female dentist with dental tools mirror and probe treating patient teeth at dental clinic office

Risks of Invisalign: A Gamble with Your Smile? Examining the Potential Downsides

female dentist with dental tools mirror and probe treating patient teeth at dental clinic office

Written by:

Dr. Justin Soon

Published on:

Risks of Invisalign: A Gamble with Your Smile? Examining the Potential Downsides

Are you considering getting Invisalign to straighten your teeth? While it is a highly effective and convenient method of alignment, there are some risks associated with the treatment that you should be aware of before making any decisions.

In this blog post, we’ll look at the potential downsides of Invisalign so you can make an informed decision about whether or not it’s right for you. Keep reading to learn more!​

Summary of The Content

  • Risks of Invisalign treatment include tooth decay, gum disease, and tooth sensitivity, which can be caused by improper use or ill-fitting trays.

  • Complications may arise from not following the dentist’s instructions, poor oral hygiene, not disclosing dental issues, and not wearing retainers.

  • To minimise potential Invisalign side effects, follow the plan, keep good oral hygiene, disclose dental problems, wear retainers, and communicate concerns with the dentist.

  • Signs of compromised Invisalign treatment include damaged aligners, poor fit, discomfort and difficulty removing aligners.

  • Proper care involves brushing, flossing, rinsing, cleaning using the Invisalign cleaning system, and storing trays properly.

  • Good oral hygiene includes regular brushing, flossing, use of mouthwash, avoiding sugary and acidic foods, cleaning trays, staying hydrated, and dental check-ups.

  • Invisalign may not be suitable for patients with severe misalignment, jaw problems, gum disease, allergies to plastic, pregnant women, and uncommitted patients.

  • Alternatives to Invisalign include traditional braces, lingual braces, ceramic braces, self-ligating braces, and other clear aligners.

Possible Risks of Invisalign

Getting Invisalign to address crooked teeth, bite problems, and other misalignment issues can be a good option for dental patients. This is especially true for those seeking a more convenient and discreet orthodontic treatment than traditional braces. However, there are some Invisalign risks that you should consider before making your decision, including the following:

  • Tooth Decay
    Tooth decay is a common risk associated with any orthodontic treatment. When wearing transparent aligners, food particles can get trapped between the teeth and the aligners, leading to plaque buildup and an increased risk of tooth decay.

  • Gum Disease
    Gum disease or periodontal disease is another possible risk of Invisalign treatment. Failure to brush and floss properly can lead to plaque and food debris accumulation along the gum line. This can lead to inflammation and potential gum disease.

  • Tooth Sensitivity
    Tooth sensitivity is one of the common Invisalign side effects. This is mainly because the aligners are designed to move the teeth gradually, which can cause temporary discomfort and sensitivity.

Common Causes of Invisalign Complications

Invisalign is an effective method of straightening teeth, but it comes with some complications, too. The following are some common causes of Invisalign-related complications that you should be aware of:

  • Not Following the Treatment Plan
    One of the most common causes of Invisalign complications is not following the treatment plan as prescribed by your dentist. This includes not wearing the aligners for the recommended amount of time each day, not changing the plastic aligners as instructed, and not attending regular check-ups with your dentist.

  • Poor Oral Hygiene
    Maintaining good oral hygiene is crucial during Invisalign treatment to prevent potential complications such as tooth decay and gum disease. When wearing the removable aligners, food particles can get trapped between the teeth and the aligner trays. This can lead to plaque buildup and an increased risk of tooth decay and gum disease.

  • Not Disclosing Pre-existing Medical Issues
    If you have pre-existing medical issues, disclosing this information to your dentist before starting Invisalign treatment is essential. Not disclosing this information can lead to potential Invisalign complications during treatment.

  • Not Wearing Retainers
    After completing Invisalign treatment, it is important to wear retainers as prescribed to prevent your teeth from shifting back to their original position. Failure to wear retainers can lead to potential complications and undo the progress achieved during the entire treatment.

How to Minimise Risks and Complications when On Invisalign

If you are considering Invisalign as your orthodontic treatment, it’s important to understand that, like any medical procedure, there are potential risks and complications that may arise.

