In this post, our Ottawa dentists explain why your teeth may hurt a bit during treatment with Invisalign clear aligners, and how you can manage any pain you experience.
Have you heard that mouth pain or sore teeth are common during treatment with clear aligners? Though this is true, you shouldn’t let it scare you away from this orthodontic treatment option.
Remember the last time you pushed yourself to complete an additional 10 repetitions or walk a bit longer and felt a bit sore afterward? As your teeth gradually shift into their prescribed positions to help you achieve a straighter smile, they may experience some discomfort while the aligners are in place.
Today, we’ll discuss the challenges you may face during and following Invisalign treatment, and how you can deal with the after-effects.
How much will my teeth hurt, and why?
Though not everyone feels soreness or pain during the treatment process, many 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 millimetres from the first day to the seventh that you wear a new clear aligner tray.
Invisalign trays are made of smooth plastic; unlike traditional braces, there are no wires to poke or prod sensitive areas of the mouth, which can cause irritation. You may also notice a bit more flexibility in this plastic compared to other rigid plastics, so the discomfort associated with Invisalign should be minimal. In addition, your clear aligners will be tailored to your smile.
Home Remedies for Invisalign Clear Aligner Pain
If you do feel a bit of pain while your teeth adjust to their new positions, there are some home remedies you can try:
Switch to your new aligners at night.
Since you'll be sleeping, switching to your new aligners at night may be optimal. Thus, your mouth will have approximately eight hours to adjust to the new teeth, and any discomfort, pain, or tenderness may be gone by the time you wake up.
Use dental wax.
Do your teeth or gums hurt as your clear aligners straighten your teeth? Dental wax may help. Apply a small amount between your teeth and your aligners, as well as to any sore or tender areas. As your teeth adapt to your aligners, the wax will serve as a cushion for them.
Rinse with warm salt water.
Your mouth ulcers can be soothed by gargling with salt water. Only half a teaspoon per cup of warm water is required. Try this every few hours for three to four days while continuing to floss, brush, and practice excellent oral hygiene at home, and see if it 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 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, a towel moistened with cold water or a cold compress can help to soothe a sore mouth and reduce inflammation.
See your dentist regularly.
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.