Do Teeth Aligners Hurt?

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Table of Contents

  1. Why Aligners Hurt
  2. Comparing Pain
  3. Common Reasons for Pain
  4. Aligner Pain FAQs
  5. References

Experts say aligners are much less painful than traditional tooth-straightening solutions like braces. They apply less force and don’t scrape up your sensitive mouth tissues. 

But all aligners can cause discomfort. Bundles of nerves are tucked into each tooth within your mouth. Aligners apply pressure to nudge your teeth into their proper positions, and the pushing can irritate your nerves. 

Byte can ease aligner pain. The HyperByte tool delivers gentle vibrations to seat your teeth into the trays, and the buzz helps to soothe uncomfortable nerves. With this tool, your treatment will be more comfortable.

Why Do Aligners Hurt So Bad?

While brushing and flossing, we only interact with a tiny part of our teeth. We may not feel the flick of the bristles or the slide of the floss. But our teeth are wired to send alarm signals when they experience a perceived threat.

pulp chamber tucked within each tooth holds blood vessels and nerves. Hollow sections in tooth roots allow signals to pass from each tooth to your brain. Aligners can cause those signals to fly.

Pain doesn't happen to everyone. Patient satisfaction studies suggest that less than a quarter of people who wear aligners have pain, and the wide majority of them report that they look better when the process is complete. But if you do have pain, it's both natural and normal.

pain from braces vs aligners

Comparing Pain from Braces & Aligners

Plenty of tools can straighten teeth. Each method works a little differently, but they all cause discomfort. Aligners, however, do cause less pain than braces. Study after study has proven this fact.

Aligners are less painful than braces due to the following:

  • Construction: Brackets and wires lie on the surface of your teeth when you're wearing braces, and all that hardware can scrape and rip up your cheeks and gums. Aligners have a smooth surface that protects the inside of your mouth.

  • Hygiene: Braces are glued to your teeth. A dentist must help you to remove them. Brushing around the wire isn't always easy, and insufficient cleaning can lead to bacterial growth and inflammation. You can slip out your aligners for cleaning, so this issue is less likely.

  • Positioning: Aligners wrap around your teeth and push from several angles. Braces pull from one central spot at the front of your teeth. Indirect pressure like this can lead to enhanced pain signals.

If your teeth aren't in the optimal position, you may need more help than aligners can provide. Significant dental corrections are best handled with braces. But if you need only mild or moderate help and are extremely worried about pain, aligners might be a better choice.

Common Reasons for Aligner Pain

Wear aligners, and you will do the following:

  • Slip clear trays over your teeth. Each tray looks slightly different than your natural smile.

  • Receive constant pressure. Each moment you wear your aligners means pushing your teeth into the positions found on the trays.

  • Repeat the process. Every week or so, you'll start this process again.

Teeth can and do move in response to pressure. But your body isn't accustomed to a shifting smile. The gentle tugs might seem unusual or wrong to your body, and pain signals tell your brain something is happening.

Pain signals move along the nerves from your teeth to your brain. You might feel something like a dull ache, which might get stronger when you bite down or bring your teeth together while you talk.

Discomfort is strongest during the early stages of treatment when your teeth are almost constantly moving. When only tiny shifts are required in later stages, your pain should lessen.

Some aligner companies provide firm trays with hard edges that can cut and scrape your tissues. Byte is different. Trays should fit your mouth perfectly, and any rough edges you find will quickly go away when you file them.

When you swap out one set of aligners for another, your teeth move quickly, which causes pain. The HyperByte tool provides a gentle vibration to seat your teeth inside the trays, which makes your treatment less painful and easier to tolerate.

Aligner Pain Frequently Asked Questions

Pain signals are strongest when you first start treatment, and most people feel better within a week or two. You might feel sore or sensitive when you switch trays too.

Yes. Your teeth are not accustomed to moving, and they transmit pain signals in response. Ask people about their pain after treatment, and they'll tell you the discomfort was both mild and worthwhile.

Aligners shouldn't hurt so much that you can't talk, eat, or handle everyday activities. If they do, you should speak with your team and dig into the cause. But some level of mild pain or discomfort is expected.

Disclaimer: This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to serve as dental or other professional health advice and is not intended to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any condition or symptom. You should consult a dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.