Invisalign Aligners with Cavities: FAQs and Care Tips

Cavities are prevalent oral health issues. Around 57% of adolescents and 90% of adults aged 20 and older have cavities, as per CDC estimates. If you're in this group, you may be concerned about how it affects your treatment plan. Remember to brush your teeth regularly.

If you're concerned about cavities during Invisalign treatment, check out this comprehensive FAQ guide for insights on the topic.

CAN YOU  Get Aligners If You Have A Cavity

Can You

Get Aligners If You Have A Cavity?

While it's a common question, using aligners with an open cavity is not recommended. Just as you wouldn't want to drive a car with a broken exhaust, it's essential to address cavities before attempting to straighten your teeth.

The same logic applies to tooth movement; if there's even a single vulnerable opening, addressing it should be a top priority before attempting to move your teeth into alignment.

With Invisalign trays, you can still get your cavities treated, and they usually fit for 22 hours a day. In rare instances where they don't fit after cavity treatment, your doctor can request replacements at minimal or no extra cost.

DO CLEAR ALIGNERS  Increase Risk of Cavities? Can Aligners CAUSE Cavities

Do Clear Aligners

Increase Risk of Cavities? Can Aligners CAUSE Cavities?

    No. Neither   clear aligners ,   braces , or any other orthodontic treatment will directly cause cavities, nor will they directly exacerbate the risk of them happening. Clear aligners require additional oral hygiene diligence. While having a reliable tool is crucial, it's even more vital to responsibly brush and floss.

    Cavities can be one problematic nuisance, with or without clear aligners. But that nuisance can be addressed by the “Three Cs”:

    • Care
    • Compliance
    • Cleanliness

    Tooth-colored aligners demand careful handling to preserve both your teeth and the aligners themselves. Maintain a strong oral hygiene routine and prioritize cleanliness.

    Types of braces, including ceramic braces, lingual braces, and traditional metal braces, along with aligners, require careful attention to prevent plaque buildup, Gum-related disease, and cavity-causing decay. Even so, it would be a misnomer to say that aligners, or any orthodontic appliance for that matter, could directly cause or prevent cavities. At the end of the day, that responsibility falls on you and you alone.

    WHAT HAPPENS  If You Get A Cavity with Aligners

    What Happens

    If You Get A Cavity with Aligners?

    What if you develop a new cavity after starting clear aligner therapy? Ensure to address this concern by cleaning your aligners regularly, and consider the use of stainless steel tools for optimal oral hygiene.

    If a cavity occurs in the middle of treatment, then that will be the first and foremost immediate priority to attend to. The first immediate priority will be having that cavity attended to with fillings or restorations.

    If the filling or sealant drastically alters the shape of the tooth, then your orthodontist may need to perform a treatment revision, as the original fit may become compromised. If you need revised impressions or scans, then you should get that taken care of ASAP.

    HOW TO AVOID  Cavities with Aligners

    How to Avoid

    Cavities with Aligners?

    You would go about avoiding cavities with clear aligners as you would without clear aligners. Keeping your smile healthy and happy is a continuous, ongoing, and lifelong struggle. Adhering to consistent care, compliance, and cleanliness (those 3 C’s we mentioned earlier) will go a long way toward curtailing your risk of developing cavities.

    To maintain due oral hygiene diligence, you should:

    • Brush 2-3 times a day, for two minutes a day (per ADA recommendations)
    • Floss each tooth, incorporating a Waterpik or interdental brush for good measure
    • Gargle saltwater and/or mouthwash for at least 30 seconds to promote disinfection

    Beyond those basic care routines, the following steps can also help you minimize the risk of developing cavities and tooth decay:

    • Limit sugary/acidic beverages:   Sweetened coffee, tea, soda, beer, and processed juice can all force undue wear on the teeth over prolonged, long term exposure. To mitigate that wear, consider moderating or abstaining from these substances.
    • Drinking tap water:   Fresh tap is high in enamel-strengthening fluoride that most bottled water brands simply lack. To curtail cavities, consider drinking more tap, and if your region doesn’t have the highest quality drinking water, purify it further using a Brita filter.
    • Stop smoking:   Tobacco doesn’t just stain the teeth yellow; it leaves them more vulnerable to decay by receding the gum tissue from your roots! To fully eliminate this cavity risk, it’s ideal to fully eliminate this bad habit.
    • Limit snacking or sipping:   Frequent snacking on sugary foods isn’t just problematic to your cavity risks; it’s problematic to your treatment compliance as well. To keep your smile journey moving as smoothly as possible, cut back on the frequent sweets.
    • Switching toothpaste brand:   If you’re not already using a brand of toothpaste that contains fluoride, then you should switch to one that does.
    • Brushing your tongue:   Billions of bacteria are living in your mouth at any time, and your tongue can be a convenient launchpad for that bacteria to fester. To alleviate bad bacterial buildup, take the extra initiative and brush your tongue.
    • Regular dental visits:   Don’t neglect getting your regular deeper cleaning from your dentist, at least once every six months.

    If you’ve tried everything and still have cavities with your aligners, it’s time to seek help. Consult your dentist and orthodontist. They can provide treatment options.

    There might be a factor you haven’t discovered yet. Or, your cavity problem could indicate a deeper issue. Plastic aligners are great tools. They put pressure on your teeth to align them.

    But they can also lead to cavities. So, it’s crucial to maintain good oral hygiene. Remember, your dental health is as important as having straight teeth.

    In any case, it’s always good to ask for help and have access to antibacterial remedies you wouldn’t be able to access otherwise.