One of the most common questions we hear is whether or not NewSmile® aligners hurt. Some may know that traditional metal braces may not be sharp or intense, there is definitely pain that comes along with any form of orthodontic treatment. NewSmile® aligners are conceived to be pain-free, and while they will be painful, they are a lot less painful than metal braces.
But that doesn’t mean that NewSmile® doesn’t hurt. When moving teeth and straightening the bite, there's bound to be some pain. How much does NewSmile® hurt? And what are some ways to relieve that pain? Here’s what you need to know about NewSmile®, the pain level, and how to alleviate any pain you might feel during your treatment:
Does NewSmile® Hurt?
NewSmile® does have discomfort. While everyone is different and will feel varying amounts of pain (some will feel more pain than others), they are less painful than traditional metal braces. The good news is that the pain fades once your teeth adjust to wearing the aligners. Some of the sources of pain are from the soreness that comes from the aligners pressing against the teeth, and the pain that comes with having the aligners in your mouth.
With traditional metal braces, some of the pain you feel comes from brackets rubbing against the interior of the mouth, and placement of the wire. Especially during the first few weeks of treatment, before the mouth has developed callouses to combat sensitivity, the pressing, rubbing, and scratching of the metal components against your mouth can be very uncomfortable. The same can be said for NewSmile® aligners, but on a smaller scale. The edges of the aligners, while not sharp, can be irritating to your gums and the insides of your lips as your mouth gets used to wearing them. After starting your treatment, the first couple of weeks will allow your mouth to adjust to the feeling of wearing your aligners and will develop the necessary callouses to prevent irritation. By the time you need to switch out your first set of aligners for the next stage, your mouth is likely to be fully adjusted and you won’t experience any peripheral pain.
This doesn’t mean, of course, that your NewSmile® will be completely pain free. Because the whole point of NewSmile® is to shift your teeth into a straighter, healthier smile, the aligners apply pressure on the teeth so they move into their new places. The soreness from moving your teeth may feel extreme during the first few days after putting on a new set of aligners, but the pain will decrease since your teeth have shifted accordingly, and the cycle will repeat when it’s time to put in the next set. Few NewSmile® wearers would describe this sensation as pain, per se. For most, it’s simply discomfort you get used with a few weeks of adjustment.
For pain that feel like a poking sensation from your aligners, this is pain caused by rough or sharp edges on your aligners. If you run your tongue along the edge of the aligner and you get cut, ensure you file that area by rounding any thin and sharp areas. Pain caused by improper finishing of the aligners are completely avoidable and can be easily fixed by using the nail file we provide with your aligners.
For some wearers, going through the pain for the few days each month is the best way to handle the discomfort. Again, most find they only experience minor to mild discomfort for the first few days after changing to a new set of aligners, and if the discomfort is concerning to you, we recommend speaking with your dentist or doctor. For those that have more chronic discomfort, here are some methods that may help:
Pain killers are a good place to start. Most people have their preferred pain killer and know how much to take. Depending on the type of pain, some may work better than others. For example, if pain during the first few days of wearing a new set of aligners are caused by inflammation and irritation from aligners being pressed against your teeth, a pain killer used to reduce inflammation would work best.
On the other hand, if you feel pain when tensing your jaw or grinding your teeth, a pain killer that relaxes muscles may be a better choice. Also, a little bit of pressure can help to relieve tension in your teeth, so don’t be afraid to chew on something. Cold or hot drinks may also help to soothe aches in the teeth.