When patients are considering Invisalign braces, it’s only natural that they have plenty of questions – after all, it’s a treatment that requires commitment and effort, so it’s definitely not something to be undertaken lightly.
One of the most frequently asked questions is whether or not Invisalign aligners hurt. Although Invisalign isn’t 100% free from pain or discomfort, the treatment method is considerably less painful than other orthodontic treatment methods, particularly traditional metal braces.
Of course, given that Invisalign involves the movement and straightening of the teeth, you should expect some pain and discomfort. But how much does it hurt? How can you prevent the pain? And how should you treat it when it does occur?
How much do Invisalign braces hurt?
Invisalign braces hurt considerably less than traditional metal braces, but that’s not to say that you wont experience any pain or discomfort at all. Generally speaking, however, the pain only really occurs when you first have your aligners fitted and when you move on to a new pair. After a few days, the pain should subside.
What causes the pain?
When it comes to Invisalign braces, there are a number of different potential causes of pain.
- Pressure on the teeth – When you put pressure on the teeth, it understandably results in a certain level of soreness. Invisalign aligners are designed to move the teeth in a certain direction and, in order to do this, they have to put pressure on your teeth. This soreness often arises on the first day of wearing a new set of aligners and fades over the next few days.
- Rubbing on the mouth – With traditional braces, much of the pain felt is caused by the brackets rubbing against the inside of the mouth. The same happens with Invisalign braces, but on a much smaller scale. Until the mouth has adjusted, the pressing, rubbing, and scratching of the aligners against your gums, lips, and cheeks can cause a certain degree of pain and discomfort. This is because, whilst the aligners are not sharp, they can rub and press against your mouth.
- Once you get used to the aligners being there, however, and your mouth hardens to their rubbing, the pain will naturally start to disappear.
- Rough or sharp edges – If there are any rough or sharp edges on your Invisalign aligners, this can also cause pain and discomfort. This type of pain is, however, totally avoidable and can be resolved simply by taking the aligners back to your dentist to be fixed.
How to prevent pain…
There are a number of ways in which you can alleviate and prevent pain caused by your Invisalign aligners.
- Ride it out – As the pain should only occur when you change your aligners, many patients find that the best way to handle any pain or discomfort is simply to ride it out. After the first few days, you should find that your jaw and teeth are no longer as sore and you should be able to return to normal. Of course, if the pain is more severe or lasts longer than the first few days of the new set, you may need to find an alternative method of pain control.
- Painkillers – Over-the-counter painkillers tend to offer the perfect solution to pain caused by Invisalign. The best painkiller for the job will very much depend on what’s causing the pain. So, for example, if you’re experiencing discomfort as a result of swelling and inflammation where the aligners are pushing against your teeth, then a painkiller that works to reduce inflammation will be the most effective. Of, if the pain is being caused by you tensing your jaw or grinding your teeth, a painkiller that works by relaxing the muscles might be more effective.
- Visit your dentist – If your pain is being caused by the sharpness or roughness of the aligners, simply pop along to your dentist to have it smoothed out!