does invisalign hurt - savia dental clinica malta and gozo

Are you considering straightening your teeth with clear aligners like Invisalign? Invisalign treatment is a dental treatment that works to straighten misaligned or crooked teeth through a series of clear aligners. These aligners slowly move your teeth into the right position.

One of the biggest concerns about Invisalign treatment in Malta for most patients is whether it is painful. The good news is that you have nothing to worry about. While the tooth movements caused by the aligners might cause some minor discomfort, soreness or aches, the pain is short-lived (normally only for the first few days) and can vary from person to person. That said, it is important to know what to expect when you start your Invisalign treatment.

If you have any Invisalign treatment-related questions, you can book an appointment online or contact us directly on (+356) 2125 7253 (Skyparks Business Centre, Malta International Airport), or (+356) 2155 7323 (Dingli Street, Victoria, Gozo). For international patients, it is recommended to request a free e-consultation where we can discuss your individual case and treatment options.

Invisalign discomfort for the first week

The most common time when patients experience pain is during the first week when they start using Invisalign or when they switch their aligner trays. During this period, your teeth may ache and the aligners might feel quite tight as they work to move your teeth into a new position. So, it will take you a while to get used to this new shift. During this time, you may experience pain in the:

  • Jaw and muscles: Discomfort in the jaws and muscles is not uncommon especially when starting or changing to a new set of trays. The soreness is caused by the clenching or grinding of the jaws during the day or night.
  • One or several teeth: The main goal of Invisalign is to move teeth. This movement can cause some pain or discomfort in one or several of your teeth.
  • Tongue: Pain on the tongue is uncommon but can happen especially after changing to a new set of aligners. This is because the tongue may rub against the edges of the trays, resulting in a sore or ulcer on the tongue.

How long does the discomfort last?

Keeping in mind that every individual’s experience with Invisalign varies, any pain and discomfort with Invisalign is more likely to last for the first couple of days of wearing your aligners and potentially whenever you swap the aligner trays. However, the pain should pass within 48 hours or less.

When is it a concern?

Invisalign pain should be a concern if it significantly interferes with your daily activities. Here are some of the incidents when it becomes a concern:

  • Bleeding teeth or gums
  • Severe pain when eating, drinking or swallowing food
  • Sensitivity to hot or cold foods and drinks
  • Pain that is accompanied by facial swelling

Dealing with Invisalign pain and discomfort

If your Invisalign treatment is causing you pain, there are a few things that you can do to alleviate it:

OTC medications

You can always use over the counter pain relievers like paracetamol, ibuprofen, aspirin or any other painkiller during the first few days. However, be sure to ask your orthodontist if it’s safe for you to take OTC painkillers, especially if you take other medicines or have an underlying condition. Also, make sure to follow the directions of use and dosage as recommended.

Dental wax

If you are experiencing gum pain from Invisalign, dental wax can help alleviate the discomfort. Dental wax is a topical cream that can be applied directly to the edges of your aligners. Lubricating these edges can help ease the friction that may be causing your gum pain.

Drink cold water

Cold water helps to reduce pain in the sore areas in your mouth. Drink the cold water while still wearing your Invisalign aligners. While at it, avoid sugary drinks like soft drinks or juice as they can end up causing cavities.

Suck on ice cubes

Ice cubes help to numb the sore areas in your mouth. Make sure to suck the ice cubes and not chew on them. Chewing on hard ice cubes can cause you unnecessary pain while wearing Invisalign.

Switch to new aligners before bed

When it’s time to put on new aligners, wear them a few hours before retiring to bed as opposed to inserting them in the morning. This way, your teeth and mouth will have more uninterrupted time to adapt to the new Invisalign fit while you sleep. This will help ease the pain since you will be asleep throughout the initial adjustment period. Also, during this period, you will not need to take the Invisalign in and out to eat.

Rinse your mouth with warm, salty water

It is possible for Invisalign to cause mouth sores especially if they are rubbing against your tongue or gum. If this happens, you can rinse your mouth with saltwater to reduce inflammation.

Avoid hard and crunchy foods

When your gums and teeth are sore, avoid eating hard and crunchy foods like nuts and crackers as they can worsen the pain. Stick to soft foods like tuna, bread or boiled eggs that won’t cause you pain when you bite into them.

Avoid taking out your aligners too often

Some patients have reported that they experience less pain by wearing their aligners over a long period. Ideally, Invisalign aligners should be worn at least 20 to 22 hours per day. Only take them out when eating, drinking or brushing your teeth.

When to call your dentist

You should call your orthodontist if your Invisalign trays continue to cause pain after a week of use. Your orthodontist should be able to adjust your trays so that they fit more comfortably. Just keep in mind that there might be mild discomfort every time you switch to new trays at the end of two weeks but this is much less than the initial few days.

Just like any other dental appliance, Invisalign can cause pain and discomfort. But unlike traditional braces, Invisalign is thought to be less painful and more comfortable as they are very smooth. Plus, as you grow more accustomed to your aligners and your teeth get used to shifting, the pain should ease after the first 48 hours of putting them on. If, however, the pain persists or worsens while using Invisalign, contact your orthodontist.

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Savina Clinic – Dental & Implantology Centres are friendly, state-of-the-art practices in Malta and Gozo dedicated to comprehensive quality dental care. Savina Dental is an innovative dental practice in Malta and prides itself on the high-quality customer service, low waiting room times, attention to detail and the advanced dental technology at their disposal.

If you would like to book an orthodontic or Invisalign braces consultation at Savina Dental, please book your appointment using this form.

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Joseph Xuereb
Principal Dental Surgeon & Owner of Savina Dental Clinics, Dr Joseph Xuereb BChD (Hons), MFGDP(UK), MGDS RCS(Eng), FFGDP RCS(UK), FICD is a general dental practitioner with a special interest in Implant and Restorative Dentistry. Dr Joseph & the teams' full biographical information can be found here.