For some dental patients, adjusting to Invisalign isn’t easy. After all, you’ve just committed to wearing a set of clear plastic retainers in your mouth 22 hours per day for at least 15 weeks. While Invisalign is largely favored over other teeth straightening methods like traditional braces, the trays can still be uncomfortable for some people. At Trillium Dental in Ottawa, our dentists do everything they can to ensure that our patients have a positive experience with their clear braces. Here are a few tips to help you adjust to Invisalign!


Though adjusting to new Invisalign trays usually isn’t as uncomfortable as having your braces tightened, it can still cause discomfort for some patients. When you begin your Invisalign treatment, you’ll receive a set of clear aligner trays to begin with, then you’ll switch to the next set in the progression every two weeks moving forward. This will take a little getting used to; however, most tooth achiness usually occurs within the first 24 hours of switching retainers.

If you experience achiness when you switch out your “invisible braces,” anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen (Advil) and naproxen (Aleve), can help. Taking an anti-inflammatory an hour or so before you switch out your Invisalign trays will reduce soreness for the time being, allowing your mouth to adjust to the new Invisalign tray. Just be sure to follow the instructions on the bottle (do not exceed 6 ibuprofen tablets in 24 hours), and make sure you eat something when you take anti-inflammatory medications.


Another handy trick to keep in mind is switching your Invisalign® retainers at night, ideally an hour or so after you’ve taken an anti-inflammatory.This gives your teeth a chance to adjust into the tightness of the new retainers while you sleep, so you don’t feel any soreness throughout the night. If you wake up with some discomfort, simply take another anti-inflammatory with your morning breakfast to ease the pain as you start your day.

Switching your retainers at night also allows your body to take a break from the anti-inflammatory medications, which aren’t great for your liver if they are used on a regular basis. When you switch your clear braces during the day, you’ll experience more discomfort than you do when you sleep, so you might be tempted to take anti-inflammatory meds all day long. Instead, wait until your last meal of the day to take an anti-inflammatory, and you might not need to take another one the next day.


In addition to switching your retainers at night and taking anti-inflammatory medications as needed, you might want to watch what you eat for the first 24 hours or so after you put in your new Invisalign trays. Try to avoid hard, crunchy foods if your teeth are sore, and opt for oatmeal, apple sauce, yogurt, pasta, and other soft foods instead. An apple a day might keep the doctor away, but it’s certainly not the best thing for sensitive teeth!

It is important to note that you should never wear your Invisalign retainers when you eat, and that you should brush your teeth thoroughly before putting them back in, if possible. One of the main benefits of “invisible braces” is that you can take them out when you eat, drink, and brush your teeth, rather than having to pick food particles out of the crevices between metal braces. So, be sure to take advantage of these little breaks throughout the day — just don’t forget to put them back in!


If you’re really uncomfortable after switching out your clear retainers (or you just put in your first set), try a cold compress. Get an ice pack that can mold to your face (gel ice packs work great for this), and place it on your cheek. The cold will numb your jaw and provide relief for your sore teeth, soothing them as they adjust into their new position.

Don’t feel like you need to go to the store or spend money on an expensive ice pack — a bag of frozen peas will work just fine. Wrap it in a thin cloth so the cold isn’t so harsh, and gently hold it on the sore area for 10-20 minutes at a time. Ideally, this will help the pain subside, and you’ll only have to use a cold compress for a day or two after you switch Invisalign trays.


Looking for more tips to help you adjust to your new Invisalign trays? Keep your eyes peeled for future blog posts about Invisalign, and feel free to reach out to our dentists at any time for more information. We’d be more than happy to set up an Invisalign consultation and discuss whether this orthodontic treatment would be right for you!