The majority of patients, particularly during childhood and adolescence are treated with fixed orthodontic appliances. The fixed appliance can however complicate oral hygiene, and interfere with periodontal health. In recent years clear aligners have become a favourable alternative to the fixed appliance due to aesthetic reasons. The clear aligners are discreet and have the advantage of being removed during oral hygiene, eating, and drinking.

Until now there are few studies about the effects of the aligner treatment on the oral health and gingival condition. A team of German researchers have compared the oral health status, oral hygiene, and treatment satisfaction of patients treated with fixed appliances and the invisalign aligner system.

Their study included 100 patients who underwent orthodontic treatment divided equally between fixed appliance patients and invisalign patients for 6 months. They found that invisalign patients had better periodontal health and greater satisfaction during treatment.

Oral health: Patients were given the same oral hygiene instructions before and during treatment. There was no difference between the groups prior to treatment regarding the oral hygiene or periodontal condition, however during treatment, the gingival health was significantly better in patients treated with invisalign. The amount of dental plaque was also less compared to a fixed appliance.

Treatment satisfaction: This was greater with invisalign. Some of the questionnaires results revealed;

  • 26% of fixed appliance patients felt they were being kept from laughing (due to aesthetic reasons) compared to 6% of invisalign patients
  • 70% of fixed appliance patients had to change eating habits compared to 50% of invisalign patients
  • 36% of fixed appliance patients reported impairment of their general well-being during treatment compared with just 6% of invisalign patients

Researchers concluded orthodontic treatment with invisalign has significantly lower negative impacts on a patient’s condition than treatment with fixed appliances for both gingival health and general well-being.