Invisalign aligners are a great path to a perfect smile, and they're almost always more comfortable than braces — they don't put as much pressure on your teeth and don't have the wires that braces do. However, like any orthodontic device, it can take people some time to adjust to their aligners. If your Invisalign aligners are causing you discomfort when you wear them, read on to learn four ways that you can help relieve it.
1. Use Over-the-Counter Pain Medication
Tylenol (or any store brand acetaminophen) can reduce the swelling and discomfort you experience wearing your Invisalign aligners. You may want to consider taking some when you first start your treatment and every time you switch to a new set of aligners since that's when discomfort will be the greatest.
However, you should avoid taking other over-the-counter pain medications like ibuprofen. These medications work by inhibiting prostaglandins, and this has a side effect of slowing down the rate at which your teeth move. The effect isn't large, but your Invisalign aligners were specially created to adhere to a certain schedule. Taking ibuprofen on a regular basis could alter the course of your expected treatment.
2. When You Need To Change to a New Set of Aligners, Do It Right Before Bed
Whenever you're switching to a new set of aligners, it's a good idea to do it when you're going to bed soon. Discomfort is often greatest for the first few hours after you insert your aligners. The discomfort typically gradually dissipates over the next three days until it vanishes entirely.
The sudden increase in discomfort is due to the fact that your aligners are doing the greatest amount of work shifting your teeth during this period. Sleeping is a good way to let the aligners do their work without experiencing the discomfort associated with it. If you're having difficulty sleeping, you may wish to take an over-the-counter sleep aid to help you.
3. Apply Dental Wax to Your Gums
Before you become acclimated to wearing them, your Invisalign aligners can irritate your gums — the tops of the aligners are constantly brushing against them. One way to reduce the irritation is to purchase dental wax and apply it to the area where your gums and the aligners meet. It reduces the friction between them, which solves your problem with irritation. Dental wax is inexpensive, and you can find it at nearly every pharmacy.
4. Avoid Frequent Snacking
If you're experiencing discomfort whenever you insert your aligners, you will want to avoid snacking throughout the day. You'll need to remove your aligners every time you eat, and you'll also need to thoroughly brush and floss your teeth before you put them back in so that you don't trap food particles under your aligners.
All of the repeated brushing, flossing, and aligner placement can quickly begin to cause irritation. Sticking to larger meals and avoiding snacks reduces the amount of discomfort you'll experience.
Overall, most people who undergo Invisalign dental treatment experience only minor discomfort, which is easily relieved using the strategies listed above. If you begin to experience severe pain due to your aligners, contact your dentist or orthodontist — it may be a sign that something unrelated to your aligners is happening, and you and your orthodontist can work together to find the true cause.