Today, our Comox dentists share the reasons why your teeth might hurt a little during your Invisalign clear aligners treatment, and provide you with tips that could help you manage any discomfort you may feel.
You have probably heard that it's common to experience sore teeth and mouth pain during clear aligners treatment. While this is true, don't allow it to scare you away from this method of orthodontic treatment.
Remember the last time you pushed yourself to complete another 10 reps or walk just a little longer and felt a bit sore after? This is the same principle – as your teeth gently shift into their new positions to help you obtain a straighter smile, you might feel a bit of discomfort while the aligners do their job.
Here, we share some of the challenges you might encounter during and after your Invisalign treatment, and how you can help manage the after-effects.
How much will clear aligners hurt, and why?
While not everyone experiences pain or soreness during their clear aligners treatment, some will describe it as slight pressure on their teeth on the first day they switch to a new clear aligner tray.
As part of your Invisalign treatment, your teeth will shift 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.
Home Remedies To Manage Pain From Invisalign Clear Aligners
If you happen to encounter a little pain while your teeth get accustomed to their new positions, there are a handful of home remedies you could try:
Change your aligners at night.
Since you’ll be sleeping, the best time to switch to your new aligners could be at night. 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.
If you feel pain in your gums or teeth while your clear aligns straighten your teeth, dental wax might help. Apply a small amount between your aligners and teeth, or on any spots that may be very tender or sore. The wax will work as a cushion on your teeth as they adapt to your aligners.
Rinse with warm saltwater.
You may be able to soothe your mouth sores with a saltwater rinse. You only need ½ teaspoon per 1 cup in warm water. Try this every few hours for 3 to 4 days, keep diligently flossing, brushing, and practicing excellent at-home oral care, and see if this works.
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 the above remedies fail, you can try taking over-the-counter painkillers to help relieve your mouth pain as a result of the new clear aligners set.
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.
One of the most important things to keep doing as you progress through your treatment with clear aligners is to keep seeing your dentist regularly - every four to six weeks.
They will check in on your smile and your progress, answer any questions you may have about whether what you are experiencing is normal, and provide advice.
Another bonus: clear aligners usually don't require adjustments, so your dentist won't need to tighten them regularly like would be required with traditional braces, which may cause some pain.