Clear Aligner Discomfort Guide: Cuts, Sores, Pains, and More

ARE YOUR  Clear Aligners Causing You Discomfort? Try These Life Hacks

Are Your

Clear Aligners Causing You Discomfort? Try These Life Hacks

As a clear aligner patient, you might wrongly assume that your aligners are less prone to causing injuries compared to ceramic braces or traditional metal braces. This misconception stems from the absence of visible brackets and wires, which can be a source of concern with traditional braces. Unfortunately, minor injuries can still occur with clear aligners, just as they occasionally do with metal brackets and wires or ceramic braces like Invisalign.

Mail order aligners   especially can be breakage-prone, as they’re often made with less durable thermoplastics, and often less of a precise fit without the help of a trusted, licensed, in-office orthodontist. But like everything else in life, no appliance is 100% invulnerable to being affected by outside pressures.

You may have already seen our guide on  reducing pain   whilst wearing aligners, but we saw fit to produce a guide exploring the common causes of that pain. Keep reading for a comprehensive overview of common clear aligner cuts to watch out for.

CLEAR ALIGNERS   Hurting Tongue

Clear Aligners 

Hurting Tongue

    It takes a few days for your teeth to adjust to a newly-fitted aligner. During this time, your tongue may rub against the edges of the trays, causing irritation, abrasion, and discomfort. In some cases, this friction can lead to cuts on the tongue. To prevent cheek cuts from aligners and minimize the risk of aligner and tongue thrust issues, it's important to give your mouth time to adapt to the new aligner, and if discomfort persists, consult your orthodontist for guidance.

    Tongue cuts are especially excruciating because it’s very difficult to circumvent them. When you eat or drink, your tongue is always touching them, so you might feel a little uncomfortable sometimes because of it.

    Perhaps this sounds like nothing but bad news, but the good news here is that your mouth will usually get used to these seams on its own. In the meantime, though, there are precautions and pain relief measures you can take to lessen the likelihood of clear aligner tongue irritation, such as:

    • Applying orthodontic wax or topical pain relievers
    • Trimming or smoothing out edges
    • Seating the aligner better using  Chewies , Movemints, or a bite stick

    If pain persists, and you believe your aligner fit isn't naturally adjusting, inform your orthodontist. They can assess whether a treatment revision is necessary for your orthodontic treatment plan. This may involve addressing issues with metal brackets or Invisalign aligners. Ensuring your comfort and the success of your treatment is essential.

    ALIGNERS  And Tongue Thrust


    And Tongue Thrust

    Tongue thrust refers to the orthodontic bad habit of pressing your tongue too far forward to the point that it pushes against the teeth. This habit is far more common among infants and children than it is the adolescents and adults that are usually clear aligner candidates, with a study published in DDD estimating that nearly 3/4ths of children from grades 1-3 are guilty of it.

    So why would this habit be of concern while you’re wearing removable clear aligners? For one, it obviously increases the friction bearing down on your aligners. Furthermore, it’s also been correlated with certain types of malocclusion, such as overbite and overjet.

    Though children are vulnerable to having their developing bite harmed by tongue thrust, as they are by thumb sucking and pacifier overuse, the adult mouth isn’t entirely immune to malformations. If it was, we obviously wouldn’t have a sizable body of our clientele coming in!

    So, to effectively reign this habit in, it’s recommended that patients who partake in tongue thrusting:

    • Undergo myofunctional therapy
    • Complete tongue exercises
    • Use a tongue crib appliance, if necessary

    A tongue crib is a metal appliance that fits to the top of your mouth. This device creates a “gate” that prevents the tongue from pressing against the roof and is designed to discourage movement.

    An experienced orthodontist can effectively determine whether or not you would need to wear one before clear aligner treatment, and will want to complete it before so they aren’t conflicting.

    ALIGNER  Lip Discomfort


    Lip Discomfort

    Clear aligners aren't a cosmetic lip treatment, so they won't directly change your lips. However, they can make your lips seem fuller because they round out your mouth. If you're looking for aligner lip discomfort solutions, consider using lip balms or moisturizers.

    What may also be apparent while wearing your appliance is irritation on that side of your mouth. Furthermore, since clear aligners capture saliva, it may leave your lips more prone to drying and chapping.

    To mitigate this effect, the aforementioned pain relief strategies that work well with the tongue will also work well with your lips. Furthermore, to deal with the discomfort that stems from lip drying and chapping, regularly drink water (which is the only drink safe to drink with aligners in) and use a quality, nonabrasive lip balm.

    ALIGNERS  Cutting Cheeks


    Cutting Cheeks

    Just as aligner edges can rub against the tongue during the first few days, they can also rub against your cheeks. To mitigate the risk of this, all of the above strategies are advised, as is cutting around the extra aligner space, sensibly and responsibly. You can do this by:

    • Using a nail file or emery board to file down the edges
    • Using dental wax to help flatten them
    • Having an orthodontist cut them to your convenience

    We would recommend the last option the most, as a trusted orthodontist will have the sufficient expertise needed to know how to cut your aligners thoroughly and precisely. Under any circumstances, do NOT trim or cut them with an unwieldy tool like scissors, as it’s far too easy to just cause further breakage.

    MOUTH SORES  From Aligners

    Mouth Sores

    From Aligners

    You may observe an increase in gum irritation and canker sores when wearing your aligners. However, rest assured that these discomforts should be short-lived. To find relief, you can try consuming cold liquids and soft cold snacks, which naturally provide soothing effects. On the other hand, it's advisable to avoid hard, extremely crunchy foods that can worsen soreness and irritation.

    Another option for deeper anti-inflammatory relief is placing an icepack around your cheeks. If you have followed these strategies and still experience persistent discomfort, if irritation lingers long after trimming the edges, or if you suspect any unusual issues related to your orthodontic appliance or tooth movement, it's essential to promptly inform your orthodontist. Good oral hygiene, including regular brushing of your teeth, remains crucial when using a set of aligners made of plastic.

    They will provide the clarity, coherence, and competence required to effectively address the root of your problems. If persistent lingering pains are experienced, you don't have to face them alone. When you first notice long-term discomfort, seek assistance from your care provider to aid you. This may involve office visits for lingual braces, Invisalign treatment, or plastic aligners to move your teeth and straighten your teeth without wire and brackets, ultimately benefiting your teeth and gums.