Invisalign has become an increasingly popular choice for those looking to straighten their teeth. The clear, removable aligner trays allow you to undergo treatment discreetly. However, some Invisalign wearers report experiencing tooth sensitivity. At Lansdowne Family Dental, we often get asked: can Invisalign cause tooth sensitivity?

Can Invisalign Cause Tooth Sensitivity

Tooth sensitivity is a common side effect of orthodontic treatments, like Invisalign. Understanding what causes this sensitivity and how to cope with discomfort can help you have the best experience with your aligners. Keep reading to learn more about Invisalign and tooth sensitivity.

What is Invisalign?

Invisalign consists of a series of custom-made, clear aligner trays that incrementally move your teeth into the proper position. Most patients require between 12-48 aligner trays over 6 months to 2 years.

Some key benefits of Invisalign include:

  • Removable – you can take the aligners out for eating, brushing, and flossing
  • Discreet
  • More comfortable than braces
  • Shorter treatment times
  • Fewer restrictions on foods/drinks

As with any orthodontic treatment that shifts your teeth, you may experience some tooth sensitivity with Invisalign aligners.

What Causes Tooth Sensitivity With Invisalign?

There are a few reasons why Invisalign can cause tooth sensitivity:

1. Movement of the Teeth

As your teeth shift with each new set of aligners, it places pressure on your teeth and surrounding tissue. This can expose dentin tubules which lead to nerve endings. When exposing these tubules, you may feel sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures, as well as bite pressure sensitivity.

2. Improper Care

Not properly caring for your teeth and Invisalign aligners can also cause tooth sensitivity issues, including:

  • Inflamed gums from poor oral hygiene
  • Tooth decay from not brushing/flossing properly
  • Damage from improper aligner removal

Make sure to maintain excellent oral hygiene while undergoing Invisalign treatment. Follow your dentist’s recommendations carefully to prevent sensitivity problems.

3. Attachments

Some Invisalign patients have plastic or composite attachments placed on certain teeth to help the aligners grip them. These attachments can irritate your gums and cause sensitivity when they make contact with your teeth. However, your dentist can smooth sharp edges to make attachments more comfortable.

Tips For Managing Tooth Sensitivity With Invisalign

If you experience tooth sensitivity with your Invisalign aligners, there are things you can do to find relief:

  • Use desensitizing toothpaste – Such as Sensodyne, this toothpaste can help block the pain from hot/cold temperatures.
  • Rinse with warm salt water – Swishing with a warm saltwater solution can temporarily relieve nerve pain.
  • Wear your last aligner tray – If a new tray is causing discomfort from shifting, go back to wearing your previous (less painful) tray for a few days.
  • Take over-the-counter pain medication – Such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen to alleviate discomfort.
  • Get attachments adjusted – If an attachment is poking your gums, ask your orthodontist to smooth it.
  • Wait it out – Some sensitivity diminishes over time as your mouth adjusts.

If tooth sensitivity persists or worsens through your Invisalign treatment, make an appointment with your dentist right away. Continuous discomfort could signify issues like infection or decay.

Definition of InvisalignCustom-made clear aligner trays that incrementally move teeth into place. More comfortable and discreet than traditional braces.
BenefitsRemovable, discreet, comfortable, shorter treatments, fewer food restrictions
Causes of SensitivityTeeth shifting, poor care/cleaning, attachments
Managing SensitivitySpecial toothpaste, salt water rinses, wear previous aligner, OTC meds, adjust attachments

See your dentist if the sensitivity persists or worsens, as an underlying problem is likely causing the issues rather than just the Invisalign treatment itself.

When To See Your Dentist About Tooth Sensitivity

While some tooth sensitivity is normal with orthodontic treatments like Invisalign, excessive or worsening discomfort could indicate a larger problem. Please see your dentist right away if you experience:

  • Sensitivity that lasts more than 1-2 weeks
  • Sensitivity that worsens over time instead of improving
  • Bleeding around teeth
  • Red, inflamed-looking gums
  • Visible signs of decay like brown/white spots
  • Cracks or chips in teeth
  • Sensitivity when eating soft foods
  • Sensitivity varies greatly between aligners

Don’t soldier through intense, worsening sensitivity thinking it’s just a minor side effect. Make an appointment with your dentist to get your teeth thoroughly examined.

Our Doctors Can Help With Invisalign Discomfort

At Lansdowne Family Dental, we have experience treating patients who develop tooth sensitivity from Invisalign aligners. We can help diagnose what’s causing your discomfort and provide tailored treatments to relieve your pain.

Whether it’s adjusting attachments, discovering hidden decay, prescribing desensitizing gel, or filing sharp teeth edges – our doctors have the tools and training to solve your sensitivity issues. We will carefully monitor you throughout the Invisalign process and work to maximize your comfort.

Don’t let tooth sensitivity prevent you from achieving a straighter smile. Our compassionate doctors here at Lansdowne Family Dental can help you manage discomfort while you undergo Invisalign treatment.

We offer free consultations – schedule an appointment to learn about our solutions for Invisalign sensitivity problems. Our entire team looks forward to giving you the smile you deserve!