Almost every type of dental treatment carries some degree of risk. However, many patients are concerned that the dentist will misdiagnose them or that the treatment will result in tooth loss. When it comes to correcting minor orthodontic issues with clear aligners, there is frequently a great deal of anxiety, which hinders people’s ability to make an informed decision and, in some cases, causes patients to forego treatment altogether.
Clear aligners can give you a beautiful smile and make your mouth easier to clean, but you may be concerned about the possibility of tooth loss. While clear aligners do not directly cause tooth loss, they can complicate oral health.
This article will examine the causes of tooth loss and the effect that clear aligners have on the process.
What are the Causes of Tooth Loss?
Before we can comprehend how clear aligners may play a role, let’s examine the causes of tooth loss. Most cases of tooth loss are the result of untreated oral health issues, and plaque is the primary cause of these issues.
Plaque is a film of bacteria and food particles that can accumulate on the teeth. Plaque can cause a variety of oral health problems, most notably periodontal (gum) disease and tooth decay, both of which can result in tooth loss if left untreated.
Plaque accumulation at the gum line initiates periodontal disease. Plaque that is not removed from the teeth can harden into tartar, which acts as a shield for the bacteria on your teeth and is difficult, if not impossible, to remove with a toothbrush.
Inflammation of the gums (gingivitis) can also result in periodontal disease. It is a common condition that is easily reversible, but once it develops into periodontal disease, it can no longer be cured, only treated. Therefore, it is essential to treat gingivitis immediately, before it worsens. Periodontal disease causes gum recession, which can lead to tooth loss over time.
Tooth loss can also be caused by tooth decay. When the acids in plaque eat away at enamel, cavities result. 1 If cavities are left untreated, they can spread deeper into the dentin and pulp, which are the tooth’s innermost layers. When bacteria reach the pulp, they can form a pus-filled abscess that is extremely painful. You will then require a root canal to remove the infected pulp. If the infection progresses too far, the tooth may need to be extracted.
Neither of these scenarios is the result of a single oral hygiene error. Instead, they are the result of poor oral hygiene over an extended period of time.
Can Clear Aligners Lead to Tooth Loss?
Theoretically, clear aligners can cause tooth loss. Consequently, it is extremely unlikely that this will occur. In fact, there are no documented cases of someone who began treatment with clear aligners and then lost a tooth solely due to the clear aligners, with no other complicating factors present.
So, what could theoretically allow clear aligners to result in tooth loss? Resorption of the root system
Root resorption is an inflammatory response to the force exerted on teeth during orthodontic treatment. Occasionally, excessive pressure causes the root of a tooth to begin dissolving.
In most instances, they simply shorten the roots. If given the opportunity, they could dissolve the entire root, however. This would render the tooth unanchored, allowing it to migrate upwards and outwards.
This is extremely uncommon, and it is unlikely that a single tooth would be subjected to pressure long enough with clear aligner treatment to dissolve the entire tooth root. The biggest concern while wearing aligners is poor oral hygiene. Clear aligner therapy necessitates heightened attention to oral hygiene. If you fail to maintain good oral hygiene during treatment, you may develop problems that, if left untreated, could lead to tooth loss.
The design of aligners allows them to fit snugly around your teeth. This prevents their access to saliva. Saliva is a miraculous substance that plays a vital role in your oral health, although we rarely consider it. Plaque is removed by saliva between brushing and flossing sessions. Therefore, if you do not brush and floss your teeth before inserting your aligners, bacteria and food particles will have free reign to erode your enamel.
Clear aligner treatment poses a challenge to oral hygiene, and your response to this challenge will influence your future oral health.
How Can I Prevent Tooth Loss While Utilizing Clear Aligners?
The majority of oral health issues that result in tooth loss are caused by our own actions. If you take responsibility for your oral health, you can prevent tooth loss. Here are some measures you can take to prevent tooth loss during and after treatment with clear aligners.
Maintain Outstanding Oral Hygiene
In contrast to braces, clear aligners are removable, making it much easier to maintain excellent oral hygiene. However, you must brush and floss after every meal and maintain the cleanliness of your aligners.
Maintaining good oral hygiene with clear aligners frequently requires planning. Always bring your oral hygiene supplies with you so that you can brush and floss while traveling. As previously stated, you should never insert your aligners without first brushing and flossing, as this will trap food and bacteria within the aligners.
Make Frequent Visits to the Dentist
Two visits per year to the dentist are required to maintain good oral hygiene. Dentists can access difficult-to-reach crevices and remove tartar from your teeth and even under your gums, which you may miss with your toothbrush. Plaque under the gums can cause gingivitis, receding gums, periodontal disease, and eventually tooth loss; therefore, this aspect of cleanings is particularly important.
If you are experiencing the earliest stages of tooth decay or gum disease, you may not be aware of it. Regular dental checkups can help you avoid future, more serious issues by allowing your dentist to detect these issues early. Your dentist may recommend three annual cleanings instead of two, depending on your ability to maintain your oral health between visits.
If the cost of dental care prevents you from scheduling appointments, search for local dental schools. They provide free or low-cost dental care administered by students under the supervision of licensed dentists.
Diet has a significant impact on oral health. Sugar is the greatest enemy of a dentist because sugars convert into acid within plaque, which erodes enamel. Eating foods with added sugars makes our saliva’s job more difficult and increases the likelihood of plaque formation.
On the other hand, certain foods stimulate salivation, which is a tremendous aid in the fight against plaque. Whole plant-based foods are high in fiber and necessitate significant chewing, which stimulates saliva production. Contrary to this, processed foods have the opposite effect.
If possible, replace soda with green tea, potato chips with nuts, and candy with fruit. During treatment with clear aligners, your fight against plaque will become much easier.
We’re sure this is not the first time you’ve heard this, but smoking can lead to a multitude of health issues. Tobacco users are more susceptible to periodontal disease and tartar accumulation. As stated previously, if left untreated, these conditions can result in tooth loss.
Are All options for Teeth Straightening Associated with this Risk?
All teeth straightening treatments necessitate a heightened focus on oral hygiene. However, some alternatives simplify this process more than others.
In terms of oral hygiene, braces are typically a higher-maintenance treatment than other options. Due to the fact that the brackets and wires are not removable like clear aligners, braces can trap food particles, making it easier to miss plaque when brushing your teeth. Having braces makes oral hygiene a more time-consuming task, which may lead some individuals to skip brushing and flossing.
Instead of being attached to the front of the teeth, lingual braces are attached to the back. They provide complete discretion, but also require a great deal of patient responsibility, as it is difficult to brush and floss an area that is completely out of sight. Lingual braces are typically harder to keep clean than conventional braces.
Why do my Teeth Feel Loose During Treatment with Clear Aligners?
Your aligners must dislodge your teeth in order to shift them into their new positions. It can initially feel jarring, but this is a normal and essential part of the process.
With Braces or Clear Aligners, is Tooth Loss More Probable?
Neither treatment is likely to result in tooth loss as long as you maintain excellent oral hygiene. Since clear aligners are removable, people typically find that their oral hygiene routine is easier to manage with them than with braces.
In the end, there is no foolproof way to prevent these tooth loss issues, whether one undergoes traditional orthodontics or clear aligners. The best course of action is still to consult a dentist about your options.
Before undergoing any procedure for teeth alignment treatment or other dental procedure, patients should always consult a physician. It is also possible for patients to develop dry mouth symptoms as a side effect of treatment, although the severity of this side effect is unknown.