What Are the Discomforts? [with Invisalign]

The days of braces being the only viable option to straighten your teeth are over.  The advances in clear aligner therapy over the last few years now allow most orthodontic problems to be corrected with aligners (Invisalign) or braces, depending on the patients preferences and needs.   This is also dependent on the skill level of the orthodontist treating the case.

pain cheek



Braces as an Option

Any braces FAQ listed on any website will note the many restrictions that are built in to wearing them. Clear aligners do provide many advantages over braces.  But in some cases, braces are a superior option to clear aligners.  Only after a comprehensive examination completed by a skilled orthodontist can the patient be sure they are receiving the treatment they need to correct their alignment and bite problems.

Available Alternatives

Potential patients looking for alternatives very likely might be confused as to other options. Two decades ago, there weren’t really any when a trip to the orthodontic office became necessary, but the introduction of clear aligners, such as Invisalign , has changed the conversation in a dramatic way.  Now, both teenagers and adults can fix their teeth without friends and acquaintances even realizing it.

The Issue of Discomfort

One of the few drawbacks to clear aligner therapy is the discomfort that accompanies the change in aligners (also known as trays) every 7-10 days.  Aligner changes have a similar effect to wire changes during traditional braces treatment.  The changes allow incremental alignment of the teeth.

The aligners are made of lightweight plastic, which means they won’t be difficult to either insert or remove. However, getting used to the discomfort at the start of each new aligner can be a challenge to some people.  The level of discomfort varies from person to person.

Since this may take place anywhere from a handful of times to virtually once a week, it’s best to get used to them by changing to new trays right before going to sleep for the night. That way, whatever initial discomfort is felt will likely not be felt as you sleep for hours.

The main discomforts that patients must deal with are:

  • Soft or tender teeth and gums:

    There are circumstances in which discomfort may present itself, with the most prominent example coming with regard to teeth and gums, where more pressure in this area might make a feeling of tenderness more pronounced, which likely means some pain is likely. It’s estimated that about half of these patients experience that feeling that has its origins in the aligners. Either removing them or putting them back in will be the cause. However, the good news is that this issue takes place in the earliest stages of the process, which means that as the gums and teeth get used to this happening, the level of pain slowly fades away.

  • Sore tongue:

    This generally takes place within the first week of a new aligner and might be due to a sharper edge that’s causing the irritation. The feeling is much like the tip of the tongue has been burned.

  • Pain during eating or drinking:

    Taking out the aligners is suggested before eating since they might be bent or cracked during eating.  Since higher chewing forces usually occur with harder foods, it’s recommended to eat soft foods for the first few days of treatment . Despite any discomfort, it is imperative for the trays to be worn 24 hours a day as recommended.   This will allow any soreness to subside and for the patient to become accustomed to the trays.  While water is okay to drink while wearing them, it’s best to avoid the extremes of ice cold and hot drinks and instead focus on either cool or room temperature water. That’s because those extreme temperatures can damage the aligners.

  • Speaking issues:

    In rare instances, wearing the aligners has the potential to affect an individual’s speech, causing them to either slur their words or speak with a lisp. While this isn’t a physical issue, it can still be upsetting for many people. However, taking the time to practice speaking with the aligners in private will usually allow the patient to positively adapt to their new situation in a few days.

The Differences with Invisalign Teen

While not necessary for adults, Invisalign Teen is for those who still have some of their permanent teeth erupting.  Additional aligners to replace lost or broken aligners are included as part of the fee.  This is due to the hectic social life that many teenagers have, resulting in them misplacing or losing aligners that need to be worn in progression to get the most out of them.

Their youth also means that they may not be wearing the aligners as instructed by both the orthodontist and parents. Therefore, the Invisalign Teen aligners have a blue dot on each of them. The dot fades according to the prescribed schedule, so if the blue dot is still clearly evident after a period of time, parents can immediately tell and then reinforce the importance of wearing them to the teenager.



The Orthodontic Answer

Nease and Higginbotham are the Spartanburg, Duncan, and Gaffney orthodontists with the experience to handle this process. The personable and knowledgable staff knows the ins and outs of this method. They can aid you in making sure whatever discomfort you may have is limited in duration. So make an appointment today.


Nease & Higginbotham Orthodontics
2455 E. Main Street
SC 29307
(864) 579-7700


What Are the Discomforts? [with Invisalign]

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