Here are some useful tips to help you minimise risks and complications:

  • Follow the Treatment Plan

    Complying with the custom treatment plan includes:

    • Wearing the aligners for the recommended amount of time each day
    • Changing the sets of aligners as scheduled
    • Attending all scheduled appointments with your dentist

  • Maintain Good Oral Hygiene
    Maintaining good oral hygiene helps prevent potential Invisalign complications such as tooth decay and gum disease. This includes brushing and flossing regularly, proper cleaning of aligners, and avoiding sugary and acidic foods and drinks.

  • Disclose Any Pre-existing Medical Issues
    Before you begin Invisalign treatment, you must inform your dentist of any underlying medical conditions you may have. Doing so allows your dentist to customise a treatment plan that considers your medical conditions and helps prevent Invisalign side effects.

  • Wear Retainers as Instructed
    Following the Invisalign treatment, you must wear the retainers as instructed by your dentist. This will help prevent your teeth from shifting back to their original position. Failure to wear retainers will not only compromise your dental health but also undo the progress made during treatment.

  • Communicate Any Concerns to Your Dentist
    If you experience discomfort or concerns during Invisalign treatment, communicating this to your dentist is a must. They will adjust your treatment plan if necessary to avoid other dental issues.

How to Tell if Your Invisalign Has Been Compromised?

It’s essential to monitor the condition of your Invisalign aligners throughout your treatment to ensure they are functioning effectively. There are several signs that your aligners may have been compromised, and it’s important to be aware of these signs to avoid any potential setbacks or complications during your treatment.

  • Cracks or Damage to the Aligners
    If you notice any cracks or damage on your aligners, it is important to contact your dentist immediately. Cracks or aligner damage can compromise the treatment progress and lead to potential complications.

  • Poor Fit
    If your Invisalign aligners do not fit properly, this could be a sign that they have been compromised. Poor fit may require adjustments and refitting of the aligners, which can cause delays in treatment.

  • Discomfort or Pain
    Discomfort or pain can be caused by various factors, such as misaligned teeth or aligner damage, and should be addressed by your dentist.

  • Difficulty Removing the Aligners
    Difficulty removing the aligners can be caused by various factors, such as misaligned teeth or damage to the aligners. This should be addressed as soon as possible.

Is It Possible for Invisalign to Damage Your Teeth?

Invisalign is generally considered a safe and effective treatment for straightening teeth. While rare, it is possible that Invisalign can cause damage to teeth. This can be caused by improper use of aligners, ill-fitting aligner trays, and failure to maintain good oral hygiene. It is essential to follow your dentist’s instructions and have regular check-ups during your treatment to address any potential issues.

How to Properly Care for Invisalign Trays

Caring for your Invisalign trays will help keep your orthodontic treatment on track. Here are ways how to properly care for Invisalign trays:

  • Brush and floss before putting the trays back in:
    Clean your teeth before putting the aligner trays back in. Food particles and plaque can get trapped between the trays and your teeth, leading to bad breath and potential tooth decay.

  • Rinse your trays after removing them:
    Rinse them with lukewarm water every time you take them off to remove saliva or debris.

  • Clean your trays daily: Invisalign trays should be cleaned daily to prevent bacteria growth and odour. Gently brush the trays with a soft-bristled toothbrush and a clear, unscented antibacterial liquid soap. Do not use toothpaste, as it can scratch the trays.

  • Use the Invisalign cleaning system:
    Invisalign provides a cleaning system that includes special cleaning crystals that dissolve in water to create a cleaning solution. Soak your trays in this solution for 15 minutes once a week to deep clean and remove any stains.

  • Avoid hot water: Never use hot water to clean your trays, as it can warp or deform them, rendering them ineffective.

  • Store your trays properly:
    When you’re not wearing them, store them in their case to prevent them from getting lost or damaged.

Proper Practices for Good Oral Hygiene when On Invisalign

Good dental hygiene is a key factor in the success of the Invisalign treatment. Here are proper practices for oral hygiene when on Invisalign:

  • Brush your teeth regularly:
    Brush your teeth at least twice a day. Use fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush. Brush your teeth for two minutes and use circular, gentle motions to thoroughly clean your teeth and gums.

  • Floss daily:
    Flossing is essential to good oral hygiene, especially when wearing Invisalign trays. Floss at least once daily. You may use a floss threader to get between your teeth.

  • Rinse with mouthwash:
    Mouthwash can help kill bacteria and freshen your breath. Rinse with mouthwash after brushing and flossing.

