If you are thinking of treating your overlapped teeth with Invisalign or dental aligners, there is a lot to consider. One of the major concerns of people opting for Invisalign revolves around the question of “Does Invisalign hurt?”. Don’t worry, you are not alone!
“Does Invisalign Hurt?” is one of the most frequently asked questions to dentists and dental care professionals. However, while Invisalign may be more comfortable compared to traditional metal braces, there is still a chance that you may experience slight pain or discomfort.
The pain experienced from Invisalign depends mostly on individual pain threshold and tolerance. In fact, according to the Penn Dental Medicine Family Practice, the potential for pain is only the greatest in the first week of using clear aligners like Invisalign.
Thus, if you experience pain longer than a week or two, it is possible that this is due to a serious condition and you must head to your orthodontist immediately.
In today’s articles we have covered everything you need to know about Invisalign pain and answered your question, “Does Invisalign hurt?”
What is Invisalign?
Quite different from the traditional braces or metal aligners, Invisalign is a proprietary method of orthodontic treatment. Invisalign uses a series of clear and removal teeth aligners as an alternative to traditional metal braces.
The primary point of difference is that Invisalign can only correct minor teeth issues like slight overlapping. If the overlapping of your teeth is significant, then you will need something more than Invisalign, perhaps metal braces or traditional aligners.
Invisalign Vs. Traditional braces
Overall it is assumed that clear aligners like Invisalign hurt less compared to the traditional metal braces, which are known as “fixed appliances”. The difference is that Invisalign helps realign your teeth with the help of softer materials like plastic instead of metal wires and brackets.
As we said, Invisalign only works for minor overlapping teeth issues. Invisalign is made of clear plastic which is considered to be more comfortable to wear.
A small-scale study was conducted in 2017, where it was reported that adults who wore metal braces instead of clear aligners and Invisalign experienced more pain and discomfort. Furthermore, in some cases, some people also had to take pain relievers during the first week of weaning fixed braces.
However, with time, one can get used to both Invisalign or fixed metal braces or any other kind of teeth aligner.
Common kinds of Aligner pain
Here is what you should expect if you are considering dental care treatment surrounding Invisalign.
- Tooth movement and Aligner fit
Most people experience minor discomfort during the entire course of their aligner treatment and especially in the first few weeks of getting the aligners placed. The pain described is often similar to pressure and tenderness. In most cases, the Invisalign aligner pain can get triggered when you take them in and out to clean or eating during meals.
However, normally the pain should be mild and nothing more than minor discomfort. It is usually tolerable.
- Pressure means that the Invisalign Aligner is working
If you notice pressure, experience pain, or minor discomfort while wearing the aligners, it is a positive sign that the Invisalign aligner treatment is working. Your teeth need some amount of pressure to realign again. We understand that the pressure might not be fun, but it is important to fix your teeth.
Furthermore, teeth aligners like Invisalign or braces cannot work without some amount of pressure.
- Gum and tongue irritation
The length and edge of some clear aligners like Invisalign might be positioned inside your mouth in such a way that it rubs against your tongue, the floor of your mouth, gums, or cheeks. This can irritate, especially if you don’t do anything to relieve the irritation.
When is the pain a concern?
As we said, it is common to experience pain in your teeth, tongue, and jaw during the first few weeks of your Invisalign treatment. But, under normal circumstances, the pain shouldn’t be severe enough to interfere with your daily activities. The pain can be a concern if you experience any of the following:
- Hot or Cold Sensitivity
- Pain accompanied by facial swelling
- Bleeding Teeth or gums
- Pain while drinking, chewing, or swallowing food or water.
How to treat the pain?
Here are a few things that you can do to treat the pain and relieve yourself temporarily:
- Dental Wax
Pain caused by Invisalign can be alleviated for the time being by using dental wax. To do this, all you need to do is apply a small amount of dental wax to the top of the edges of your Invisalign aligner. Try to apply it on the edges which are the roughest. Lubricating the edges with dental wax will prevent friction that is causing gum pain.
- OTC pain relief
Another effective way of relieving pain is by taking over-the-counter medications for pain relief. However, try to only use this on the days when the pain is most severe and almost interfering with your daily activities. Common OTC pain relief medications include acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil), or aspirin.
However, you should consult once with your doctor before taking these OTC pain medications, especially if you take other medications or have any underlying condition.
- Keep your trays in
Last but not the least, what you can do is avoid taking out the aligners for an extended period. Of course, unless recommended otherwise by your orthodontist. You can wear your Invisalign for up to 22 hours a day.
It is often tempting to take off your Invisalign aligners when you are in pain, however, you should avoid that as much as you can.
When to see the doctor?
In case of persistent pain, or if the pain persists for more than 2 weeks, you should call your doctor. Besides, if you notice any major concerns like bleeding of gums, swelling of the face, etc, it might be time to go to the orthodontist.
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