One of the most common cosmetic dental concerns is tooth alignment. In fact, almost everyone has some type of malocclusion. For many years, the primary option for treating these issues was traditional metal braces. Unfortunately, these were not aesthetically pleasing and could be uncomfortable, so many patients simply ignored their misalignment- which led to additional issues.
Naturally, when Invisalign clear aligners were introduced to the market, patients were interested. In fact, this is one of the most popular orthodontic treatment methods at 5th and Olive Dental in Seattle.
While more comfortable than traditional braces, some patients do experience pain with Invisalign. In this article, we’ll explore how to deal with the pain associated with Invisalign, as well as when you should contact the dentist.
What is Invisalign?
Invisalign is a discreet alternative to traditional metal braces for resolving mild to moderate malocclusion. It is a system of clear plastic trays designed to place even pressure on teeth to shift them into their appropriate position in the jaw.
How long does Invisalign hurt?
Typically, pain with Invisalign only lasts for about 2 to 3 days following installation of a new aligner. However, this means that every time you switch to a new aligner, you may have to deal with the pain again. On the other hand, you may find that the pain is more tolerable as time goes on.
What pain is normal?
One study found that 54% of Invisalign patients experienced mild, temporary pain. On the other hand, approximately 35% had no pain at all to report. This same study indicated that 44% of Invisalign patients reported discomfort while chewing.
There are a few factors that increase the risk of pain with Invisalign treatment, including
Lower pain tolerance
Some patients only experience pain in one tooth, which indicates that the aligners are working. Usually, you won’t feel the pain in the same tooth with each aligner change and the pain resolves within a few days.
When is the Invisalign pain a concern?
If you do experience pain with Invisalign treatment, it should not be severe enough to interfere with your daily activities. If you experience the following symptoms with pain, you should contact the office right away:
Pain with swelling
Sensitivity to heat/cold
Pain when eating/drinking
Pain when swallowing
How to deal with Invisalign pain?
While the pain with Invisalign treatment is typically mild and temporary, some people are unable to tolerate the discomfort. There are a few things you can do to improve your experience with the aligners.
Dental wax, which is often used with traditional braces to keep the brackets from scraping the cheeks, lips, and tongue, can help with Invisalign aligners. Typically, it is the top edges of the aligners that are the roughest. By applying dental wax to the tops of the aligners, you can eliminate the friction that causes pain.
Another option is OTC medications such as aspirin, acetaminophen, or ibuprofen on the days when the pain is the worst. However, if you have any underlying medical conditions or if you take any prescription medications, you should consult with your medical provider to ensure that these are safe.
Avoid Chewing on Affected Tooth
If the pain is isolated to a particular tooth, you can avoid putting pressure on that tooth by chewing on the opposite side until the pain begins to resolve.
Avoid Removing Aligners for an Extended Period of Time
Finally, while it may be tempting to take your aligners out when they are causing pain, it’s important to wear them as directed. Aligners should be worn for at least 20 to 22 hours a day. If you take them out any longer than that, you may reduce your overall pain tolerance as well as increase your treatment time.
Is Invisalign worth it?
While there are a few disadvantages associated with Invisalign clear aligners, the advantages far outweigh these. The advantages of Invisalign treatment include:
No food restrictions
Easy oral hygiene
The disadvantages of Invisalign treatment include:
The advantages far outweigh the disadvantages- and the cost is comparable to that of traditional metal braces. The primary difference is insurance coverage. Many providers will not cover this treatment method. However, there are financing options that can help make paying for your treatment more manageable.
When to see a doctor?
If you are still experiencing pain after a week or if the pain worsens, you should call the dentist. In some cases, they can make some adjustments to the aligners to improve comfort. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the pain may return every time you switch to a new set of aligners.
Find Out if You Could Benefit From Invisalign
Invisalign is one of the most popular options for resolving mild to moderate tooth misalignment. If you have a misalignment, schedule your consultation with the team at 5th and Olive Dental on Olive Way in Seattle.
One of our highly qualified dental professionals will perform a comprehensive exam and discuss your goals for treatment. If you qualify, treatment will begin by creating a mold or digital image of your teeth and sending it to the lab for the fabrication of your aligners. If not, we can recommend the best course of treatment to help you achieve your perfectly straight smile.
We are located at 509 Olive Way in Seattle. Our office hours are Tuesday through Thursday from 7:00 AM to 4:00 PM. We are also available on Saturdays by appointment only. We look forward to helping you create your perfect smile.
The team at 5th and Olive Dental understand that it’s important for you to understand your treatment options. Therefore, we will be happy to take the time to discuss your questions or concerns. Below are some of the most common questions that we’ve gotten about Invisalign treatment.
Can you eat with Invisalign?
No, you should never eat while wearing your aligners. They should be removed to avoid causing damage or encouraging the growth of bacteria and plaque.
How long does Invisalign take?
Invisalign can take as little as 6 months for a very mild malocclusion or as long as 24 months for a more severe one. The average treatment time is around 12 to 18 months.
Does Invisalign work?
According to dental professionals, Invisalign alone has been proven effective for resolving most mild to moderate malocclusions. However, some research indicates that it may be effective for more severe misalignment when used along with buttons and/or rubber bands.
How to clean Invisalign?
Invisalign is easy to clean. Every time you remove or put your aligners in, you should rinse them under cool water. For deeper cleaning, gently brush with a soft-bristled toothbrush once daily to loosen plaque and food debris buildup.
How much does Invisalign cost?
Invisalign ranges from a low of around $1,500 to a high of around $8,000. The primary factor is the number of aligners needed and the length of time for wearing them.
Can Invisalign fix overbite?
Yes, according to experts, Invisalign has been proven effective for resolving most mild to moderate overbite.