My family's dental health is important to me. Unfortunately for me, it is not as important to my little ones. Getting my kids to brush and floss on a daily basis is almost like taking on an obstacle course. I talked to my family's dentist about different methods I could try to encourage them to brush and floss on a regular basis. Some of the tricks worked, some did not. After some experimentation and talking to other parents, I was able to come up with a lot of great tips for helping kids care for their teeth. I started this blog to help other parents get creative when it comes to their kids and dental care.
Can you have a cavity filled while you're in the middle of your invisible braces treatment? The short answer is yes—but your orthodontist might prefer to avoid this scenario. But why can cavities be such a big deal for your invisible braces?
The dimensions of your bite must be recorded with absolute accuracy before the clear trays of your invisible braces can be made. Your orthodontist has a couple of options with this recording, and they may use a digital scanning device or take a manual impression of your teeth using dental putty. The end result, whether the model of your teeth is digital or physical, is an exact replica of your teeth.
This exact replica is used to create your clear aligner trays. Each tray in the series is subtly different, moving your teeth a fractional distance before it's replaced with the next tray. The trays are calibrated to apply the right level of pressure in the right direction to achieve your specific results. Any change to the tooth's surface can disrupt the precision of your trays.
A cavity creates, as you probably guessed, a change to the tooth's surface. The tooth's surface enamel has become decayed. The enamel might still be intact, but as the cavity deepens, it will reach your dentin—which is the layer beneath your enamel. Ultimately the tooth's nerve can become irritated and infected. Of course, a cavity needs to be fixed.
If you should develop a cavity during your orthodontic treatment, there are a few ways forward. A micro-cavity is when the cavity is very shallow and hasn't eaten through your dental enamel. These cavities can often be halted with conservative remineralization, which helps the tooth's enamel to rebuild (which it can't do on its own). Instead of drilling into the tooth, your dentist (after consulting your orthodontist) may schedule a number of fluoride treatments to repair your enamel.
Deeper cavities must be filled, but this is where it gets a little complicated. The filling must recreate the exact contours of your tooth prior to your dental work. Without this precision, the fit of your aligner trays may be changed, and so they might not be as effective. After the filling has been completed, your dentist can polish it, which helps to refine its shape. This should make the filled tooth as close a match as possible to its former, pre-decay self, meaning your orthodontic treatment can continue without interruption.
There are options for treating a cavity while wearing invisible braces, even though it's slightly more complex than it otherwise would be. Contact your orthodontist for more information about invisible braces.