How to Reduce the Pain and Soreness of Invisalign Aligners

Dentist Articles

Invisalign or clear aligner dental straightening is often touted as the least invasive and the most comfortable form of orthodontia you can choose. This is one of the reasons why aligners are considered a great alternative to metal braces when adults want to straighten their teeth. While aligners are more comfortable, tooth movements still require pressure on the teeth and the breakdown and rebuilding of bone cells across the jaw. This process occurs fairly quickly and easily for young adults. The jaw grows and changes its shape significantly between the ages of 14 and 20. The jaw is pliable at this time, and teeth move without much resistance. However, as the jaw stops growing, the bone becomes dense and strong. This means that you may feel more discomfort as an adult who chooses to undergo clear aligner straightening. If you find the jaw pain you are experiencing bothersome, then follow the tips below to reduce your discomfort.

Change Aligners Right Before Bedtime

Clear aligner sets are usually worn for about two weeks before they are exchanged for a new pair. Most people are eager to advance the movements of their teeth, so the aligners are slipped into the mouth immediately after they are picked up from the orthodontist's or cosmetic dentist's office. This is a mistake if you want to reduce discomfort. Clear aligners are the most painful when they are first slipped into the mouth. When pressure is first placed on the teeth, the dental ligament is stretched, and pressure is placed on the jaw. This means that you are likely to feel both soft tissue and bone pain. 

To reduce your discomfort, do not place new aligners in your mouth right away. Instead, what until bedtime to slip them in. This way you can sleep through most of the discomfort. Fortunately, your sensory system relaxes while you sleep, and this helps to reduce sensations like stress, pressure, and pain. By the time you wake up, the dental ligament will be stretched out, and any sharp jaw pain will have subsided. 

You may feel some aching before you fall asleep in the evening, and some pain can keep you awake. To keep this from happening, make sure to take an anti-inflammatory medication right before bed. Over-the-counter pain relievers like Motrin and Tylenol are often suggested by dentists to reduce dental discomfort, so take one of these medicines before bed.

Remove Aligners with a Hook

Pressure and stress on the jaw can exacerbate discomfort during the Invisalign process. Reducing stress is one of the easiest ways to minimize soreness. Unfortunately, some of the pressure comes about when the clear aligners are removed or snapped over the teeth. Aligners tend to suction over the teeth and may be difficult to remove. Quick removal is best to stop soreness, so invest in a removal tool to get the aligners out of your mouth more easily 

This tool is a small plastic hook that grips onto the aligner edge to pull the braces away from the teeth. When using the tool, slip the hook end under the aligner near the molars. The back edge of each aligner will snap off first, so grip the edge with your fingers once it is removed by the hook to pull the aligner out the rest of the way. 

Strongly Secure the Aligners

As previously mentioned, you will feel the most pain when the aligners are first placed in the mouth and the dental ligaments stretch. Some teeth will be shifted more aggressively than others during certain points in the treatment. When the movements are scheduled and you place the aligners in the mouth, you may see openings or gaps in the aligner where the teeth need to shift. If you do not push the teeth into the openings when you first start the new set of aligners, then your teeth will move into place more slowly. This means prolonged stress on the jaw and continual stretching of the dental ligament.

You can reduce the length of time that you feel discomfort by helping your teeth move into the openings in the aligners. Place the aligners in your mouth first and then wet a washcloth. Place the washcloth underneath or over the aligner where you see the space or gap and bite down gently. You can do this throughout the next day or two until the aligner fully snaps over the teeth and you no longer see the gap. 

Talk to a dental or orthodontic professional, such as one from Family Dentistry Of Woodstock, for more information.


2 September 2016