Invisalign, which offers a series of removable trays to align the teeth, has become a widely popular alternative to traditional braces. Invisalign trays are nearly impossible to detect, making them especially popular among adults who don’t want the adolescent look of braces. Rather than being cemented to your teeth like traditional braces, they can be removed entirely when eating or brushing your teeth, so you no longer have to worry about abstaining from certain foods or not being able to floss properly. While Invisalign offers considerable benefits, there are negatives as well which should be considered. No one told me about these reasons to not get Invisalign. I offer them now so that other people can make more informed decisions:
- Although it is easier to brush and floss, any bacteria not removed from your teeth and gums will spend 20 hours a day locked inside the Invisalign tray. Your visits to the dentist may turn up more gum pocketing and plaque build-up than you are used to as a result. There can sometimes be a bad taste and odor from wearing the tray, particularly first thing in the morning.
- Every time you eat, you need to thoroughly clean your teeth and your Invisalign tray before putting it back in your mouth. For frequent snackers (like me), this can be quite a hassle, and may require you to adjust your eating schedule. On the other hand, this can be an added incentive for those trying to break bad eating habits or lose weight.
- You must be very disciplined and organized; leaving your tray out for more than 4 hours per day, even occasionally, will reduce the effectiveness of the treatment. If you often find yourself running to work or school in a hurry after breakfast, and have a tendency to leave things behind, you may want to think twice about Invisalign. Going without it out for an 8-hour workday is not an option. Also, even disciplined patients have a tendency to slack off over time. This will inhibit the effectiveness of Invisalign. Consider the length of your treatment when deciding which method to choose. I consider myself very disciplined but toward the end I got very sloppy. As a result, my last two trays didn’t fit exactly right.
- The treatment process for many people includes “shaving” your teeth down to create more space in your mouth for the teeth to move. This shaving is uncomfortable, but there is no lasting pain from it. If you have fillings in the areas needing to be shaved, the process is significantly more cumbersome and uncomfortable.
- At the end of your treatment your teeth may not be perfectly straight. The orthodontist can do nothing about it except take all new impressions and get a new set of trays, which can add months onto your treatment plan. With traditional braces, the orthodontist can make a quick adjustment to fix any misalignments.
- Although not scientifically studied, some people have complained about allergic reactions to the plastic used in the Invisalign trays. Allergy symptoms complained of include sore throat, cough, nausea, or constant throat clearing which goes away when the tray is removed. I did not experience any problems like this personally.
- Once the treatment phase is over, and you enter into the retainer period, you have to wear the Invisalign tray every night, indefinitely. If you’re already experiencing problems with allergies, gum disease, or tooth decay, this can be a serious issue. You may be able to work with your orthodontist to use a traditional style retainer, instead of the Invisalign tray. I have been wearing my retainer tray now for 2 years and I am completely sick of dealing with it.
Whether to go with traditional braces or Invisalign, will be dependant on your lifestyle, habits, and personality. While there are pros and cons to every option, don’t let that deter you from going forward with orthodontics. If crooked teeth are annoying you or preventing you from smiling and feeling great about yourself, then the benefits of orthodontics will far outweigh the downsides.
Even though the Invisalign braces were a big hassle, I am so happy with the way my teeth look. I smile a whole lot more than I used to and I never cover my teeth anymore.
Have you had positive or negative experiences with Invisalign? I’d love to hear about it!