QUESTION:

I’m 40 and considering Invisalign braces. 15 months on all day. Then a lifetime of nighttime. Is this manageable, or will they block saliva’s access to the teeth?

ANSWER:

Invisalign, like braces, are appliances to move teeth, usually to improve a smile or straighten crooked teeth. Teeth are pushed into position by light forces, which cause a certain amount of stress on them, the gums, and even the jawbone. 

The physical presence of aligners, brackets, braces, night guards, and final retainers can also stress oral health, so it’s important to know the best way to defend your mouth from these potential hazards. I’ve personally witnessed patients who achieved the smile of their dreams but developed new cavities and required fillings, root canals, and even crowns at the end of their treatment. 

This is why my advice is to ensure your oral health is in tip-top condition before any treatment begins. Removable appliances and aligners have the advantage of being easier to clean than fixed appliances, but all retainers interfere with the flow of liquids in the mouth. This makes it harder for healing saliva to contact tooth surfaces, and easier for retainers and brackets to become traps that increase your risk for cavities, plaque, demineralization scars, and gum disease.

My Complete Mouth Care System Is Your Ally:

  • Xylitol can help limit the formation of plaque (which is particularly important if you have brackets or wires from fixed appliances or retainers). 
  • CloSYS pre-brushing rinse helps control erosive damage and gum disease. 
  • Brushing with a clean toothbrush helps massage your gums and keep them healthy.
  • Crest Cavity Protection paste brings remineralizing help to tooth enamel.
  • A vigorous swish with Listerine can loosen particles (often more effectively than floss!) **Never use Listerine alone - my recommendation is to use Listerine after brushing with Crest Cavity Protection paste and before using ACT zero alcohol final rinse.**
  • A final rinse with ACT helps support tooth enamel to keep it strong and healthy. 

Zellie’s Mints and Retainers:

If possible, use the Complete Mouth Care System 10 minutes before replacing your retainer/ aligner in your mouth. During this time enjoy one or two Zellie’s xylitol mints. Allow saliva to flow into your mouth, and when the mint has fully dissolved and your mouth feels moist, replace your retainer. Saliva will now be trapped inside the retainer and in contact with your teeth. 

Enjoy Zellie’s after meals and drink and use my Complete Mouth Care System twice daily to help you avoid oral health problems during treatment and to support the health of your new, shinier-than-ever, smile for life! 

How to care for your retainer (unless your orthodontist has given you other instructions):  Care for your retainer as much as you care for your teeth! 

  • Use a toothbrush set solely for cleaning your retainer. (This can be a cheap store brush -but ensure you do not use this brush in your own mouth).
  • Brush the retainer using Crest Cavity Protection toothpaste. 
  • You can add a drop of Listerine to this paste slurry and brush over the retainer.
  • Wash the retainer or aligner with water - shake it dry.

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