When dentists recommend clear aligners to you, they tell you how you stand to benefit from them – mainly teeth straightening but they may not tell you much about the risks and side-effects. We all respond differently to these clear aligners and it’s impossible to know who is a good candidate for it (minimal side-effects) and who is a poor candidate for it (many side-effects). So I have been on the Invisalign Support Group on Facebook for a couple of months and I have been observing the complaints to try to find out more.
I do so because for so many people, no one has warned them about these risks and side-effects. Few people are able to make the connection between the new symptoms they are experiencing and their teeth-straightening programme. So this is just a list to help people think carefully before agreeing to such a treatment (it should never be entered into on impulse or in a rushed or rash manner) and for those already on the treatment and are suffering, to help them see the link and understand why, such that they can take steps to reverse their bodies to health.
First, if you want any real examples, you can join the Invisalign Support Group on Facebook and do a keyword search of these terms, as I will only doing a general summary here. And lastly, if you currently have already started your programme, to know if these health issues are a direct cause of the clear aligners, ask yourself, how likely were you to experience these conditions prior to you starting your treatment? If rarely, more likely than not, they are a direct effect of the clear aligners.
1. Allergic Reactions to Plastic
Some health conscious people are careful about plastic consumption and consuming impurities into their systems, little did they realised that by wearing these clear aligners, they are almost 24/7 consuming micro amounts of plastics into their system. Scientific studies have shown that all plastic aligners leach micro plastics into the saliva, which is swallowed by the wearer. Typically, the leach is greatest when it is new and reduces over length of time of wear. For most people, this is not an issue. But for others plastic allergy may show up in these ways: nausea, sore tongue, facial rash, stomach bloating, and fatigue. Read more here: Urgent Health Issues Regarding Invisalign Braces and here: Invisalign Invisible Braces Linked to Reports of Serious Allergic Reactions.
2. Gum Recession and Root Resorption
Your gum line has receded and more of your teeth is being exposed. You find more food trapped between the gaps of your teeth and that you have to floss more often than before. Some of your teeth can also become loose as the forces exerted on the teeth by the aligners are huge. Many in the Invisalign Support Group complain about it and many of their dentists advise them to do gum grafting after their treatment. A very common fear among Invisalign users is that their teeth may fall out because they have become so loose. Furthermore, clear aligners can lead to root resorption, which is the shortening of teeth roots caused by a permanent loss of tooth structure from the root apex. This happens because the strong forces exerted on the teeth can cause nerves to be damaged and die. Some people even have to go for root canals in the midst of their treatment.
3. New and Increased Number of Cavities
The aligners, which you have to wear for about 22 hours a day, block your saliva (with Calcium and Phosphate ions) from your teeth. Saliva has caries protective effects and is necessary for building the enamel, so this dryness of your teeth is unnatural and can cause your enamel to weaken and make your teeth more susceptible to cavities. Many many on the Invisalign Support Group tell us that they never had cavities before but since clear aligner treatment, they started to develop many cavities, and this is in spite increased frequency of brushing of teeth.
4. Headaches, Neckaches, Backaches, and Worsening of Scoliosis
Frequent headaches, especially after changing of a tray, also neck and back pain, and worsening of misalignment of your spine are all possible. When you shift teeth, you are also shifting your bite (how the two sets of jaws fit), so you will also shift the bones of your neck, which will lead downstream to other twists and turns of your spine and the attaching musculature, all the way to the pelvis and below. Pushing your jaws into your face, which narrows the airways, also leads to the rest of your body compensating for it, such as the development of a forward head posture, then leading to your belly sticking out more. In short, you are not only shifting teeth but your whole body’s alignment. Your posture will change, and more often than not, in a negative direction.
5. Change in Face Shape and Aged Appearance
Your face shape can change. This happens because you use your facial and jaw muscles differently with the aligners and the proportion of muscles to fats in the face will change. One example is “smoker lines” as it takes force to close your lips with the aligners in and this muscular strain can lead to fine lines developing around the mouth. The tendency to clench increases for some, leading to enlarged masseter muscles. Also, you will see changes in the teeth position and bite that will lead to changes in the bone structure of the cranium, as the skull is not just one big bone but made up of 28 bones and connected by joints called sutures. Some people will like their new faces, but others will not. The change can be drastic, like with people claiming their phones can no longer recognise their faces and unlock. And for some people, the face becomes more aged, almost as if you aged 10 years as their cheek bones become sunken and the face elongates from the treatment.
6. Development of Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD)
This is one of the most devastating outcome where you develop clicking and popping of one or more jaw joints, and widespread pain in the head and body, leading to loss of overall function and quality of life. The ability to eat and enjoy food, to speak and sing; all rely heavily upon well-functioning jaw joints. Clear aligners can mess with your jaw joint alignment. You can read more about it here: How do I know I have TMD? Some develop an open bite at the molars, meaning their teeth close at the front but not at the back; and still others develop a weird bite where some of their teeth clashes into each other and others do not touch, forcing the dentist to shave off some of those teeth that are clashing into each other so that the person does not chip away at their teeth all the time.
I’m sorry to scare you about these risks and side-effects. But I hope that it can help someone think through carefully and do a more thorough research before choosing any type of orthodontic treatment, particularly if the only reason you are thinking of such a treatment is to look more beautiful, because you run a risk of looking even worse than before, and worse still you may develop other health issues and physical problems that you never had before. If there are parts of you that you find unacceptable, maybe it is good to start learning to appreciate and accept them. Lastly, never do this to look acceptable to someone else. The only person you need to please is yourself.