Clear aligners including Invisalign have become a popular alternative to metal braces. A skilled orthodontist can achieve excellent results, sometimes in under 12 months – all with other people barely noticing the trays. However, there can be a few mild side effects with Invisalign (which are also applicable to other similar clear aligner systems). Below, we look at some of the adverse reactions some patients experience.
Common Side Effects with Clear Aligners
While the trays are smooth and follow the contours of your teeth there is a possibility the aligners could irritate lips, gums and tongue as patients get used to them. This is usually no more than a general awareness that something is different and usually resolves within days. Patients may also be aware of the ‘attachments’. Attachments are small, clear bumps which allow the aligner trays to better grip and move teeth. Attachments can cause localised discomfort against the inside of lips and cheeks and there is a chance of developing an ulcer. Again, this is more likely towards the beginning of treatment when the mouth is adjusting to the new aligners. Keep in mind that attachments are much smaller, flatter and smoother than traditional braces.
Since a thin layer of plastic covers the teeth, patients may experience a lisp during speech for the first few days. This doesn’t always happen but is one of the common mild side effects with clear aligners like Invisalign. The best way to alleviate this issue is to leave the aligners in as much as possible and practice speaking – so that your tongue gets used to working around the aligners. Speech patterns should begin to automatically adjust and compensate for the aligners. During an important phone call, meeting or presentation, it is OK to take the aligners out. Just make sure to place them straight back in to avoid any delays in treatment time.
It’s rare to have an allergic reaction to the trays. Ask your orthodontist – you may be entitled to a full refund or transfer to another treatment type should this happen.
4. Bad breath
The tooth trays don’t allow saliva to wash over your mouth. So, some patients experience a dry mouth and bad breath. Bad breath and dry mouth are easily avoided by drinking water throughout the day, as well as brushing teeth twice a day. Make sure the aligners are kept clean as well – a dirty aligner can be another cause of bad breath. You can read more about oral hygiene during aligner treatment here.
Some patients can find that they bite the inside of their cheek as treatment progresses. This can occur as patients become used to a new bite and haven’t yet made adjustments for the new teeth positions. Like the other side effects with aligners like Invisalign, this should improve with time.
The Upside of Aligners
The trays are very discreet – almost invisible. Clear aligners like Invisalign allow you to smile and laugh freely without feeling the of self-consciousness around the appearance of your teeth.
You can take the trays out to eat, drink and play sport – they should stay in for a minimum of 22 hours per day though.
Most patient’s treatment time is complete in as little as 12 months, with some more mild cases in as little as 6 months. Your orthodontist will be able to advise an approximate treatment time during your first consultation. Most patients will notice that aligners like Invisalign will start to work in just six weeks.
Clear aligners requires less follow up appointments when compared to the traditional metal braces, and shorter appointment times. Especially when patients utilise our dental app to help monitor treatment and progress remotely.
Is Invisalign the Right Choice for You?
If you want to correct misaligned or crooked teeth without the barriers of metal braces, Invisalign could be a suitable choice for you to develop a brighter, straighter smile and get a great confidence boost, too. It is, however not the only option. The best way to determine your options is a consultation with a specialist orthodontist who can analyse your unique needs and offer treatment options relevant to you.
Choose you choose Invisalign (one of many available clear aligner options) there are a few mild side effects, each of them is easy enough to correct and do improve as your treatment progresses.
Book a free Invisalign assessment* and find out more about Invisalign and other applicable treatment options at Fine Orthodontics.
* Terms and conditions for the free assessment: The appointment is intended to provide you with general information to help decide if Invisalign may be suitable for you. Includes clinical photos but not radiographs. No further free appointments booked if this one is missed.
Always read the label and follow the instructions for use.