What are the benefits and risks of Invisalign (clear retainers)?
As the technology improves and the demand to avoid traditional metal braces increases, Invisalign and similar products have become more popular. For adults, the thought of clear trays over wires seems much more appealing. So the advent of these clear retainers has really increased the number of people willing to embrace orthodontics. However, there are still some risks associated with using Invisalign and similar products that you should be aware of before beginning treatment.
It is recommended you wear the clear retainers at all times unless eating or brushing your teeth. But it is just as important to remove your retainers while drinking sugary drinks. This includes soda, juices, sports drinks and energy drinks. The liquid can accumulate inside the trays, and the trays can prevent your saliva from washing the drink away. This prolonged exposure to the sugar can lead to cavities and decalcifications (white spots) on the teeth. It is important that you brush your teeth or rinse with water after drinking anything with sugar to avoid these risks.
Another risk has to do with your level of compliance in wearing the trays. Because they are removable, the temptation exists to not wear them as often and there is also the risk of losing the trays. If they are not worn enough, it could slow or alter the movement of the teeth. This in turn could change the treatment plan, add time needed to complete treatment, or even make things more expensive. So if you are not fully committed to the clear aligners, I would advise sticking with the traditional braces.
The advantages of Invisalign and other clear retainers are obvious. It is easier to eat, easier to clean your teeth, and they are less noticeable. But you need to be aware of the potential risks and how they make affect you with any existing habits you have. Be sure to discuss these options with you dentist or hygienist before moving forward.