Invisalign, a modern orthodontic treatment involving the use of clear aligners instead of traditional metal braces, is known for its comfort and convenience. However, it can cause discomfort and soreness for many patients during the initial adjustment period. It’s important to understand why Invisalign might be causing pain so that you can take steps to make the process more comfortable.
Poorly Fitted Aligners
Poorly fitted Invisalign aligners are one of the most common reasons for Invisalign pain. Aligners that aren’t properly crafted can fit too tightly or too loosely on your teeth, creating discomfort. If an aligner isn’t custom-crafted according to your teeth, it may not be able to move all of them equally, causing some teeth to move more than others and thereby resulting in pain. Additionally, an ill-fitted Invsialign aligner may not fully cover all of your teeth, which can result in painful areas that get missed or cut by the aligner. Poorly fitted Invisalign aligners may also irritate the soft tissues inside your mouth, such as your gums and cheeks.
The stretching pressure exerted by the almost invisible aligner is intended to move your teeth into their more ideal position. If too much pressure is applied it can cause soreness and discomfort that exceeds the normal level of mild discomfort associated with Invisalign use. To reduce this possibility, ensuring that you are using the custom-made aligners as prescribed and seeking regular check-ups from your orthodontist will help to ensure that excessive amounts of force are not being applied during treatment.
Too Tight Aligners
When aligners are too tight, they can cause discomfort or even pain. In order for the aligners to work, they must be tight enough to put pressure on your teeth, forcing them into their new position. However, if the trays are too tight and do not allow for your teeth to move easily through the treatment process, it can cause discomfort or pain in the jaw and teeth area.
Poorly Designed Aligners
Poorly designed aligners can increase the chance of pain and discomfort, as the Invisalign tray may be too tight or press unevenly against the teeth. Loose-fitting aligners can become off-track and cause your teeth to move in the incorrect direction. This can also lead to physical pain from the mouthguard itself. It is important to ensure that your aligners are created properly by a certified orthodontist and fit perfectly on your teeth for optimal comfort and results.
Poor Oral Hygiene
If teeth and gums are not adequately cleaned before aligners are used, food particles and plaque can accumulate between aligners and teeth. This can result in inflammation, gum tenderness, and soreness in the jaw area.
It is important to brush at least twice a day and floss regularly to remove food particles and plaque buildup. Additionally, you should use a special Invisalign cleaning solution or denture tablets to keep your aligners clean each night. Doing this will help reduce pain associated with Invisalign treatment considerably.
How to Reduce Pain
Wearing Invisalign can cause some discomfort, especially in the first few weeks. The pain can be mitigated though, with some simple steps.
Wear the Aligners for Less Time
One of the most effective ways to reduce pain caused by your Invisalign aligners is to wear them for less time. Your dentist or orthodontist likely told you to wear your aligners for 20-22 hours each day in order to achieve results in the shortest amount of time possible. While this can be great for achieving results, it can also lead to uncomfortable pain and irritation in your mouth.
Cutting down on your wear time can help reduce discomfort and make wearing them much more enjoyable. It is important to note that wearing the aligners for less time than recommended by your dentist or orthodontist will slow down treatment progress and lengthen the overall treatment duration.
Depending on individual needs, it might be advisable to decrease alignment wear gradually over time until a comfortable amount is determined. If you find yourself requiring significantly reduced alignment time, it might be worthwhile discussing different treatment options with your dental professional.
Use Pain Relief Products
Using over-the-counter pain relief products is a simple way to reduce pain caused by Invisalign. Pain relief medications, including ibuprofen, aspirin, and acetaminophen can all be used to relieve pain from Invisalign. However, it is important to talk to your doctor before using these medications. Some people may not be able to safely use certain types of pain relief medication due to preexisting conditions or allergies.
If you do decide to take over-the-counter medicine, it’s important that you:
- Take the recommended dosage and do not exceed it.
- Follow the dosing recommendation and not taking more than the advisable amount.
Products such as topical numbing creams are also an option for providing temporary relief from your Invisalign pain. Numbing cream is easy to find over the counter or by prescription from your doctor. It works by blocking nerve impulses in your skin so that you feel less soreness from your Invisalign treatment. Just make sure that you follow all instructions on the packaging when using this product so that you don’t accidentally cause any harm or discomfort with its use.
Seek Professional Help
Your orthodontist or dentist can identify potential problems and provide treatment options, such as providing you with a new set of trays, referring you for additional treatments, recommending mouthwashes and ointments, or transitioning you into a clear retainers program rather than completing the Invisalign process. With professional help, you can get back on track to achieving your desired smile without having to worry about continued pain every day.
If you are experiencing Invisalign discomfort and/or pain, it is important to consult with your orthodontist as soon as possible. Your orthodontist will be able to assess the cause of the pain and develop an appropriate plan of action in order to help reduce discomfort and ensure successful treatment outcomes.