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By Dr. Saleh Al-Daghreer

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invisalign

 

    We’ve all been there – coming back from a dental procedure that was completely new territory, and feeling that dreaded, irritating soreness beginning its ascent from our teeth, and into our jaw.


    Replacing and updating your trays isn’t exactly a procedure, but can inflict some discomfort. This is due to new pressure from positioning the teeth within your mouth; in fact, 54% of Invisalign® users surveyed reported what they described as ‘mild pain’ when switching trays. Though this pain may not be ideal, there was a study found that states you aligners will induce less pain than regular braces.


    All people are different, and all people find discomfort within different things – the good news is that if you fall into the percentage of the population with a low pain tolerance, there are a variety of methods to aid in bringing you relief from any discomfort, soreness or pain; even better, many of them don’t include just using ibuprofen and hoping for the best! You can speak exclusively with your Orthodontist about what will work best for you for the duration of your treatment process, but in the meantime, here are some helpful tips you can take with you, and ask your dentist about!



  • Use Your Aligners Frequently

 

 

    This one seems obvious, especially considering that the standard Invisalign® process clearly outlines that your trays must be worn for a minimum of 22 hours per day in order to be effective. However, in addition to keeping your treatment on track, frequent usage of your trays will help your teeth to better adjust to their transformation in a shorter period of time – it may not be instant relief, and it may not feel better to leave them in if they’re irritating you, but it will pay off in a short amount of time! All you have to do is wait it out.

 


  • Switch to New Trays When Going to Sleep

 

 

switching trays

 

    This may be one of the best pieces of advice I can offer to you! Switching to new aligners is going to be a little uncomfortable – why would you want to be awake for that? The first few hours of wearing your aligners that you haven’t adjusted to yet are the most difficult to endure, so if you put yourself through them while you’re unconscious, you’ll be able to cut out the hardest part and move on to the recovery. If you’re asleep, chances are you won’t be able to feel slight amounts of pain or discomfort. Also, you are going to wear the aligner for a long and uninterrupted period of time.



 

  • Protect Your Tongue

 

 

    We’ll keep this one short and sweet! The new trays have the potential to cause calluses on your tongue and cheeks, which are hard to escape if your aligners are in your mouth for a huge percentage of your day. Ask your orthodontist for some wax to place on the rougher edges of your trays to eliminate any harsh contact with your flesh. If needed, talk to your orthodontist about how you can have those rough edges taken care of.

 

    It may be tempting to file the aligners down yourself, especially if they become a nuisance, but they may be crucial to the development of your teeth, and you wouldn’t want to obstruct the reconstructive process. It’s always best to leave the alterations to the professionals!

 


  • Chew Through the Pain!

 

 

chew through the pain

 

    No, I don’t mean you should grab the closest crispy, crunchy food and go to town – go for something soft! The last thing you’d assume you’d want to do while dealing with an annoying throbbing in your teeth or jaw is chew on something and worsen it, but I promise you, it’s effective for pain relief! Why? Chewing will increase the blood flow, which has the potential to reduce pain.

 

    You can opt for traditional chewing gum (with your aligners removed, of course) or ask your orthodontist for other alternatives that may help to alleviate any pain as you adjust.



 

  • Utilize Painkillers Wisely, When Necessary

 

 

    Most of us have our preferred painkiller when we’re experiencing any amount of discomfort, and know what dosage to take. Some people find that they can just ride out the few days/weeks of discomfort, but others need a bit of a helping hand.

 

    If the pain is triggered by inflammation from the aligners pushing against your teeth, anti-inflammatories are most likely the preferred method to look into to accurately treat your discomfort. Advil or Ibuprofen may be your go to’s here, though always be careful to never consume on an empty stomach. Analgesics like Tylenol can also be used to control pain.

 

    However, if the pain is caused from tensing your jaw or grinding your teeth, a muscle relaxant may be the preferred route to take. If this is the route you take, make sure to consult your orthodontist first, and avoid operating any heavy machinery or driving with these medications.

 

 

Dr. Saleh Al-Daghreer

Dr. Saleh Al-Daghreer, BDS, PhD, FRCD (C), an Edmonton Orthodontist who is a registered specialist and a fellow of the Canadian Royal College of Dentists of Canada in the specialty of orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics. He received his undergraduate degree in Dentistry in 2003 and his PhD in Orthodontics in 2012 from the University of Alberta. He founded City Orthodontics and Pediatric Dentistry to provide care in the City of Edmonton.

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