Disclosure: I may have received a free product or other compensation for any/all products on this site in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Why I think Invisalign is More Eco-friendly than Braces

I was recently able to participate in an informational meeting with some really incredible professionals regarding Invisalign, especially Invisalign for Teens.

I had heard of the product before, having looked into it myself when I became frustrated with a gap in my bottom teeth. My dentist at the time told me that I was not a candidate for Invisalign, and instead he suggested another procedure- veneers. Since this was a cosmetic issue, and what he was proposing sounded unpleasant, I opted to live with my tooth gap. I have since learned that this particular dentist was not entirely informed on the subject. 

It was not that I was not a candidate, but that the dentist did not offer the procedure. 


I have now been quite informed and see that I am indeed a candidate. Most people can be candidates!

Are you a candidate? Check out the Invisalign Smile Assessment 

But I learned more than just the ins and outs of Invisalign, I got a good comparison between Invisalign and braces. 

 You can see some of that data here

What impressed me the most as an Environmental, Health and Safety Professional, aside from the dental benefits, was the way that Invisalign seemed more environmentally friendly compared to braces. Even your teen is going to think that is cool!

Since I was asked to blog about the product, I really wanted to explore this for you, as I think it is overlooked sometimes. I did some Googling, and saw some interesting things.


  • Apparently, when metal braces are installed, there is an adhesive cement that is applied to the teeth to keep the braces intact. This cement contains phosphoric acid- that helps it adhere to the tooth. Over time this acid breaks down the enamel of the tooth leading to a lifetime of sensitive teeth, sometimes subject to cracking from the damage. 

  • Additionally, you are putting acids in the mouth of a child or teenager. This hardly seems like a healthy choice. We spend all this time eating organic and selecting non GMO clothing and food, but then we put chemicals right onto our children’s teeth!

  • With everything that we are learning every day about chemicals, we know that we want to reduce our exposure as much as possible. This goes double for our children.

(There is even a special Invisalign Teen program at select providers! They understand the specific needs of teenagers getting dental correction.)

Invisalign uses no such adhesive. The trays come off and on and never need adhesive to hold them in place because they are designed to be placed in the specific unique formation of you, or your child’s mouth.


  • When metal braces are first being set up, the dentist needs to do an impression, often more than one, to understand the shape of the mouth and teeth. The material in this impression is often made of alginate, talc, zinc and eugenol. We know that this is coming in contact with the sensitive tissues in the mouth, and some of this material is going to absorb into the patient’s mouth. Some might be swallowed as well. 

  • According to the Material Safety Data Sheets for some of these materials, irritation can occur for some individuals. This is also not pleasant to experience for the patient. If you have ever had an impression made, you know how gross it is!

Invisalign patients can be treated to the latest technology (which I got to see during a demonstration at the conference) which often (not always) allows impressions to be skipped entirely.

If you go to a provider that offers it, the iTero Digital Scanner creates an exact 3-d map of the patient’s mouth, and from this, the dentist can design the perfect set of teeth that will be present after using Invisalign.

No gagging, no nasty chemicals in the mouth. Just a few minutes in a chair, and you can see the map forming almost instantly. On the Invisalign website, you can easily check to see which providers have the iTero scanner- so you can benefit from the newest technology.

There is no radiation in this process, so no worries there either!

Metals in braces

  • There are some reports online that the metals in braces- nickel, chromium, cobalt, iron and others, are breaking down over time due to exposure to acids in the food that is eaten. These metals, especially nickel can lead to future metal sensitivities in certain individuals.

  • Some dentists offices may seem to be doing an eco-friendly thing by recycling tracks and wires from one client to another in their office, but when we really look at this, is it a good idea? Sure the materials are cleaned thoroughly before reuse (one hopes) but are the metals still in the condition to be reused? I am not sure that the dentists have a way to verify this.  Personally I also get really squeamish thinking about it. Is that a health issue? It seems it could be if the materials are not handled safely. We have certainly heard many tales of people becoming ill from improperly sterilized materials being used in a medical setting.

Invisalign never reuses trays. It is not even a possibility. Each tray in the series is designed uniquely for the intended patient, progressing over time to the perfectly aligned teeth desired.

Teens can be wild. They want to fit in with their peers and their image is so important to them. Invisalign has a much less noticeable profile than metal braces!

There is one other feature that I thought was clever- maybe not environmental in nature, but since I play hockey, I had to ask about that…

Hockey players, especially children, need to wear mouth guards to protect their teeth as well as their skulls from concussions during games. Because hockey players often spend a few hours at a time on the ice, they might find it hard to comply with wearing the Invisalign 22 hours a day and leaving it off for hockey..

To fix this issue, all a player needs to do is mold their mouth guard to the Invisalign tray, then it can be comfortably worn during games, and since it is molded to the mouthpiece and the mouthpiece is hooked to the helmet, the player will not lose the tray on the ice.

(Trust me, after it touches the ice, you do NOT want it back.. people spit on the ice.. nasty!)

Some people think that using Invisalign limits your activities or disrupts lives-- it does not!

Setting it Straight:
Teens can play sports without fear of injury and continue activities with little to no interference.

Want to get a look at what happens when you choose Invisalign? 

In summary, this is not to scare you away from any particular dental treatment, just to give you an idea of the differences in a way that you may not have looked at before. 

Correcting teeth misalignment (through whatever method you use) can be helpful for many medical disorders such as unhealthy gums, TMJ and other types of jaw and mouth issues. 

You must make an informed choice when deciding which treatment is best for you and your family- work with your dentist and be sure to consider all of the options!

Enter the Straight Talk Sweepstakes for a chance to win free Invisalign treatment.

Sweepstakes runs through September 30th, 2014. 

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I have been compensated to write a post about Invisalign, however the opinions expressed are solely my own. I am not a medical professional, but I do have a background in environmental and safety, so I do have extensive knowledge regarding chemicals and their effects on humans. Do your own research before you make any medical decisions!