Did you know that straight teeth are healthier teeth? Invisalign clear aligner therapy, a popular orthodontic alternative to traditional braces, uses aligners to move teeth into their proper position gradually and gently without the use of unsightly brackets and wires as are necessary with conventional dental braces. But many people think that the reason for doing Invisalign is simply related to vanity – wanting a more attractive smile without having the metal “grill” from traditional braces. While that is certainly one of the benefits of straightening teeth with Invisalign, there are some big health-related benefits as well.

When teeth are misaligned (crowded, gapped, or rotated,) it is harder to remove the plaque and bacteria that form around them. The presence of this plaque and bacteria can lead to inflamed gums, receding gums, pockets developing between the teeth and gums that harbor more bacteria and further gum disease, bone loss and ultimately tooth loss. Early signs of gum disease include red gums, bleeding when you brush and floss, and bad breath. It is important to note, however, that there may be no signs of gum disease until the more advanced stages. Having gum disease increases a person’s risk of heart disease as the bacteria underneath the gums triggers an inflammatory response that damages the cells that line the coronary arteries, resulting in plaque formation and hardening of the arteries. When teeth are properly aligned, it is easier to brush and floss the teeth and gums effectively, resulting in better removal of the plaque and bacteria that contribute to gum disease, tooth decay, and ultimately heart disease.

Besides simply straightening misaligned teeth, Invisalign therapy can correct many abnormal bite relationships, such as open bites, overbites, underbites, or crossbites. In all of these abnormal bite relationships, the upper and lower teeth fail to come together properly and collide rather than glide against each other. This can put extra stress and pressure on the teeth and jawbone, resulting in gum disease, receding gums, indentations at the gum line (abfractions), cold sensitivity, worn, chipped or fractured teeth, and/ or tooth loss. Aligning the teeth and correcting the bite puts the teeth in their most stable position, reducing their risk of wear and trauma.

Invisalign clear aligner therapy is designed to be comfortable and convenient. A series of custom aligners are created, and each aligner is worn for about two weeks, approximately 22 hours a day, before advancing to the next aligner. Because the aligners are removable, you can brush and floss your teeth normally and can remove your aligners to eat and drink. Close monitoring by your dentist is critical to ensure the teeth are moving as planned. Typically, your dentist will want to check your progress every 6 weeks or so.

Whatever your age, misalignment, or bite problem is, Invisalign clear aligner therapy can boost your self-confidence by giving you the smile of your dreams all while knowing you are also improving your oral and physical health! If you are interested in seeing if Invisalign clear aligner therapy is right for you, please come visit Dr. Kristina Chandler at Cheek Dental for a consultation.

This article was written by Dr. Kristina Chandler of Cheek Dental and originally appeared in our June/July issue of EAST COBBER, on page 11. Click here to view the digital edition.