Today our dentists in Nanaimo share the reasons why your teeth may hurt a little while you are being treated with Invisalign clear aligners and how you can manage any pain you might feel at home.
You may have heard that it's fairly common to experience a little bit of pain or discomfort in your teeth or mouth during clear aligners treatment. While this is true, don't let it deter you from this method of orthodontic treatment.
Think back to the last time you motivated yourself to perform another 10 reps or walk just a bit further and felt a little sore after? This is the same principle – as your teeth gently shift into their corrected positions to help you achieve a straighter smile, they might feel a little sore while the aligners do their job.
Below, we discuss the challenges you might encounter during and after your Invisalign treatment, and how you could manage it.
How are my teeth going to hurt, and why?
While not everyone experiences pain or soreness during the treatment process, many patients will. Some describe it as a light pressure on their teeth on the first day they switch to a new clear aligner tray.
During treatment with Invisalign, your teeth will move only about .2 millimeters from the first day to the seventh that you wear a new clear aligner tray.
Invisalign trays are made of smooth plastic - no wires (like traditional braces have) to poke or prod sensitive places in your mouth, which can sometimes cause irritation. You may also notice a little more adaptability in this plastic compared to other more stiff plastics, so Invisalign pain should be minimal. Plus, your clear aligners will be custom-made to fit your smile.
Alleviating Invisalign Clear Aligner Pain At Home
If you do feel a bit of pain while your teeth adjust to their new positions, there are some home remedies you can try:
Change to your next set of aligners at night.
Since you’ll be sleeping, the night may be your best time to switch to your new aligners. This way, your mouth will have the next 8 hours or so to get used to them and any discomfort, pain or tenderness you feel may disappear by the time you wake up.
Apply dental wax.
Are your teeth or gums feeling painful as your clear aligners realign your teeth? Dental wax may help. Apply a tiny amount between your teeth and your aligners, or on any areas that are very tender or sore. The wax will act as a cushion on your teeth as they adapt to your aligners.
Rinse your mouth with warm saltwater.
You may be able to soothe your mouth sores by rinsing your mouth with warm salted water. You just have to add ½ teaspoon of salt to every 1 cup of warm water. You can do this every several hours for 3 to 4 days, continue to brush and floss diligently at home, and see how this works for you.
Eat cold foods.
Some patients report that indulging in a 100% fruit Popsicle or cold ice pop helps their gums to feel better after they switch aligners. Don’t forget to remove your clear aligners before you eat.
Take an over-the-counter pain killer.
If all else fails, over-the-counter painkillers can be just what you need to help alleviate mouth pain due to a new set of clear aligners.
Apply an ice pack.
Similar to a cold Popsicle, an ice pack, towel moistened with cold water, or a cold compress can help to soothe a sore mouth and reduce inflammation.
Regularly visit your dentist.
Visiting your dentist regularly (every four to six weeks) is one of the most essential things you need to do during your clear aligners treatment.
They will assess your smile and check on the progress of your treatment. Your dentist will also be able to answer any questions you might have, including whether the pain you are experiencing is normal, and offer you advice.
Another bonus: clear aligners don't usually need adjustments, so your dentist won't have to tighten them regularly as they would need to with traditional braces, which could cause some pain.