Can I Expect Tooth Pain With Aligners?

A patient wondering about tooth pain with aligners.

We’ve all heard the saying, “No pain, no gain”. But does it apply to your smile?

Regardless of whether you choose braces or clear aligners, like Invisalign, you are bound to experience some discomfort. However, the amount of tooth pain with aligners, like Invisalign, is very minimal when treatment is guided by an experienced orthodontist.

Causes of Tooth Pain with Aligners

Any method of teeth straightening is sure to cause a little bit of pain or soreness. But, with Invisalign, you’ll likely experience significantly less discomfort than you would with conventional braces. The amount of discomfort depends on how severe your alignment issues are and how well the treatment process is managed. 

Tooth pain with aligners is typically mild and feels like uncomfortable pressure rather than acute pain. It’s also temporary. You’re most likely to experience discomfort when you first start using Invisalign and when you switch to a new aligner tray. This means the process is working—your teeth are moving to a new position for the first time and your teeth and mouth aren’t used to it. 

While some discomfort is expected, not all types of tooth pain with aligners are normal. If you feel discomfort, be sure to tell your orthodontist so they can determine why it is happening. Potential causes include: 

  • Shifting of teeth: Invisalign works by putting pressure on your teeth to move them into a correct position. This can be uncomfortable.
  • New trays: New trays can feel tight when they are first placed on your teeth and since you will likely change your aligners every two weeks, you can expect some initial discomfort every time they are changed out. 
  • Improperly fitted trays: If your aligners don’t fit properly, they can cause irritation and pain. An experienced orthodontist can ensure your trays fit properly.
  • Stubborn teeth: Some teeth are more stubborn than others. If a tooth or teeth aren’t moving as planned, Invisalign treatment can be more uncomfortable and your orthodontist may need to refine your treatment plan.
  • Not using Invisalign correctly: If you eat with your aligners on or don’t remove them correctly, they may become damaged and won’t fit properly, potentially leading to pain.

By understanding the cause of tooth pain with aligners, you and your orthodontist can create 

Alleviating Tooth Pain From Aligners

Pain caused by Invisalign should be temporary. Even so, even the slightest bit of discomfort can be annoying. Below are some tips to minimize pain:

  • Stay on schedule: Your aligner trays are customized specifically for you and should be changed according to the schedule advised by your orthodontist.
  • Apply a cold compress: Putting a cold compress against your skin can help reduce pain and swelling.
  • Suck on ice: Drinking cold water or sucking on an ice cube can help you minimize discomfort. Be sure to not chew the ice, as that can damage your aligners and cause more discomfort.
  • Eat soft foods: Eating hard food like nuts or chips may seem appealing, but they can end up hurting more. Try eating soft foods like bread, yogurt, bananas, and soup.
  • Switch aligners: Since new aligners tend to cause the worst soreness in the first hours, try putting in a new aligner at bedtime. Sleeping through the initial discomfort will allow you to wake up with the worst behind you.
  • Try over-the-counter pain medications: OTC painkillers like ibuprofen, aspirin, and acetaminophen can help with pain. Ask your orthodontist before taking any medication and follow the instructions for use and dosage.
  • Check the fit: If your aligners are feeling loose or are still too tight after a few days, contact your orthodontist. You may need to replace your aligners with a new set.

Minimize Pain and Maximize Your Smile

With any modification to your body, planning ahead and working with a professional are key. Working with a VIP Diamond Plus provider will help minimize your tooth pain with aligners and get the best results possible. At Beverly Hills Orthodontics, our expert team uses the latest and best tools to ensure you get the smile you want without unnecessary discomfort. Dr. Monica Madan and the BHO team are recognized as top experts in Invisalign treatment and are by your side throughout the entire teeth-straightening process.