign treatment, demineralization is a relatively common side effect that’s long-term. Demineralization can cause white spots to appear on a patient’s teeth. Demineralization occurs when food remains on your teeth and it interacts with bacteria or plaque.
When the food interacts with bacteria, it creates acid which, in turn, eats away at the calcium and phosphate on your teeth. The result of that is unsightly white spots. The resulting white spots are often sensitive and they can cause cavities.
Demineralization can happen to anyone regardless of whether they do or do not use Invisalign clear aligners. Although that’s true, some people question if demineralization is more common in patients who wear the aligners because the invisible braces can trap food and liquid in place. Some people are also concerned because aligners can prevent saliva from naturally cleaning, buffering and remineralizing the surface of their teeth.
Complicating things even more is the aligners’ ability to act as another surface where plaque can build up. Plaque build up is particularly common is cusp-tip and incisal-edge areas where demineralization is seen somewhat regularly in patients who don’t aggressively clean their Invisalign aligners often.
How to Avoid Demineralization While Undergoing Invisalign Treatment
While demineralization can be a serious side effect of Invisalign treatment, it’s also one that is entirely preventable. Even though it’s possible to prevent demineralization, doing so is up to you. To prevent demineralization and avoid the development of cavities, you should start by having a conversation with your Invisalign orthodontist or dentist about oral hygiene.
Caring for your teeth properly can go a long way toward avoiding demineralization even if you’re not going to undergo Invisalign treatment. While it’s always important to brush and floss your teeth after you eat, it’s even more critical to do these things before you put your Invisalign aligners back in your mouth after meals and snacks. In addition to brushing and flossing, you should add rinsing your mouth with a fluoride rinse once per day to your oral hygiene routine throughout your treatment.
The next thing you should talk to your orthodontist or dentist about is the types of food and drinks you should avoid during your treatment. While you don’t have to eliminate certain foods from your diet during your Invisalign treatment, there are a few things you should never consume with your aligners in your mouth if you want to avoid demineralization.
Although you’re supposed to remove your aligners before you eat or drink anything other than water, there may be instances where doing so will be inconvenient or embarrassing, such as removing them when there isn’t a clean place to put them or taking them out during a business luncheon. If you’re going to eat or drink with your aligners in your mouth, you should avoid sugary and acidic beverages. Soft drinks, sports drinks, juices and flavored waters are examples of the beverages you should avoid.
When you eat or drink something other than water with your Invisalign aligners in your mouth, you should rinse your mouth with clean water immediately afterward. You should also brush and floss your teeth and clean your aligners at the earliest opportunity thereafter. Failure to do so may put you at risk for decalcification and caries in areas that are typically known for self-cleaning, including your cusp tips.
Achieving Your Best Smile Begins with a Consultation
If you want to show off your best smile, your journey toward being able to do so begins with a consultation with Clearsmile Orthodontics. We’ll create a custom Invisalign treatment plan for you that will noticeably improve the appearance of your smile over time. With the arrival of each new set of aligners, your smile will get ever closer to your very best.
There’s no reason to be nervous about a consultation for Invisalign treatment because it’s merely a starting point on a path that will eventually lead you to your best smile, a path we’ll provide support along every step of the way. Schedule your consultation with Clearsmile Orthodontics today!