How to Manage Discomfort during Orthodontic Treatment

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How to Manage Discomfort during Orthodontic Treatment

Orthodontic treatment, specifically aligner treatment, can be a life-changing experience. It can improve your oral health, boost your confidence, and make your smile look fantastic. However, it can also be uncomfortable, especially during the first few days of each new set of aligners. Here are some tips on how to manage discomfort during orthodontic treatment with aligners.

Take pain relievers

Over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help manage discomfort. However, it is essential to follow the recommended dosage and only use them as needed. If you find that you need to take pain relievers frequently, it's important to let your orthodontist know. They may be able to adjust your treatment plan to reduce discomfort.

Use orthodontic wax

Orthodontic wax can be applied to the aligners to reduce discomfort caused by rough edges or sharp attachments. Simply roll a small amount of wax between your fingers and apply it to the area of the aligner that is causing irritation. It's important to note that you should not eat or drink with the wax in place, as it can be a choking hazard.

Massage your gums

Gently massaging your gums can help improve circulation and reduce discomfort. You can use your fingertips or a soft-bristled toothbrush to massage your gums. Massaging your gums can also help reduce the risk of gum disease and other oral health problems.

Stick to soft foods

During the first few days of each new set of aligners, it's best to stick to soft foods to reduce discomfort. Avoid hard, crunchy, or sticky foods that can put pressure on your teeth. Some good options include soup, mashed potatoes, yogurt, and smoothies.

Use a cold compress

Applying a cold compress to your face can help reduce inflammation and numb the area, reducing discomfort. Use a cold compress for 20 minutes at a time, several times a day. You can use a cold pack or wrap a bag of frozen peas or corn in a towel.

Practice good oral hygiene

Keeping your teeth and aligners clean can help prevent discomfort caused by food particles and bacteria. Brush your teeth and aligners at least twice a day, and floss once a day. It's also a good idea to rinse your mouth with an antiseptic mouthwash to kill bacteria.

Wear your aligners as directed

Wearing your aligners as directed by your orthodontist is crucial to achieving the desired results. However, it's also essential to wear them consistently to reduce discomfort. If you remove your aligners too frequently or for too long, it can prolong treatment and cause discomfort when you put them back in. It's also important to follow the wear and switch schedule provided by your orthodontist.

Gradually increase wear time

If you find that your aligners are particularly uncomfortable, you can gradually increase wear time. Start by wearing them for a few hours at a time and gradually increase wear time over several days. This can help your mouth adjust to the aligners more gradually, reducing discomfort.

Use a dental laser

If you have particularly stubborn or painful areas, your orthodontist may be able to use a dental laser to reduce discomfort. A dental laser can be used to reshape your gums or other soft tissues, reducing pressure and discomfort.


In conclusion, managing discomfort during orthodontic treatment with aligners requires patience and commitment. With the tips mentioned above, you can minimize discomfort and enjoy a more comfortable orthodontic treatment journey. Remember to communicate any discomfort or concerns with your orthodontist, as they are there to support you throughout the process. By working together, you can achieve the desired results of a beautiful, healthy smile.


How long does discomfort typically last during aligner treatment?

Discomfort typically lasts for a few days to a week after each new set of aligners. However, some patients may experience discomfort for a longer period of time.

Will pain relievers affect my treatment?

No, taking pain relievers as directed by your orthodontist or a healthcare professional should not affect your treatment. However, it's important to only take pain relievers as needed and follow the recommended dosage.

Is it normal to have sore gums during aligner treatment?

Yes, it's normal to experience sore or tender gums during aligner treatment, especially during the first few days of each new set of aligners. However, if the discomfort is severe or lasts for an extended period of time, contact your orthodontist.

Can I adjust my aligners at home to reduce discomfort?

No, you should not adjust your aligners at home. Adjusting your aligners yourself can cause damage to the aligners or your teeth and prolong treatment. Contact your orthodontist if you are experiencing discomfort or concerns.

Will wearing my aligners for longer periods of time reduce discomfort?

No, wearing your aligners for longer periods of time than directed can actually increase discomfort and prolong treatment. It's important to follow the wear and switch schedule provided by your orthodontist.

Can orthodontic wax be used on all types of aligners?

Orthodontic wax can be used on most types of aligners and braces. However, if you are unsure if it's safe to use wax on your aligners, contact your orthodontist.

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