One of the most common questions we hear about Invisalign treatments is whether or not they hurt. Those who are familiar with traditional metal braces know that while the pain you feel might never be intense, there is a certain amount of pain that comes along with this time of orthodontic treatment. Invisalign is often advertised as being pain-free, or, at the very least, less painful than metal braces.
But that doesnt mean that Invisalign doesnt hurt. When moving teeth and straightening the bite, there is bound to be some pain. How much does Invisalign hurt? And what are some ways to relieve that pain? Heres what you need to know about Invisalign, the pain level, how long does it hurt and how to alleviate any pain you might feel during your treatment:
Invisalign does hurt. In general, it is less painful than traditional metal braces, and like any type of orthodontic treatment, the pain fades after the teeth adjust to wearing the aligners and to having new aligners swapped in and out. There are a few sources of pain when it comes to Invisalign. These are, first, the soreness that comes from the aligners pressing against the teeth, and second, the pain that comes with having the aligners in your mouth.
With traditional metal braces, some of the pain that you feels comes from the brackets rubbing against the inside of the mouth and from the placement of the wire. Especially during the first few weeks of treatment, before the mouth has developed callouses to combat sensitivity, the pressing, rubbing, and scratching of the metal components against your mouth can be very uncomfortable. The same can be said for Invisalign aligners, but on a smaller scale. The edges of the aligners, while not sharp, can be irritating to your gums and the insides of your lips as your mouth gets used to wearing them. Over the first couple of weeks, however, the mouth will adjust to the feeling of wearing the aligners and will develop the necessary callouses to prevent irritation. By the time you need to switch out your first set of aligners for the next stage, your mouth is likely to be fully adjusted to wearing the plastic retainers and you wont experience any peripheral pain.
This doesnt mean, of course, that your Invisalign will be completely pain free. Because the whole point of Invisalign is to shift your teeth into a straighter, more becoming, healthier smile, the aligners have to put pressure on the teeth. Putting pressure on the teeth means soreness. This soreness can be pronounced during the first few days after putting in a fresh set of aligners, but it eventually wanes, until it is time to put in another set of aligners. Few Invisalign wearers would describe this sensation as pain, per se. For most people, it is simply discomfort, and a discomfort that you get used to and then forget about once it is over. For those with a low paint tolerance, however, it can be very uncomfortable and, at time, painful.
There is a third kind of pain that some Invisalign wearers will experience, which can be easily remedied by talking to Dr. Gemmi or Dr. Middleberg. This is pain caused by rough or sharp edges on your aligners. If you run your tongue along the edge of the aligner (which you will probably do, simply because becoming familiar with the shape and feeling of the aligners is a necessary part of getting your mouth adjusted to their presence), and you are cut or the edge of the aligner is obviously rough against your tongue, this is an issue that you should bring to our office. Pain caused by improper finishing of the aligners is completely avoidable and can be easily remedied simply by telling us where the rough or sharp edge is.
Ways to Alleviate Invisalign Pain
For some Invisalign wearers, simply riding out the pain for the few days each month that it occurs is the best way to handle the discomfort. Again, most patients find that they really only experience any discomfort for the first few days after putting in a new set of aligners. Afterwards, the jaw and teeth are no longer sore, and you can carry on with your normal life. Others may continue to feel uncomfortable in their aligners throughout the entire treatment. For those that feel this way, finding a way to relieve or at least mitigate the pain is a good idea.
Pain killers is a good place to start. Most patients have their preferred pain killer and know what dosage to take. Depending on what exactly is causing your Invisalign pain, some formulations might work better than others. For example, if your pain is being caused, as it usually is during those first few days of new aligners, by inflammation and irritation as the aligners are pushing against your teeth, a pain killer that specifically work sot reduce inflammation is a good idea.
If, on the other hand, your pain is caused by you tensing your jaw or even grinding your teeth, a pain killer that relaxes the muscles might be a better choice. If youre not sure what to take, consult a doctor or Dr. Gemmi or Dr. Middleberg. A little bit of pressure can help to relieve tension in your teeth, so dont be afraid to chew on something. Cold or hot drinks can also help to soothe aches in the teeth.
For those who are experiencing pain in relation to the sharpness or roughness of the aligners edges, that is something that can be remedied simply by bringing your aligners to us to be smoothed out!