Oral Health Blog

What Are the Cons of Clear Aligners?

One con of clear aligners is that they can accumulate bacteria and stains if not cleaned properly. Using a purple persulfate-free retainer cleaner helps maintain hygiene and prevent discoloration, making the aligners more comfortable and effective.

Initial and Ongoing Discomfort

Adjustment Period

  • Initial Soreness: When you first start wearing clear aligners, you may experience some soreness and discomfort as your teeth begin to move. This discomfort is usually temporary but can be bothersome for some patients.
  • Switching Aligners: Every time you switch to a new set of aligners (typically every one to two weeks), you might experience similar soreness as your teeth adjust to the new pressure.

Speech Impediments

  • Lisping: Some patients notice a slight lisp when they start wearing aligners. This usually improves as you get used to wearing them, but it can be an initial inconvenience.

Maintenance and Cleaning

Frequent Cleaning

  • Oral Hygiene: Clear aligners require diligent maintenance. You need to clean them regularly to avoid staining and bad odors. This includes brushing them with a soft toothbrush and soaking them in cleaning solutions.
  • Brushing and Flossing: You need to brush and floss your teeth after every meal before putting your aligners back in. This can be time-consuming, especially if you’re eating out or on the go.

Risk of Staining

  • Staining from Foods and Drinks: If you don’t clean your aligners properly, or if you drink colored beverages like coffee, tea, or red wine without removing them, they can become stained, which defeats the purpose of having nearly invisible braces.

Commitment and Compliance

Wearing Time

  • 20-22 Hours Per Day: For clear aligners to be effective, you need to wear them for 20-22 hours a day. Failure to do so can prolong your treatment time and affect the final results.
  • Discipline Required: The need to remove aligners before eating or drinking anything other than water requires a level of discipline that not all patients can maintain.

Risk of Loss or Damage

  • Easily Misplaced: Aligners are small and clear, making them easy to misplace or accidentally throw away, especially if you take them out during meals and forget to put them back in their case.
  • Fragility: Clear aligners can crack or break if not handled carefully. This can be costly if you need to replace a damaged aligner.

Financial Considerations


  • Higher Expense: Clear aligners can be more expensive than traditional braces. While the exact cost varies depending on the length and complexity of treatment, patients should be prepared for a higher upfront cost.
  • Insurance Coverage: Not all dental insurance plans cover clear aligners, which means you may have to pay a significant portion out of pocket.

Additional Expenses

  • Replacement Costs: If you lose or damage an aligner, replacing it can be costly. Additionally, some patients may require refinements or additional aligners at the end of their initial treatment, which can add to the overall cost.

Treatment Limitations

Complex Cases

  • Severe Misalignments: Clear aligners may not be suitable for severe orthodontic cases or complex dental issues. Traditional braces might be more effective for patients with significant misalignment, large gaps, or severe crowding.
  • Attachments Required: Some patients may need attachments or “buttons” placed on their teeth to help the aligners grip and move the teeth more effectively. These attachments can be more noticeable and can sometimes cause additional discomfort.

Longer Treatment Time

  • Slower Results for Some: While clear aligners can be effective, they might take longer to achieve the desired results compared to traditional braces, especially for more complex movements.

Potential Health Issues

Tooth Decay and Gum Problems

  • Oral Hygiene Challenges: If you don’t maintain proper oral hygiene while using aligners, there is a risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Food particles and plaque can get trapped against your teeth and gums by the aligners, leading to dental problems.
  • Dry Mouth: Wearing aligners can reduce the flow of saliva in your mouth, potentially leading to dry mouth, which increases the risk of cavities and bad breath.

Social and Lifestyle Impacts

Social Situations

  • Eating Out: The need to remove aligners before eating can be inconvenient in social settings or when dining out.
  • Embarrassment: Some patients feel self-conscious about removing their aligners in public, especially in professional or social situations.

Physical Activities

  • Sports: If you participate in contact sports, you may need to remove your aligners and use a mouthguard, which can be inconvenient.


Clear aligners offer a discreet and comfortable option for teeth straightening, but they come with several cons that potential users should consider. From initial discomfort and rigorous maintenance to higher costs and treatment limitations, these factors can impact your decision-making process. It’s essential to weigh these drawbacks against the benefits and consult with your orthodontist to determine if clear aligners are the best choice for your dental needs.

Are you currently using or thinking about using retainer cleaning tablets? It's important to be aware that certain cleaner brands have the potential to cause toxic reactions.

It's crucial to be aware of harmful ingredients hiding in common cleaner brands. One such persulfate, which can pose SERIOUS health risks and is found in almost all leading retainer cleaners brands. Moreover, persulfate's health risks potentially impact respiratory health and skin sensitivities in your family, especially in teens and sensitive individuals. Learn more about the risk of persulfate HERE. 



The content in this article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Always consult with a healthcare provider before making any changes to your health regimen. The author and publisher do not take responsibility for any consequences resulting from the information provided in this article.