How to make your clear aligner treatment more comfortable

Wondersmile Clear Aligners are a safe and effective way to straighten your teeth and get your best smile. When you get started, it’s not uncommon for new patients to report some aligner pain in their teeth. Read on to find out why this happens and how to make your clear aligners the most comfortable.

What causes clear aligner pain and discomfort?

The shape of the aligner is different to the shape of your teeth.

When placing in your first aligner, it may feel a bit snug. Why? Because the aligner has a slightly different shape than your teeth. The snug fit represents the gentle pressure that is needed to move teeth at each aligner stage. Gentle pressure applied 20+ hrs daily initiates the amazing process of tooth movement, which involves some cellular changes and inflammation in the bone, which cause mild discomfort. This is absolutely normal and aligner pain is only temporary.

How long will aligner discomfort last?

Any pain or discomfort you experience will ease in the first two weeks.

When worn for two weeks, the aligner will gradually and gently move your teeth into the form and shape of the aligner. This process will repeat with each aligner, progressively moving your teeth toward the finish line at the end of your treatment.

Does switching aligners cause pain?

No. As your teeth shift it gets more comfortable.

Fortunately, once teeth start to move, they become less sensitive to the pressure

from a new set of aligners. So as you progress through your treatment, it gets

more comfortable with each aligner stage.

What can I do to minimise clear aligner discomfort?

Here are a few suggestions to make your first days of aligner wear more comfortable:

  • Start new aligners at bedtime: Since most aligner pain occurs at the start of a new stage, it’s a great idea to let this occur overnight while you sleep when you are less aware of teeth soreness.

  • Take non-prescription pain relievers: Tylenol (Paracetamol) or Ibuprofen is effective at reducing discomfort. Follow product dosage recommendations but avoid these if your doctor has advised against the use of these products.

  • Ice is nice: Cold is a great remedy for any inflammation in the body. Sucking on ice cubes is an easy way to reduce pain from aligners. Avoid chewing on ice, as chewing on hard things will cause greater discomfort.

  • Keep your aligners on most of the day: Every time an aligner is removed, the teeth feel a change in pressure, and when replaced, an increase in pressure. This “on-off” can cause greater discomfort than if the aligners are left in place for longer periods of time.

  • Soft diet: As teeth may be a little tender the first couple of days of aligner wear, softer foods are less likely to provoke teeth soreness.

  • Chewing: It provides a gentle massage to the teeth and gums, and promotes blood circulation around the roots and gums. This can relieve discomfort. It also helps assure that the aligners are completely seated in place for accurate tooth movement.

What are chewies and how can they help?

A massage for your teeth.

Wondersmile provides “Chewies” which are small, soft, rubbery chewing accessories. Nibble or chew on one of these the first 5 days of aligner wear, several times a day, for a few minutes, to get the maximum benefit. It also helps ensure your aligners are on correctly.

When starting your aligner treatment, the discomfort most patients feel is really nothing to worry about. It’s very mild and nothing compared to the discomfort of braces, and limited to only a few days, so don’t sweat it! Follow these simple recommendations, which will ease your way into Wondersmile care so you can have the smile you always dreamed about.

How do I start my clear aligner journey with Wondersmile?

Take the online teeth assessment. It's fast, easy and free. From there you can book a 3D scan or order an at-home impression kit.

Written by Dr. Richard Schechtman.