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Is it Possible to Get Cavities During Invisalign Treatment?

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young man holding Invisalign tray

It’s easy to see why millions of people have chosen to straighten their teeth with Invisalign instead of metal braces. It’s discreet, comfortable, and the trays cover your teeth and protect you from cavities, right? While those first two points are true, the last one is not! It is still possible to get cavities during Invisalign, but fortunately, preventing this from happening (and getting help if it does) is relatively easy.  

How Cavities Can Develop During Invisalign

On the surface, Invisalign seems like it should provide a protective shield for your teeth against harmful oral bacteria, but there is just one problem with this: people take their trays off to eat. As a result, food particles can latch onto the teeth, and when a tray is put back on, it actually traps the food against the enamel. This creates the ideal environment for harmful oral bacteria to grow, multiply, and cause dental decay, ultimately resulting in a cavity. Without the proper care, Invisalign can potentially make someone more susceptible to cavities.

But the Good News Is…

Keeping your teeth healthy during your treatment doesn’t require some intricate oral hygiene routine! All an Invisalign patient needs to do is:

  • Continue to brush twice a day and floss in the evening.
  • Before putting a tray on after a meal, either brush or rinse the mouth thoroughly with water.
  • Always rinse out the tray before placing it in the mouth.
  • A few times a week, let the trays soak in a cleaning solution.
  • Don’t drink anything but water while wearing the trays.

Together, these practices prevent oral bacteria, plaque, and food particles from becoming trapped between the trays and the teeth, dramatically lowering the risk of cavities. By being proactive and stopping decay before it starts, a patient can ensure their Invisalign treatment stays on schedule.

What to Do If You Have a Cavity

Of course, no one is perfect, and people develop cavities all the time. Should you notice minor dental pain, swelling in the gums near a tooth, or a patch of decay on the enamel, these are all clear signs that something is wrong, and you should contact your dentist right away. Acting fast allows them to treat a potential cavity early using a conservative treatment like a filling, which should not affect your Invisalign timeframe. Waiting, however, will not only allow the cavity to become worse, but your dentist may need to place a crown that could affect how your trays fit, lengthening the treatment.

In short, practicing consistent oral hygiene is always important, but this is especially true if you’re using Invisalign. By diligently cleaning your teeth, trays, and contacting your dentist at the first sign of trouble, you should enjoy a smooth and easy path toward a straight smile.

About the Author

Dr. Jeffrey Shirck is a board-certified orthodontist who has garnered multiple awards since graduating from The Ohio State University. He has been named one of Columbus’ Top Orthodontists every year since 2011! An Elite Invisalign Provider since 2017, he frequently uses custom-made Invisalign treatments to help teens and adults. If you’d like to learn more about Invisalign and how it could straighten you or your child’s smile, we invite you to schedule a FREE in-person consultation at Shirck Orthodontics.