In this post, our Toronto 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 do another 10 reps or walk a little further and felt a little sore afterwards? It's the same concept here: as your teeth gently move into their prescribed positions to help you achieve a straighter smile, they may feel a little sore while the aligners are doing their job.
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, and 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 with no wires to poke or prod sensitive areas of your mouth, which can sometimes cause irritation. This plastic may also have a little more adaptability than other stiff plastics, so Invisalign's pain should be minimal. Furthermore, your clear aligners will be tailored to your specific 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.
Because you'll be sleeping, switching to your new aligners at night may be the best option. This gives your mouth about 8 hours to get used to them, and any discomfort, pain, or tenderness you feel may go away by the time you wake up.
Use dental wax.
Are your teeth or gums hurting as your clear aligners realign them? Dental wax may be useful. Apply a small amount between your teeth and your aligners, or on any tender or sore areas. As your teeth adjust to your aligners, the wax will act as a cushion.
Rinse with warm salt water.
A swish of salt water can help relieve mouth sores. In 1 cup of warm water, you only need 12 teaspoons. Try it every few hours for 3 to 4 days, then keep flossing, brushing, and practising good at-home oral hygiene to 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 advantage is that clear aligners rarely require adjustments, so your dentist will not have to tighten them as frequently as traditional braces, which can be painful.