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Does Invisalign Cause Gum Disease?
The Invisalign® system uses clear aligners made from plastic as an alternative to traditional metal braces. Metal braces are difficult to clean, making the patients wearing them more prone to gum disease. Because clear aligners are easily removed and replaced, they also provide for easy cleanings, thereby creating no additional risk of gingivitis with proper care.
How to care for teeth when using Invisalign®
While Invisalign® does not cause gingivitis, there are still good habits wearers must adopt while using aligners to ensure the teeth remain healthy.
Throughout the day
At least several times a day, a patient wearing aligners need to eat and drink. Prior to having a meal, the aligners should be removed. After the patient has finished eating, before replacing the aligners the teeth need to be brushed to prevent tooth decay.
If wearers are unable to brush teeth, they should at a minimum thoroughly rinse the mouth with water. Aligners have a snug fit; food or bacteria caught between the aligner and the teeth can hasten potential damage to the teeth and gums.
Patients should brush their teeth just as they would when not wearing aligners. A soft-bristled brush and toothpaste containing fluoride should be used. The teeth should also be flossed at least once daily.
How to care for aligner trays
Beverages could stain the aligners, so the wearer should only drink water with the aligners in. The wearer should also avoid gum chewing, as the friction caused by chewing could damage the aligners. Keeping the aligners clean is as important as keeping the teeth clean as the trays can hold plaque and bacteria, both of which are harmful to the teeth and gums.
Invisalign® has a recommended cleaning system, in which crystals are utilized to remove bacteria and plaque. It also keeps the aligners odor-free. Aligners need to soak for about 15 minutes in the contents of the crystal packet and warm water. There are also retainer cleaners that can be purchased at local stores to remove buildup on the trays.
Soap and water
If neither of these options is available, a toothbrush with soap can be used. Scrub the aligner trays with the brush and soap and then rinse them under cold water. Aligners should be cleaned at least once a day.
Anytime the aligners are removed, they should be rinsed before being placed back over the teeth. This helps maintain them until the daily cleaning.
Invisalign® clear aligners should not cause gum disease as long as the wearer adheres to the guidelines for the correct care of the aligners. If a wearer does not maintain the aligners with a daily cleaning as well as cleaning the teeth between meals, then there is a greater possibility of gum disease and cavities. Just as people who do not wear aligners or braces must maintain the health of their teeth, the wearers of aligners must as well, though their routine is a bit more rigorous.
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