Can I have Invisalign if I have cavities?

A common question we get asked is whether you can have Invisalign treatment if you have cavities in your teeth. Well, theoretically the answer is yes, just like you could paint this wall with the finest Farrow & Ball, but what’s the point?

can I have invisalign if I have cavities

What happens if you have a cavity in your tooth

Forget about Invisalign for a minute, let’s just ask “what if you have cavities?” You have a cavity in your tooth and this is not normal! If you had a hole in your lip would you put lipstick on?

Cavities in teeth are usually caused by decay, and decay isn’t good.

Cavities can cause sensitivity, pain, throbbing, swelling, and tooth loss if they’re not treated. The longer they’re left, the more complex and costly they’ll be to repair later on.

Cavities can happen if you’re not careful with Invisalign

But then again, cavities are possible with or without Invisalign. It doesn’t matter if you’re wearing aligners or not if you don’t take meticulous care of your oral hygiene. At Smile Stories, we’ll never lecture you, but everyone knows if you’re eating a ton of sugar and not brushing twice daily then holes will appear in your teeth!

There is one situation that can increase the possibility of cavities with Invisalign, but only if your oral hygiene isn’t up to scratch before you begin. Because the aligners wrap around your teeth they will trap any food onto the biting surfaces. If you don’t clean your teeth before inserting them then there is a higher risk of decay on these surfaces.

Your dentist should x-ray your teeth before starting Invisalign to check for cavities

Invisalign with holes in teeth

Imagine you’re building a house for a second. You don’t just rock up with a wheelbarrow of bricks and start adding them one-by-one until da daaa, what a beautiful 3 bedroom bungalow you’ve created. Why? Because you’ve missed something crucial, the foundations! When you sneeze too loudly your poor scatter cushions will be under a pile of rubble.

It’s exactly the same with teeth. If you move a tooth with a cavity it may well move, but there’s also a high chance it’ll flare up causing pain and problems. That tooth is hollow and weak, and the aligners will be putting pressure on it and it moves your teeth. What this means is that the tooth is likely to break further, causing more complex and costly work.

To add to the woes of possible root canal treatment, now your Invisalign aligners aren’t going to fit. Your aligners are printed to perfectly cover your teeth, and if they no longer fit properly they’ll no longer work as they should. This means a prolonged straightening time and compromised result.

But let’s say you get away with it

You have a cavity during Invisalign and get to the end without filling it first. Congratulations you’ve made it. In fact, those two teeth survive another 18 months without a restoration but the times come and they’ve finally got to the desperation stage. The work has been completed and you put your retainers in for bed.

Uh oh, they don’t fit. Now you have two options. Either accept that you don’t have retainers but we all know what happens to teeth if you don’t wear them, they will recoil back. That’s a rather large financial and time commitment you’re now going to reverse.

The sensible approach would be to get new retainers. As part of our Invisalign packages, we supply you with 3 sets of Invisalign Vivera retainers, easily the best retainer in the world. We give these retainers to all of our clients when they finish their teeth straightening journey because we know your result will last, but they don’t come cheap. In fact, buying 6 new retainers works out double the price of the fillings that you’ve been putting off.

Your dentist should x-ray your teeth to check for cavities before any cosmetic orthodontic treatment, including Invisalign. If there are cavities in your mouth this should be your immediate priority.

What can you do during Invisalign to prevent cavities?

We’d always recommend a Professional Hygiene Visit prior to starting Invisalign. Firstly, the hygienist will remove any tartar which sticks to the backs of your teeth and can attract plaque. They can then give you guidance on how to keep them healthy and cavity-free during your Invisalign treatment.

Ensure your oral hygiene is good. Really, this is just doing what you’re normally doing with one extra thing. You’re already brushing twice daily and flossing daily. The only extra advice we’d give is to ensure that you brush your teeth after eating and before you put your aligners back in.

Clean your aligners – Brush them a few times daily with cold water and a toothbrush to ensure no debris sits on them. You can also soak them in something like Retainer Brite to keep bacteria away.

About the author of “Can I have Invisalign if I have cavities?”

Dr Gareth Edwards is one of the Aesthetic Dentists at Smile Stories, providing Invisalign Bournemouth as our most popular dental straightening. If you would to find out more and discuss your options, then you can arrange a FREE online video consultation by clicking here.