Using invisible aligners to straighten your teeth is generally a lot less painful than using braces, since there are no poky metal pieces that dig into your tongue and cheeks. However, many patients do experience some mouth soreness with invisible aligners. After all, they are pushing your teeth around in your jaw. This pain is often at its worst in the couple of days after you switch to a new aligner, since this is when the aligner is pushing the hardest on your teeth.
Here are a few tips to help you deal with new-aligner mouth soreness, so you can stay happy and productive even on the first few days after switching aligners.
Tip #1: Rinse your mouth with salt water after brushing your teeth.
Salt water is often touted for its ability to treat gum disease and infections in the mouth, but it has another surprising effect – it reduces inflammation. The salt helps pull excess liquid out of your gum tissues. When your gums are less inflamed, your mouth soreness will subside because there will be slightly less pressure placed on your teeth and gums by the aligners.
Rinsing with saltwater is easy. You can use sea salt or just regular table salt. Pour about a teaspoon (there's no need to measure) into a glass, and fill the glass up with warm water. Rinse a mouthful around, and spit it out. Repeat until there is no more salt water in your cup.
Tip #2: Take ibuprofen.
You have to be careful when using ibuprofen to deal with mouth soreness, since using it for extended periods of time increases your risk of heart issues and stomach bleeding. However, it's pretty safe to take this drug for just a day or two at a time when your mouth is its sorest. Follow the dosing instructions on the bottle, and stop taking ibuprofen if you do experience upset stomach, vomiting, chills, bloody stool, blurry vision or other side effects.
Tip #3: Focus on eating only soft foods.
One of the benefits of invisible aligners is that they allow you to eat whatever you want, since you remove them before eating. Crunchy apples and pretzels are not off limits like they are for people with braces. However, avoiding crunchy foods during the first few days after you switch aligners will help ease your soreness. Munching on crunchy foods puts additional strain on your teeth, but sticking to soft foods like mashed potatoes, pudding, soups, yogurt and applesauce for the first day or two after switching aligners will help keep you comfortable.
When your invisible aligners are bothering you, just remember that the pain is temporary. In a few days, your soreness will diminish again, and in a few months, your straight teeth will make it all worthwhile.
For more information, contact Dr. Jeffery Spilman DDS or a similar dental professional.