When you have diabetes, you have to be careful about the types of medical treatments you undergo because of your increased risk of experiencing complications due to the way the disease affects the body. Luckily, Invisalign is a fairly safe option for people suffering from type 1 or type 2 diabetes to use to fix crooked or gapped teeth because it does not require any type of invasive surgery. However, there are two things you must account for to protect your physical and oral health while undergoing this treatment.
You Only Have a 2 to 4 Hour Window for Meals
To properly straighten your teeth, the Invisalign retainers must be worn at least 20 to 22 hours per day. This means you only have a 2 to 4 hour window for meals, tooth brushing, and other oral activities. As a diabetic, you likely have to eat often to keep your blood sugar levels steady. This means you will not be able to indulge in long, leisurely meals for the entire treatment period, which can last 12 months or longer In fact, you may barely have enough time to consume all the food and drinks on your meal plan within this limited window.
You will need to change up your eat schedule/habits to accommodate the reduced time for meals. Instead of eating three large meals and two snacks, for instance, it may be best to break up your foods into smaller meals and eat more frequently throughout the day. You may also want to swap out foods that take a long time to eat for ones that don't (e.g. trade celery for cucumbers).
Your regular physician can usually provide you with tips and ideas on the healthiest changes to make with your meal plan. If you are just not able to manage your blood sugar levels on such a restricted schedule, discuss the issue with your dentist. He or she may be able to adjust the treatment plan so that you have more time for meals during the day. Be aware, however, that this may mean you will have to wear the braces for a longer period of time than originally planned.
You May Have to Clean Your Teeth More Often
Another challenge you might run into with Invisalign is you have to brush your teeth more often. This is because people who have diabetes tend to have higher levels of glucose in their saliva. This increases your risk for tooth decay and other oral diseases such as gingivitis because the sugar encourages bacteria growth that deposit damaging plaque on the teeth.
The Invisalign braces can acerbate this issue because they will essential force your teeth to sit in sugary bacteria-filled saliva all day long. You won't even have the benefit of eliminating the bacteria via the natural movement of spit that occurs during the day because your teeth are covered by the retainer.
To prevent the tooth damage that can occur in this scenario, you'll need to make an effort to clean your teeth more often. Brushing is best, but removing your retainer and rinsing your mouth with a medicated mouthwash can also help. At the very least, rinse your mouth and retainer with water at several points in the day.
Having diabetes won't stop you from enjoying the benefits Invisalign has to offer. However, you do have to take special care during treatment to minimize the effect this tooth alignment option has on your oral and physical health. For more tips on incorporating Invisalign into your life or assistance with fixing other tooth issues, consult with a cosmetic dentist.