Allergic reactions to clear removable braces/clear aligners

24 November · 2 minutes

One of the most popular questions people ask us with regards to clear removable braces is ‚Äú*Will I have an allergic reaction when wearing them?*‚ÄĚ However before we answer this question, there is one important fact that needs to be cleared up‚Ķ.

The term ‚Äėclear removable braces‚Äô is often used in conjunction with aligner style teeth straighteners but it‚Äôs actually a bit of a misnomer. If you think about it, braces are bracket and wire style orthodontic appliances that are permanently attached to the teeth. They‚Äôre neither clear, nor removable. By contrast, aligners are. What‚Äôs more, you won‚Äôt find a bracket or archwire anywhere in sight, hence their popularity. So, the next time you see ‚Äėclear removable braces‚Äô mentioned, you‚Äôll know that it really should just be ‚Äėclear aligners.'

Anyway, back to the topic at hand….

It’s true that some of the more common problems with traditional, fixed braces have nothing to do with discomfort. Instead, there are various instances of people suffering allergic reactions. These include slight sensitivity issues due to nickel-induced dermatitis. However, you may think that because invisible aligners are made from medical-grade plastic and not nickel, you’ll be safe from any type of allergic reaction. Unfortunately, that might not be true.

Before we instill panic into folks looking to buy the best orthodontic treatment method, we should also note that allergic reactions of this type are extremely rare and most people go about their treatment without any problems. Again, it’s highly unlikely to experience any such issues, but we feel it’s important to approach the subject of allergic reactions and invisible aligners so you have all of the facts at hand.

There will be the unlucky few who have a reaction regardless of the clear aligner material used. Some people, for example, don‚Äôt generate enough saliva. This is technically known as xerostomia and can be caused by certain diseases or medications. In these cases, any type of removable aligners can exacerbate the dental problems these patients usually struggle with.

So the million dollar question is ‚ÄúHow do you know whether or not you‚Äôll get an allergic reaction?‚ÄĚ Just as you would with a new hair or skin product, you‚Äôd test it out! Here‚Äôs what to do‚Ķ

Before taking any steps, talk to your orthodontist and tell them that you’re feeling a little apprehensive about the possibility of an allergic reaction. Some orthodontists will be able to test for allergic reactions to clear aligners. First, they’ll give you a small piece of the same clear material that your clear aligners are made from. Then, they may ask you to attach it to your skin using a piece of tape and wear it for several days. If your skin experiences definitive changes, then it could be that you’ve had an allergic reaction and any type of clear aligners may cause a problem.

Alternatively, if your skin feels completely normal after several days of wearing the material, then the likelihood of any type of allergic reaction is likely zero! In this case, you should be good to proceed with your invisible aligner treatment.

### Okay, so just how serious are these reactions?

In all but extremely rare cases, reactions are likely to be mild. In these cases you may experience…

  • Some sensitivity in your mouth
  • Itching or tingling of your gums, tongue and teeth
  • A sore throat

However, in cases of extreme plastic allergy, problems can be more severe including:

  • Tightening of the chest
  • Hyperventilation and/or
  • Chest pain

If the problem is severe, seek medical help right away! You will then probably have to stop using clear aligners and switch to a more conventional alternative.

Man in pain with his hand on his chest while he holds a coffee cup. 

But what if your allergies are mild in comparison, what can you do then?

Here are some handy tips and tricks…

Make sure your aligner is thoroughly cleaned and bacteria free. Use a germ-killing bacterial product recommended by your orthodontist. Also, wash your hands before handling your clear removable braces/aligners and keep your aligner case clean as well.

In addition, drink plenty of water which may help to stimulate saliva. Did you know that a normal salivary gland produces three pints of the stuff every day? Saliva is designed to be a natural health drink for your teeth and mouth, but while water lacks many of the healing properties of saliva, it can help to keep your mouth nice and moist.

So there you have it, all you need to know about clear aligners and the possibility of allergic reactions. Remember, allergies are rare and most people have a hassle-free experience from start to finish, but if you’re in any doubt, talk to your orthodontist.

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