When a someone is looking to straighten their teeth or the teeth of their child, there are two options to consider: braces and clear aligner therapy such as Invisalign. While some extreme cases require the use of braces, other cases can be treated with either braces or Invisalign. In a situation where both options are available, increasingly, people are gravitating towards Invisalign in order to straighten their teeth.
For many the choice is clear (if you pardon the pun), after all, Invisalign treatment is unobtrusive and far more convenient. But according to a recent study, the benefits go beyond convenience since there is a benefit that is not talked about that is clinical: Invisalign causes less tooth demineralization than braces do.
Before we talk about the findings of the study, let’s discuss what tooth demineralization is, exactly. Tooth demineralization is process by which the minerals in the tooth wear away due to the acid that the bacteria in dental plaque create from converting carbohydrates into acid. Just as acid can dissolve other substances, the acid the bacteria create dissolve the enamel of the tooth. When the bacteria do this, white spots start appearing on the tooth where the demineralization is happening. With proper brushing, flossing, and regular dental cleanings from your hygienist, the plaque can be kept in check and the demineralization will not happen to the extent where a cavity will form.
This is where braces come in, despite best efforts to clean the teeth braces prevent patients from doing the best job cleaning the teeth. Not only are the teeth hard to clean during brushing or flossing, but the natural flow of saliva is also interrupted and the remineralizing effects of it are gone with it. This is why teeth become discolored during orthodontic treatment and are at a higher risk of dental carries.
Clear aligner therapies such as Invisalign are not immune to these issues either, since natural saliva flow is restricted from accessing the teeth. Those using Invisalign instead of braces, however, have the added benefit of being able to remove the aligner fully in order to brush, floss, and get a dental cleaning. It’s this key difference that has led the study to find that demineralization is much deeper for those undergoing orthodontic treatment with braces compared to clear aligners such as Invisalign.
If you live near Natick and are looking for a dentist that does Invisalign, we urge you to book an Invisalign consultation at Natick Dental Health. The dental office is highly rated online and awarded “Top Dentist” by Boston Magazine.