Here, our Riverdale Toronto dentists talk about the reasons why your teeth might hurt with Invisalign clear aligners and share tips to help you manage any discomfort or pain you might feel.
Have you heard that mouth pain or sore teeth are common during treatment with clear aligners? While 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 another 10 reps or walk just a little longer and felt a bit sore after? It's the same idea here – as your teeth gently move into their prescribed positions to help you achieve a straighter smile, they may feel a bit sore while the aligners work.
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 Your Teeth Might Hurt & Why
While not all patients experience soreness or pain during Invisalign treatment, lots do. 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.
Remedies for 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:
Put your new aligners on 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.
Your mouth sores may be soothed with a swish of saltwater. 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 foods that are cold.
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.
Try an over-the-counter painkiller.
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.
Place an ice pack on your sore mouth.
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.
Attend regular appointments with 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.