From steering clear of sushi made with raw fish to forgoing litter box duty, there are quite a few things that experts recommend you avoid during pregnancy. But what if you want to straighten your teeth? Can you get Invisalign while pregnant? That’s exactly what the Hawley Orthodontics’ team will be covering in this post.
Orthodontics and Pregnancy: What the Experts Say
Yes, you can get Invisalign while pregnant in some cases, however, there are a few caveats surrounding x-rays, which we’ll get to shortly.
If you already started treatment and found out you were pregnant, it’s perfectly safe to continue wearing your aligners. Plus, with your straight, confident smile, you’ll be ready to make memories with your little one.
Haven’t kicked off the Invisalign process yet? The only way to know for certain if you are a candidate for any type of orthodontic treatment during pregnancy (or even if you’re not pregnant), is to visit a certified specialist in orthodontics like Dr. Nathan Hawley.
Dr. Hawley will perform an exam, look at your diagnostic records, and chat with you about your goals, medical history and lifestyle. He’ll use this information to develop an accurate diagnosis and personalized treatment recommendations.
As a leading-edge orthodontist, Dr. Hawley stays on top of the latest research and recommendations, including those on orthodontics and pregnancy. Here’s what recent studies say:
- A 2022 study published in Dentistry Journal, measured oral bacteria and inflammation in pregnant women with orthodontic appliances. Pregnancy hormones can cause swollen gums, so the study assessed whether an appliance would worsen the issue. The researchers did not find an adverse effect in those with appliances. However, they noted patients must keep their mouth and appliance clean to avoid issues like cavities and gum disease.
- A review in the Journal of Global Oral Health also found orthodontic treatment during pregnancy is safe, as long as precautions are taken (i.e., not having patients lie flat on their back in the dental chair for long periods of time during the third trimester). The authors noted that Invisalign aligners are a great option during pregnancy.
- Lastly, a scientific review in the International Journal of Medical Dentistry found, “orthodontic treatment is not a contraindication during pregnancy and can be performed successfully during this period.”
Treatment Considerations and Misconceptions
There are some treatment considerations specific to pregnancy that come up often, but not all of them are rooted in fact. Let’s cover the most common ones:
- Dental X-Rays
Before beginning orthodontic treatment, dental x-rays are needed. This gives Dr. Hawley a view of your tooth roots and jawbones, so he can properly plan your treatment. The biggest concern most people have is whether or not it’s safe to get dental x-rays during pregnancy. Unfortunately, there is a lot of debate on the subject.
According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, it is generally safe to get x-rays during pregnancy. So if you’re dealing with an emergency like an infected tooth, the benefits of the x-rays likely outweigh any risk. That said, the organization recommends avoiding non-urgent x-rays between 10 and 17 weeks of gestation.
To be extra safe, Dr. Hawley and our team don’t generally recommend pregnant patients take new x-rays to begin treatment since orthodontics is an elective procedure. However, if we’re able to get recent x-rays from your general dentist, Dr. Hawley can use them to create your treatment plan.
Occasionally, there are instances where x-rays are needed during treatment as well. If that’s the case, Dr. Hawley will talk with you and your physician to ensure everyone is on the same page. Of course, at Hawley Orthodontics, we take all precautions, including using shielding, as well as low-dose digital x-rays.
- Hormonal Changes
Hormonal changes during pregnancy can cause inflamed, swollen gums that are more susceptible to bleeding. This mild gingivitis typically goes away on its own. Increased blood flow can also cause teeth sensitivity in pregnancy.
If you do have swollen gums during pregnancy, it’s important to keep your teeth and appliances clean to prevent plaque from accumulating. As for teeth sensitivity in pregnancy, you won’t have to rule Invisalign out. You may have a bit of tenderness when you first start wearing the aligners and every so often when you change to the next tray, but the discomfort is mild and only lasts a day or two.
- BPA in Plastic Aligners
Bisphenol A (BPA) is a potentially harmful chemical found in certain plastics – though the jury is still out regarding its effects on humans. The good news is, Invisalign clear aligners are BPA-free. They’re made from safe, medical-grade plastic, meaning patients of all ages and levels of health, including pregnant people, can get Invisalign.
Worried appointments won’t fit into your life anymore once your baby comes? It’s true, your adorable newborn will be your #1 priority. But Dr. Hawley and his wife, Stacie, have four girls, and plenty of our staff are parents too.
Our team gets it and we go above and beyond to make things work for you. We use digital tools and modern treatments to help you get better results in less time and with fewer office visits. We also offer flexible scheduling and a family-friendly atmosphere (seriously, babies and their siblings are always welcome!).
Aside from that, Invisalign, in general, requires fewer check-ups. You’ll only need to come in for quick appointments every eight weeks or so. And, if you need help in between visits, save yourself a trip to the office with a virtual check-in.
There are no medications (or needles!) involved in Invisalign treatment.
The Advantages of Invisalign vs. Braces During Pregnancy
Invisalign is the most popular of the adult orthodontics options. While you can get braces during pregnancy too, clear aligners have a few distinct advantages.
- Easier Oral Hygiene
Our self-ligating braces are easier to care for than conventional braces, but they still consist of brackets and wires that can trap food and plaque. Brushing and flossing takes a bit longer, because you need to use floss threaders or orthodontic flossers to get underneath the wires.
One of the biggest benefits of Invisalign is that the aligners are removable and cleaning them is as simple as brushing them with a toothbrush and rinsing them off. You’ll take them out to brush and floss, so there are no special techniques involved. You’ll be less susceptible to cavities and gum disease, and if you’re dealing with pregnancy-related gingivitis, clear aligners won’t worsen it.
- Virtually Invisible
Prefer to keep the attention on your growing baby bump instead of a new set of braces? Invisalign is made from clear, smooth plastic that fits over the entire arch of teeth. Most people won’t notice you’re wearing the aligners.
Braces can irritate your lips and cheeks while you acclimate to the appliance. Invisalign, on the other hand, doesn’t cause irritation and there are no brackets and wires that can cause an accidental injury.
- No Food Restrictions
Indulge in any and all pregnancy cravings during clear aligner treatment. You’ll also take your aligners out before eating or drinking anything aside from plain water, so, unlike braces, there are zero food restrictions with Invisalign.
- Saves Time
Choosing Invisalign while pregnant instead of braces can potentially save you a little time. There are no breakable components that could necessitate a repair appointment and the checkups you do have are fast and easy.
Book a Consultation With a Top Omaha Invisalign Provider
There you have it, you can get Invisalign while pregnant in many cases as long as you don’t need to have new x-rays taken to start treatment. And it’s always a good idea to talk to your OB/GYN ahead of time. Once they give you the green light, book a complimentary consultation at Hawley Orthodontics in Papillion, NE!