Invisalign is the most revolutionized orthodontic treatment that straightens the teeth without having to wear metal brackets and wire. Moreover, Invisalign is transparent that increasing the aesthetic level of the procedure.
Other benefits of Invisalign include more comfort and ease of use as compared to traditional braces. However, like any other orthodontic device, Invisalign can also cause mild pain and discomfort. Although the Invisalign treatment is less painful, the patients experience discomfort during the first few days of using a new aligner. (1)
Typically, aligners are changed every two weeks, just like the monthly tightening of the metal wire in traditional braces. The level of pain that occurs during invisalign varies from person to person. Modern studies have shown that about 30% of Invisalign patients experience zero pain throughout the treatment. While 50% experience mild discomfort or soreness.
Pain management techniques for Invisalign
Fortunately, the pain caused during Invisalign is manageable and can be subsided by several pain management techniques as given below –
Over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen have proved to relieve the pain and discomfort of patients with Invisalign successfully. Typically, patients find these medications to be helpful during the first few days of using a new aligner every two weeks. (2)
Naproxen is another over-the-counter pain reliever that has gained recent popularity and holds the same beneficial values as the other medicines for pain relief.
Orajel is a topical gel that is effective in relieving pain. You can apply the gel over the teeth and gums that are causing discomfort. However, the effect of Orajel is short-lived as compared to other pain relievers.
One of the best home remedies for pain relief is the use of cold compress. You can make your cold compress at home by wrapping ice cubes in a clean cloth or towel. Gently apply the cold pack on the external surface of the affected area for ten minutes and repeat this for at least two to three times per day until the soreness is relieved. (3)
Switch to a soft diet
During oral discomfort, it is best to always avoid hard or chewy food at least for the first few days of changing the aligners. Switch to a soft and cool diet that puts less pressure on the tooth. Typically a soft diet can consist of fruits and vegetables, rice, yogurt, and milk. Moreover, you can also add smoothies, pasta, and pudding in your routine diet.
Use new trays before bedtime
Often, people with Invisalign experience pain and discomfort when they switch to a new set of aligners. The best way to reduce the incidence of pain is to use it before sleeping. This way, you can sleep through the first few hours of discomfort.
Smoothen the sharp edges of Invisalign
Some aligners might have rough edges that can irritate the gums and the surrounding soft tissue, which in turn increases the pain and soreness. Smoothening, the edges can immediately provide comfort to the patient. However, it should be done carefully such that the fit of the aligner is not disturbed. The best way to get it done is by a dentist during the first fit of the aligners. (4)
The duration of pain may depend on the tolerance of the patient and the pressure on the tooth. Some patients experience discomfort throughout the day, while others do not feel a thing. Therefore, it is essential always to be prepared with pain management techniques to stay comfortable throughout the treatment.
You can also contact your dentist for details on the outcome of Invisalign treatment and how to cope up with the pain.