Invisalign®: Tips for Dealing With Discomfort and Irritation
Invisalign® is a popular alternative to braces offered at Brooklyn Heights Dental, which serves Downtown Brooklyn, Fort Greene, and surrounding areas. Invisalign offers several benefits that set it apart from traditional braces. Throughout treatment, patients progress through a series of clear plastic removable aligner trays. The metal-free system is more comfortable, discreet, and convenient than braces.
While Invisalign is free of metal brackets and wires that can scratch or cut the soft tissues of the mouth, patients may still experience minor tenderness when progressing through aligner trays. Here, our dentists provide Invisalign tips for dealing with discomfort and irritation so that treatment goes as smoothly as possible.
Use Over-the-Counter Pain Medication
Invisalign aligners apply subtle pressure to the teeth and jaw to encourage necessary movement. As patients progress through treatment, they periodically receive new aligners. Each set of aligners fits slightly differently, which can cause some discomfort. Soreness and irritation are most likely during the first several days after switching to new aligner trays.
While irritation is most prominent, patients can use over-the-counter pain medication to manage discomfort. Some patients take pain medication before switching to new aligners so the medicine is in their system when they insert their new aligners. Patients must use over-the-counter medication only as necessary and as directed.
Apply Cold Compresses
Cold compresses are another effective method for minimizing Invisalign discomfort. Cold compresses or ice packs (wrapped in a towel or cloth) can be applied to the cheeks near the site of irritation. The cold temperature constricts blood vessels and numbs the area to minimize pain. Cold compresses should be applied for 15 to 20 minutes at a time. The application can be repeated as often as once an hour, or as needed.
Switch to New Aligners at Night
Patients may experience discomfort for a few days after switching their aligner trays, but it is usually most prominent during the first several hours. We recommend patients switch to new aligner trays at night before bed. This allows patients to sleep through the initial period of discomfort. This method is especially effective when people take over-the-counter pain medication to reduce discomfort as they fall asleep.
Eat Soft Foods
Contrary to braces, there are no food restrictions for patients to follow while they progress through Invisalign treatment. However, it is a good idea to eat soft foods when adjusting to new aligner trays. Soft foods are easy on the teeth and jaw, so they minimize soreness. Good soft food options include pasta, rice, mashed potatoes, smoothies, soup, yogurt, and ice cream.
Wear Aligners As Directed
It can be tempting to remove Invisalign aligners when discomfort occurs, but that is not beneficial. Patients should continue to wear aligners as directed, at least 20 to 22 hours a day. The more a patient wears their aligner trays, the faster they will adjust and the irritation will subside.
Contact Us for More Advice
Invisalign is a discreet, comfortable, and convenient alternative to metal braces. If you are interested in straightening your teeth and would like to know if Invisalign is right for you, contact Brooklyn Heights Dental and schedule an appointment at your earliest convenience.