Invisalign. Everyone knows that orthodontic treatment has cosmetic benefits. For kids and adults alike, an attractive smile boosts confidence and self-esteem like nothing else. However, there are even more important reasons to get problems corrected. Misaligned teeth can cause significant oral health issues that tend to get worse with aging.
Braces Can Be a Pain
If you’ve made the smart decision to get treatment for yourself or your child, you’re probably concerned about the discomfort of wearing braces. No orthodontic remedies, including Invisalign, are without a little pain. Knowing what to expect will make the process easier on kids and parents.
Discomfort is rarely continuous throughout treatment. The occasions when you’ll feel the most pain are listed below:
- first wear the aligners
- Your doctor gives you new aligners
- You must remove and replace the aligners
Initial Wear and Adjusted Aligners
The aligner trays are made of thermoplastic and are specially fitted for each patient. The plastic is quite rigid; otherwise, the treatment wouldn’t work. Some degree of pressure and soreness is common until you get used to wearing them.
Alignment takes place over a series of gradual adjustments to specific teeth. Each time the orthodontist moves on to the next correction, you’ll get brand new trays. You will probably feel soreness in new places. It’s rare, however, for all of your teeth to hurt at the same time.
On the bright side, adjustments are less frequent than those for metal appliances. You’ll spend less time in the orthodontist’s office. Also, you’ll escape some of the irritants, like wires and rubber bands, that come with conventional hardware.
Invisalign Removal and Replacement
The aligners should be removed each time you eat. The act of chewing can crack, bend or otherwise damage the trays. Forceful chewing or eating tough foods could destroy their shape. When they become misshapen, they no longer work as they should.
Removing and replacing the aligners can be inconvenient and painful until you get used to the process. When you’re hungry enough, whatever you have to do to eat eventually becomes second nature.
Frequent sips of cool water are good for your teeth, gums and overall health. Drinking water will also alleviate irritation and mild pain. Don’t remove your aligners when you drink water.
As for other beverages, including those listed below, you shouldn’t drink them while wearing the aligners:
- Hot drinks like coffee, tea or hot chocolate
Extremely hot beverages can warp the plastic. Again, maintaining the original shape of your trays is necessary for achieving the best results.
Any drink that stains your teeth will stain the clear plastic as well. Not only that, but tartar quickly builds up on the surface.
The sugar and acidity in sodas and some juices are horrible for teeth to begin with. The sugar invites tooth decay, and the acid content wears down tooth enamel. Allowing these liquids to linger between the plastic trays and the surface of your teeth is just asking for trouble.
Always remove your trays to brush and floss your teeth. Thoroughly follow your doctor’s instructions for cleaning your trays separately.
One of the hardest adjustments to orthodontic care is learning to talk around the gear in your mouth. This is especially true of metal equipment, but even the thin plastic of Invisalign can affect speech in small ways. For one thing, you may salivate more than usual when you first start to wear the aligners.
The most common complaints are lisping and poor enunciation. For example, T and S sounds may not be as crisp as they normally are. Usually, speech problems become less noticeable or disappear completely after a few days. More than half of all patients say that issues were minor and short term.
These tips will help you get through the pain and awkward speech:
It may be easier to get accustomed to wearing the aligners by starting at night. You’ll most likely sleep through the initial pain, which is the worst of it, and be better prepared for removing the trays to eat breakfast. Your mouth will get an eight-hour head start on adjusting. Wearing your trays through the night also eats up almost half of the 20 hours per day of recommended wear.
- If eating is unavoidable while you’re wearing the aligners, eat only soft foods. Your doctor won’t be happy about it, but you’re less likely to do damage if you stick to applesauce or mashed potatoes rather than crunchy tacos or beef jerky.
- At least twice a day, apply a cold compress to the cheek or jaw area that is sore. Keep it on for 10 minutes or so.
- Sucking on ice cubes helps alleviate minor pain, but resist the temptation to chew the ice.
- Ask your doctor to recommend a nonprescription anti-inflammatory medicine.
- If you’re self-conscious about your speech, practice clearer enunciation by reading out loud. Friends or family members may get a kick out of coaching you. Your own brain, however, is pretty good at compensating for things like orthodontic equipment. The issue will probably correct itself. There are a number of reasons to prefer Invisalign over conventional braces. They are far less noticeable. It’s easier to keep your teeth and your trays clean. You can view virtual results – that image of the winning smile in your future has a funny way of relieving mild, temporary pain. Still, every dental problem is unique. Only a highly trained, experienced orthodontist is qualified to recommend the treatment that’s best for you.
Dr. Gluck would love to spend time with you or your child. He and his office staff expect your nervousness about the procedure and welcome your questions. The ambiance is warm, casual and fun. There are plenty of perks for the kids.
Call Dr. Gluck today to schedule a consultation.
2125 Blakemore Avenue
Phone: 615 269 5903
Dr. Joel Gluck has practiced orthodontics since 1983 when he opened his own office in Nashville. He earned his undergraduate degree at Washington University in St. Louis, and his dental degree at the University of Tennessee. Dr. Gluck then completed an orthodontic specialty residency at the University of Michigan, one of the top five orthodontic training residencies in the country. He also wrote an original thesis and received a Master of Science degree.