This month, we are focusing on ways to improve the health and appearance of your smile. We have elaborated on the benefits of brushing up on your oral hygiene regimen and explained the advantages of teeth whitening.
Most people know their teeth and gums will be healthier with better brushing and flossing at home between your dental visits. As discussed in the last blog, many people do not know of the ways teeth whitening lowers one’s risk for cavities and gum disease.
Today, we are concentrating on the health perks of straight teeth!
Misaligned Teeth Have a Higher Risk for Cavities and Gum Disease
The following properties of crooked, crowded, overlapped or spaced teeth produce a higher risk for cavities and gum disease.
- More Difficult to Clean – Properly aligned teeth are easier to take care of. Toothbrush bristles are unable to reach into areas where teeth are crowded or overlapped. Straight teeth enable your toothbrush bristles to touch, and therefore clean, more of the tooth surface than crooked teeth.
Flossing is difficult on tightly crowded teeth. Many of our Invisalign patients tell us that they can tell their teeth are moving because it becomes much easier to floss!
Less effective oral hygiene = higher risk for cavities and gum disease!
- More Plaque Retention – Overlapped teeth create all kinds of small nooks and crannies for plaque to accumulate and hide. This produces a vicious cycle because plaque attracts more plaque. Because of the difficulty in cleaning crooked teeth, they retain much more bacteria.
More plaque and bacteria = higher risk for cavities and gum disease!
- More Food Impaction – Food becomes trapped between teeth both when they are crooked and when they have gaps. There is a very specific way teeth are supposed to be aligned in order to prevent food from getting stuck between teeth.
Crooked or overlapped teeth enable food debris to build up in the same nooks and crannies that collect plaque.
Teeth with spaces or gaps do not provide the barrier needed to keep food from accumulating between the teeth.
More food trapped between teeth = higher risk for cavities and gum disease!
- Different, More Dangerous Bacteria – A research study was conducted in which plaque was collected from a large sample of straight teeth and a large sample of crooked teeth. The study analyzed each sample to determine the types of bacteria. The study concluded that crooked teeth contain a different, more dangerous type of bacteria than straight teeth. The bacteria on crooked teeth were more likely to be “periodontopathogenic”, which means more likely to cause periodontal disease.
Stronger bacteria = higher risk for cavities and gum disease!
Invisalign® Makes Teeth Healthier
Invisalign® is a method of straightening misaligned teeth with clear plastic aligners. It is effective in correcting problems like crowded, crooked and overlapped teeth. It also works to close spaces or gaps.
The previous section outlined the ways in which misaligned teeth have a higher risk for cavities and gum disease. Invisalign® works to create a healthier oral environment by reversing each of those factors.
Teeth aligned correctly with the help of Invisalign® have a lower risk for cavities and gum disease for the following reasons.
- Easier to Clean
- Less Plaque Retention
- Less Food Impaction
- Less Harmful Bacteria
Invisalign® Has a Healthy Advantage over Traditional Braces
All of the above listed benefits are characteristics of straight teeth. These are enjoyed after aligning the teeth with orthodontic treatment.
Invisalign® has a unique advantage during orthodontic treatment.
Traditional braces (both metal and ceramic) include brackets glued to each tooth and connected with a wire. This hardware produces even more nooks and crannies for the accumulation of plaque and food debris. Most patients experience an increased risk of cavities and gum disease during orthodontic treatment with traditional braces. They are more difficult to clean and cause an increase in plaque retention and food impaction.
Invisalign® aligners are removable. During treatment with Invisalign®, patients remove them to clean the teeth and gums. The teeth are simply as easy to clean as they were without aligners. And over time, cleaning becomes easier as the teeth gradually straighten.
Invisalign® does not use brackets and wires. There is no risk for an increase in plaque retention or food impaction. Again, that risk decreases over time as the teeth gradually straighten.
Invisalign® Has Another Unique Advantages over Braces
The aligners used by Invisalign® to straighten teeth are also useful as carriers for different dental materials to apply to the teeth.
The most common adjunctive function of an Invisalign® aligner is teeth whitening. The aligners have an intimate fit against the teeth, making them perfect for use with whitening gel. You can whiten as you straighten. As our previous blog discussed, the whitening gel kills bacteria and creates a healthier environment for your teeth.
Another common use for the carrying function of Invisalign® aligners is the application of fluoride or other anti-cavity products. Patients who have experienced a high cavity risk in the past can benefit from these products while they straighten their teeth. Dr. Ann and Dr. Lauren can assess your cavity risk and prescribe the appropriate product for use in your Invisalign® aligners.
Are You Ready to Get Started on a Straighter, Healthier Smile?
Call our office today at 281-667-4010 to schedule an Invisalign® consultation with Dr. Ann and Dr. Lauren. Make 2018 the year of a beautiful and healthy smile!