An InvisalignⓇ smile sure is beautiful… but as they say, beauty is pain.
If you’re having Invisalign treatment and your mouth is in pain, then you need relief and fast.
We’ve got you covered with these 11 tips for alleviating Invisalign pain.
But Is Invisalign Supposed to Hurt?
Besides the discomfort, you might also be feeling some confusion.
Is Invisalign supposed to feel like this?
Your sore mouth somehow doesn’t match up with all those effortlessly smiling models in Invisalign advertising.
Why Does Invisalign Hurt?
First of all, we would like to reassure you that it is normal for there to be some pain with Invisalign.
This is true of all types of teeth alignment because, well, your teeth are being forcibly moved and at a faster-than-normal rate.
Braces and teeth aligners put pressure on your teeth, which makes them, in turn, press against the bone in your jaw. The pressure triggers a breakdown in the bone tissue, which clears the way for teeth to move through. But all this forced movement can irritate the thin and sensitive ligaments around your teeth and the nerves inside your tooth roots.
As long as you move your teeth slowly and under the supervision of a dental professional, this process is controlled and safe. But it can make your mouth feel quite tender!
So yes, it is normal for Invisalign to hurt. Any honest Invisalign review will mention that there is a small degree of pain.
And there is good news: the pain will get better within a day or two of putting in a new Invisalign tray. Once your teeth have shifted a bit, the aligner will feel more comfortable. It’s just that first one or two days after putting in a new aligner that you’ll feel the most discomfort.
There could be other reasons that Invisalign is hurting you, which are outside the realm of normal. These include:
Just how painful is Invisalign?
Although the Invisalign discomfort might come as a surprise to you, it really shouldn’t be unbearable. Most patients actually describe it as just a tightness or dull ache and don’t think that it’s really painful, at all.
If you’re feeling a sharp, stabbing, burning, or truly unbearable pain, then you should contact your dentist. It could be that there is a problem you need to have addressed before you can continue with your treatment.
11 Ways To Relieve Invisalign Pain
At this point, let’s say that you’ve determined that what you’re experiencing is normal Invisalign pain.
What can you do to get some relief?
Here are our top tips.
1. Cold compresses
Cold is an excellent way to soothe swollen and sore tissues in your mouth. Press a cold compress or ice pack against your face to reduce inflammation and ease the pain of switching to new Invisalign aligners. You might even try numbing up your gums this way before you even pt the new aligner trays in.
2. Take pain medication
If you’re very sensitive to Invisalign pain, then you can take pain medication to get relief. Take whatever medication you would normally take for a headache. You won’t need a large dose. Ask your doctor before taking a medication that you’ve never used before.
You may find it most effective to take a painkiller an hour before switching trays. This will give the medication time to kick in well before the pain has time to start.
However, we don’t recommend that you take a pain medication every time you change trays. It’s better to embrace the pain rather than start a habit of frequent painkiller use. After all, the pain means it’s working!
3. Swish with warm salt water
A natural Invisalign pain relief trick is to swish with warm saltwater. Mix half a teaspoon of table salt in a glass of warm water, take a sip, gently rinse your sore gums and spit the water out. Repeat until the water is gone. Saltwater helps draw down inflammation and cleanse and soothe irritated tissues.
4. Drink or eat cold things to mitigate Invisalign pain
If an ice pack on your face isn’t cutting it, try putting cold things directly against your gums. In this instance, we recommend cold tasty things like ice cream and popsicles.
When you take your Invisalign aligners out for a meal, use the opportunity to bathe your gums in an icy cold treat.
5. Orthodontic wax
Does your Invisalign plan include orthodontic buttons or attachments? These attachments will help your treatment to be efficient, but they may scratch your lips or cheeks while you eat.
Your mouth will eventually get used to the feel of these attachments, but if you find the pain unbearable in the meantime, then some orthodontic wax could help.
Your dentist could supply you with some wax, or you could look for it yourself in a pharmacy or drugstore. Roll a tiny ball of the wax and then mold it to cover the irritating attachment at mealtimes. The smoother surface will give your mouth a much-needed break!
6. Switch to new aligners before bed
Since you might feel the most discomfort within the first few hours of wearing a new aligner, try making the switch right before bedtime. You’ll (hopefully!) be asleep during those first most sensitive hours when your teeth go through the most dramatic changes in position.
7. Avoid hard or crunchy foods
Alongside the most common question of "can you eat with Invisalign", the next important thing to keep in mind is avoiding hard food during your treatment process. When your mouth is sore from wearing a new set of Invisalign trays, the last thing you want is to gouge your gums with a crunchy tortilla chip. Stick with soft foods during your first couple of meals after putting in new aligners if you find that chewing on hard or crunchy foods makes your mouth feel sorer.
8. Use Invisalign Chewies
Invisalign Chewies are soft spongy chewing devices that can help your new aligners to fit more snugly to your teeth. By seating them securely, you’ll eliminate airspaces and help your teeth to move faster to fit the new aligner tray.
Invisalign Chewies should be used anytime you put your trays back in, such as after brushing your teeth or eating a snack.
9. Ask your dentist to soften sharp or rough aligner edges
Is it the edge of your aligner tray that’s bothering you? Sometimes, there is a bit of excess material that scrapes your gums. Ask your dentist to adjust the edges of your aligner by softening and reducing them.
A word of caution: do NOT attempt this at home! It may be tempting to try adjusting your aligner yourself, but it’s also very easy to damage it. Invisalign aligners are precisely designed to fit in a specific way to put pressure on your teeth at specific points. Trimming down the edge too far could compromise your aligner tray. Leave this job to your dentist.
10. Regular dental checkups
You should continue to maintain a routine of regular dental checkups throughout the course of your Invisalign treatment. At these appointments, they will be able to detect problems that may contribute to your Invisalign pain. These visits are also an excellent opportunity to voice your concerns and ask for specific advice on managing the discomfort.
11. Exercise your mouth by chewing
Even though hard crunchy foods can make your teeth ache or hurt your gums, the act of chewing itself can help your teeth to move faster.
The ligaments around your teeth get some exercise when you chew, so munch on fresh veggies or sugar-free chewing gum during your mealtime breaks from Invisalign. This may help your teeth to loosen up and respond better to a new set of Invisalign aligners.
Dealing with Invisalign Pain: A Summary
Whether it’s Invisalign or one of the best cheap teeth aligners, all orthodontic appliances will cause a little bit of discomfort.
Invisalign pain is normal but temporary, and there are things you can do to relieve the pain such as:
Of course, you should also check with your Invisalign doctor to make sure that the pain isn’t caused by something serious. Your Invisalign dentist can also give you more personalized tips to stay comfortable while getting the most out of your Invisalign treatment.
As mentioned before, clear aligners can cause discomfort as mentioned in the article; however, there are some brands that include in their alignment plan tools to relieve the pain like Byte. To learn more about it, we recommend reading our review of the top 6 home teeth aligners where you’ll find info about it.