  • Avoid sugary and acidic foods:
    Sugary and acidic foods can cause increase your risk of tooth decay. Avoid these foods and drinks or limit them as much as possible.

  • Clean your trays regularly:
    Properly care for your Invisalign trays to prevent bacteria buildup and bad breath.

  • Stay hydrated:
    Drinking water helps flush away bacteria and food particles, keeping your mouth clean and fresh.

  • Attend regular dental check-ups:
    Don’t miss follow-up visits and regular check-ups and cleanings. Doing so will keep your teeth and gums healthy during Invisalign treatment.

When Is Invisalign Treatment Contraindicated?

While Invisalign is one of the most sought-after orthodontic treatment options, it may not suit everyone. Here are some situations where Invisalign treatment may be contraindicated:

  • Severe misalignment or complex bite issues:
    Invisalign is more suitable for mild to moderate misalignment or bite problems. Traditional braces are recommended if you have severe misalignment or complex bite problems.

  • Jaw problems:
    Invisalign may not be an ideal option for individuals with jaw problems. Issues like underbite or overbite may require surgical correction or traditional braces.

  • Gum disease:
    Invisalign treatment may be contraindicated if you have gum disease. Your dentist must address your gum disease before you can begin Invisalign treatment.

  • Pregnancy:
    Pregnant women should avoid Invisalign treatment due to the potential risks associated with x-rays and the increased risk of gum disease.

  • Allergic reaction to plastic:
    Invisalign trays are made from plastic, so individuals with a severe allergy to plastic will be unable to tolerate the trays.

  • Uncommitted patients:
    Invisalign treatment requires commitment and compliance. If you’re unable or unwilling to follow the treatment plan, Invisalign may not suit you.

Are There Alternative Treatments to Invisalign?

Depending on the severity of your oral health issues, there are several alternatives to Invisalign. There are various options available for achieving straighter teeth, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.

You should discuss these options with your dentist before deciding. Your dentist can help you decide which treatment will suit your needs. They can provide you with an estimate of how long it will take to achieve your desired results and provide suggestions or strategies for improving daily hygiene routines and keeping your orthodontic treatment as short as possible.

If you are considering alternatives to Invisalign, here are the most popular options:

Traditional Dental Braces

Traditional braces utilise brackets attached to each tooth. A wire is threaded through them, applying gentle pressure to move the teeth into the desired position. Today’s braces are more comfortable and less noticeable than ever before. However, they are more visible than Invisalign, which can be a drawback for some orthodontic patients.

Lingual Braces

Lingual braces are like traditional braces, but the brackets are placed on the back of the teeth. This makes them virtually invisible from the front. They are an ideal option for those who want to achieve a straighter smile but in a discreet way. However, they can be more challenging to clean and maintain than traditional braces.

Ceramic Braces

Ceramic braces use clear or tooth-coloured brackets and wires. They are less noticeable than conventional metal braces. However, they are more fragile than traditional metal braces and require more attention to oral hygiene to avoid staining.

Self-ligating Braces

Self-ligating braces use a slide mechanism to move teeth. This results in less friction and discomfort than traditional braces. They also require fewer adjustments, reducing the overall treatment time. They are ideal for dental patients who want to reduce the time and discomfort associated with traditional braces. However, they can be more expensive than conventional braces.

Clear Aligners

Clear aligners are similar to Invisalign but may be made from a different material or manufacturer. They are a good option for patients who want a more discreet option than traditional braces but don’t qualify for Invisalign. However, they may not be suitable for severe misalignment or complex bite issues.

Final Thoughts

Achieving the dazzling, straight smile you’ve always wanted is possible with Invisalign. Yet similar to any other dental procedure, it comes with risks and issues that must be taken into consideration. However, by being well-informed ahead of time and following your dentist’s instructions carefully, you can achieve the dream of a beautiful smile in no time!

Consult with your dentist before attempting any tooth alignment procedure. They can provide you with proper techniques for addressing misalignment and how to keep your healthy teeth and gums for life.

As a reminder, if you are considering undergoing Invisalign treatment, don’t hesitate to book an appointment with Karrinyup Dental Centre today!

Dr. Justin Soon


Dr. Justin Soon

Dr. Justin completed his Bachelor of Dental Surgery at the University of Western Australia. Dr Justin completed his surgical implant training under the mentorship of Dr. Glen Liddelow, Dr. Graham Carmichael, and Dr. Brent Allan at the Branemark Centre.

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