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June 2, 2022

Can You Still Get Cavities During Invisalign Treatment?

Invisalign tray being placed on teeth.

If you’re unhappy with your smile because of crooked and misaligned teeth, you might be curious about Invisalign. Maybe you’ve heard a lot about these awesome aligners, and their discreetness and convenience are quite appealing to you—but you still have a few questions. One thing that many patients wonder is if they can still get cavities while undergoing treatment. Keep reading to learn more about how you can still unfortunately develop cavities during your Invisalign treatment if you aren’t careful, along with some tips for preventing them.

Is It Possible to Get Cavities During Invisalign Treatment?

Invisalign can do many things for your smile, but sadly, preventing cavities isn’t one of them! Even though on the surface it might seem like your aligners can offer you some protection against oral bacteria, they don’t. In fact, since you must take out your aligners whenever it’s time to eat, your teeth are still exposed to the same amount of food particles. Additionally, if you aren’t diligent about oral hygiene, this debris can actually become stuck underneath your aligners and trapped for hours, giving bacteria plenty of time to develop on the surfaces of your teeth. So, it’s absolutely possible—and sometimes even easier—for cavities to develop during Invisalign treatment.

How Can I Prevent Cavities During My Invisalign Treatment?

But luckily, cavities are largely preventable whether you’re undergoing Invisalign treatment or not—but the responsibility falls solely on you! That said, consider the following to ensure that your Invisalign treatment isn’t derailed by troublesome cavities:

  • Brush your teeth twice every day for 2 minutes using a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Use circular scrubbing motions and hold the brush at a 45-degree-angle to your gums.
  • Floss daily; flossing is just as important as brushing since your toothbrush can’t cover those hard-to-reach spaces between your teeth.
  • Remove your aligners every time you eat or drink; the only exception to this rule is water.
  • Rinse your aligners after removing them and before replacing them.
  • Limit your consumption of sugary and acidic foods and drinks.
  • Adhere to the mandatory 22-hour wear time; skipping days or even hours can prolong your overall treatment timeline and increase the likelihood of cavities developing.
  • Visit your dentist for checkups and cleanings.

If you’re beginning to experience tooth pain when biting down or gum inflammation, don’t hesitate to see your dentist about it; the sooner you seek treatment, the less likely the cavity will grow and turn into a bigger problem.

Invisalign is incredible and has many benefits, but it’s ultimately meant to straighten your smile rather than shield it from cavities. That said, following the Invisalign guidelines and practicing good oral hygiene is more than enough to ensure that cavities don’t form during your treatment and you’re able to easily achieve a healthier smile.

About the Author

An Ann Arbor native himself, Dr. James Olsen is proud to serve patients and families in his hometown! Dr. Olsen received his dental doctorate from the University of Michigan School of Dentistry and is a member of several professional organizations including the American Dental Association, the Michigan Dental Association, and the American Academy of Clear Aligners. His practice is pleased to offer many available services including Invisalign! If you have any questions about Invisalign or would like to schedule a visit, feel free to contact Dr. Olsen online or by phone: (734) 996-0200.

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