Should Damaged Teeth Be Fixed Before Or After Invisalign Treatment?

It's generally best to correct dental and orthodontic issues when they're first noticed, but life doesn't always work that way. You might find yourself in a position where you need to correct several issues simultaneously, provided that the required forms of treatment are compatible. If you have deteriorated teeth, is it better to have these repaired (or removed) before or after straightening your teeth with Invisalign? 

Transparent Retainers 

If your orthodontist tells you that you qualify for Invisalign, you might breathe a sigh of relief. You won't need traditional metal braces stuck to your teeth, nor will you need the constant orthodontic adjustments that these braces demand. Instead, you'll have a series of transparent aligners (which look like retainers or ultra-thin mouthguards) made that you'll wear for approximately 22 hours per day, for one to two weeks. Each tray fractionally repositions your teeth, and by the time your treatment is over, your teeth have been straightened to the predetermined level.

Not in the Best Health

What happens when some of those teeth aren't in the best health? This is something that must be addressed before your Invisalign treatment begins, otherwise, your orthodontic treatment will be disrupted. Because each aligner tray is customized and designed to tightly hug the exact contours of each tooth in your mouth, those contours need to be finalized before your aligner trays can be manufactured. Dental restorations, whether this is a simple filling to patch surface decay or a dental crown that fits over the entire tooth, a restoration changes the shape of the tooth.

Before Invisalign

You'll be directed to have these irregularities fixed before beginning Invisalign. Your trays can then be made to accommodate the repaired teeth and any restorations bonded to them. These treated teeth can still be repositioned and will be straightened along with the rest of your teeth. As long as the teeth have an intact natural root system, they can be orthodontically aligned.

After Invisalign

Some permanent teeth replacement options use an artificial tooth root system, which is basically what a dental implant is. Once implanted in your jawbone, the device (a small titanium screw) becomes a tooth root that can hold a natural-looking porcelain tooth. However, once placed, an implant's location is fixed and immovable. It cannot be orthodontically aligned with Invisalign (or any teeth straightening treatment).

If it's intended that one (or more) of your teeth must be extracted and replaced with an implant, the extraction will take place prior to your Invisalign treatment. The implant can be fitted once your teeth have been straightened. For cosmetic purposes, an orthodontist can add a pontic (single false tooth) to your aligner trays, concealing the extracted tooth (if it's obvious).

Invisalign is compatible with many dental treatments—but some treatments must occur before Invisalign, and some must be delayed. Contact a local dentist to learn more about Invisalign.