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Invisalign aligner trays are a popular alternative to traditional braces that help straighten the teeth into a better position.
Some people have naturally sensitive teeth. If you would like to straighten your teeth using Invisalign aligners, this sensitivity may come into play.
Invisalign is generally designed to cause only mild discomfort. However, people who straighten teeth with Invisalign can experience mild tooth sensitivity, leading to discomfort.
Pain levels during orthodontic treatment may range from mild to severe. In most cases, sensitivity from Invisalign treatment is unlikely to be directly caused by the aligners.
Tooth pain from sensitivity is mainly caused by reduced tooth enamel. Enamel protects your teeth. Less enamel means less protection for your teeth.
Tooth sensitivity can also occur from:
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You may experience mild sensitivity during or right after the completion of Invisalign treatment. However, any pain caused by Invisalign usually settles down within the first few weeks of treatment.
Consult your doctor if you still have severe tooth sensitivity after Invisalign. They can evaluate the cause of your tooth sensitivity and recommend a suitable treatment plan to reduce it.
If you suddenly experience extreme sensitivity when wearing Invisalign, visit your dentist or orthodontist immediately.
You should also visit your dentist or orthodontist if one particular tooth or area becomes sensitive. Do not wait for your next scheduled appointment.
The longer you wait to visit your dentist or orthodontist, the worse it can get. You should also get a dental evaluation if a tooth is highly sensitive for more than a few days and reacts particularly strongly to hot and cold temperatures.
It’s important to get evaluated. Keep your trays out of your mouth in a safe, clean container. The longer you leave your Invisalign trays out of your mouth, the higher the risk your aligners won’t fit properly.
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People with sensitive teeth may experience discomfort or pain as a response to specific triggers. This pain may occur at the roots of the affected teeth.
The most common triggers include:
These symptoms may come and go over time for no apparent reason. They may range from mild to strong.
If you experience severe teeth sensitivity symptoms while wearing Invisalign, they may suggest the sensitivity is from something other than orthodontic treatment.
There are various ways to prevent and manage sensitive and sore teeth during Invisalign treatment:
Practicing proper oral hygiene is one of the best ways to avoid sensitive teeth. Be sure to floss daily and brush your teeth at least twice daily.
Many kinds of toothpaste contain fluoride, which can help reduce sensitivity. Some have more fluoride concentration than others.2
Many people find that switching to a soft-bristled toothbrush with a lighter touch also helps with sensitivity. Brushing your teeth vigorously can wear off the cementum, which protects the root of your teeth.1
If you notice any pain from sensitivity during the day, apply a small amount of toothpaste over the area of discomfort. However, do not get toothpaste onto the Invisalign aligners, and avoid rubbing them excessively.
You should also avoid brushing immediately after eating a snack or meal that includes acidic foods. These acids weaken tooth enamel, and brushing your teeth too soon can remove the enamel.
If you know you will eat or drink something acidic, brush your teeth first. Then, rinse your mouth with water after eating or drinking.
A common list of acidic foods and beverages include:
People should limit how often they consume these foods and drinks, especially soda. Every sip of soda leads to increased demineralization. If you want to consume these foods, be sure to eat or drink them quickly instead of nursing them for a prolonged period.
Chewing ice cubes can also result in microfractures in the tooth structure. This may lead to sensitivity.
Likewise, avoid consuming hot and cold beverages, as these can irritate your teeth, leading to soreness. Opt for room temperature or lukewarm options instead.
Clenching or grinding teeth may also lead to sensitivity. If you experience a sore jaw, teeth sensitivity, or pain that may suggest teeth grinding, be sure to speak with your doctor.
If you grind your teeth, consider chewing sugarless gum. This creates saliva, which strengthens tooth enamel.
You may also wear a mouthguard if you grind your teeth in your sleep. Mouthguards can help protect the teeth from grinding against each other.
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Invisalign treatment isn’t the only cause of tooth sensitivity. If you’re experiencing any symptoms of sensitive teeth, it may suggest one of the following conditions:
If you’re experiencing discomfort from one tooth, the pain may result from tooth decay. In these cases, acids created by the bacteria built against the tooth can eventually dissolve the enamel, exposing the dentin layer.
Dentin is filled with tiny nerve endings, so you may experience pain and temperature sensitivity when biting down if you have tooth decay.
During your visit, your dentist will examine the tooth and ask you to describe your symptoms. Once your dentist removes the tooth decay and fills the tooth with an amalgam or tooth-colored filling, you should be pain-free. A full-coverage crown may be necessary for more stability and longevity.
Fillings don’t last forever. When they break or loosen, you may experience a painful feeling due to bacteria getting underneath the filling. This can cause the tooth to decay further.
A loose or broken filling can be treated with a new filling or crown. The dentist will use a special resin material to fill the area where the old filling was. This material should protect the tooth from further decay and discomfort.
Cracked teeth can cause pain when biting and chewing. This is because the crack exposes the inner part of the tooth, which contains nerves and blood vessels.
A common sign of a cracked or broken tooth is sharp pain when biting down. However, the pain usually goes away after releasing the bite.
A cracked tooth may not be noticeable to the naked eye. It may not even show on X-rays. This makes the diagnosis process more difficult.
Cracks involving a break surrounding a filling can be fixed through:
An abscessed tooth develops when the pulp of the tooth becomes infected. It causes tooth sensitivity because it affects the nerve endings.
Symptoms of an abscess may include fever, persistent pain, and facial swelling. Often, there is a pus-filled swelling at the root tip. This swelling drains periodically and leaves a bad taste in the mouth.
Root canal treatment is necessary to save an abscessed tooth.
The main objective of orthodontic treatment is to move the teeth into a better position. As a result, most patients may feel uncomfortable at some point during treatment.
However, with modern technologies and treatments, any sensitivity caused can be minimized.
If you have sensitive teeth, it’s unlikely that Invisalign treatment will worsen them to a significant effect. For most people, any discomfort occurs at the beginning of treatment and the first few days following switching to new aligners and then resolves.
Invisalign treatment can cause tooth sensitivity, but many other conditions could be causing the discomfort. There are various ways to prevent and manage sensitive teeth when wearing Invisalign.
Consult your dentist if you are experiencing any severe sensitivity. You may need to address the underlying causes before beginning your treatment.
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