How to Minimize Invisalign® Pain

If you’ve just gotten your new Invisalign® aligners, they may feel very strange. That’s normal. After all, you have foreign material in your mouth all day and all night. But don’t worry: That feeling disappears quickly.

Invisalign aligners have taken the world of orthodontia to a new place. More than 4 million people have used Invisalign, and the system continues to grow in popularity. It’s easy to see why. 

First, your teeth aren’t covered in metal while they’re being straightened. When you smile, people don’t notice your clear aligners; they’re practically invisible. Second, Invisalign aligners are much more comfortable than braces containing brackets and wires with sharp edges that can cut your mouth. 

Using the Invisalign system, you receive a new set of aligners every two weeks. For the first week or two you may be especially conscious of the aligners covering your upper and/or lower teeth. Except for the first few days when you change aligners, you’ll likely forget they’re even there. 

In a study published in the National Institutes of Health’s National Library of Medicine, over a third of Invisalign patients reported no pain, and just over half reported only mild discomfort. 

Kerry Bloom, DDS, has many patients at our Houston practice who choose the Invisalign system to achieve a beautiful smile with rows of straight, even teeth. Because your teeth are different from everyone else’s, you receive a personalized treatment plan with an estimate of how long your treatment is going to take. 

In most cases, you receive a new set of aligners every two weeks. It normally takes a day or two to get used to the new aligners, but after that, it’s smooth sailing. Unlike braces, there are no wires to tighten and no sharp edges that can cut your gums. The aligners are custom-made from a 3-D scan of your teeth, so they’ll apply gentle pressure on the teeth that are being straightened. 

When your aligners are brand new, they’ll likely feel very snug or tight against the crooked or misaligned teeth that are being corrected. The following are several tips to deal with any discomfort. 

Use over-the-counter pain relievers temporarily 

If you have any discomfort, take an over-the-counter pain reliever like ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Use as directed for a day or two. After that, your mouth should have adjusted to the new aligners. 

Avoid hard, crunchy foods for a couple of days

Avoid foods that put pressure on your teeth when you bite down. Leave the mixed nuts alone for a few days, along with popcorn, potato chips, and hard crackers. 

Don’t bite on ice

If you have a habit of biting down on ice chips, refraining from it helps you avoid discomfort. Plus, now is a perfect time to eliminate this bad habit, which is harmful to your teeth. 

Biting on ice is a common cause of tooth microfractures, which may crack all the way down to the tooth roots, introducing bacteria and decay along with tooth sensitivity. A tooth crack may require an expensive crown. Instead of biting the ice, try sucking on shaved ice, which melts quickly. 

Change to the next set of aligners at bedtime 

By putting in a new set of aligners just before bed, you’ll be asleep for the first eight hours they’re in your mouth. That means less time awake when they’re new. After a day or two, you’ll be much more adjusted to the new set of aligners. 

Call us to learn how Invisalign aligners can improve your smile and for all of your dental needs. 

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