Invisalign aligners offer an effective method for discretely straightening your teeth, and you don’t have to worry about a mouth full of metal distracting people from your gorgeous smile. But even though clear aligners might be more comfortable than traditional braces, many patients still deal with Invisalign cutting the tongue.
Because your tongue tends to naturally move whenever you talk, it can end up getting cut against the side of your plastic trays. This is one of the primary causes of Invisalign pain, so we’re devoting an entire blog to effective methods for treating it! In this blog, we’ll cover:
- Why Your Invisalign is Cutting Your Tongue
- Tips for Treating Invisalign Tongue Pain
- Other Causes of Clear Aligner Discomfort
Why Your Invisalign is Cutting Your Tongue
Invisalign tongue cuts can be caused by a number of different factors
Invisalign patients experience tongue cuts from the plastic trays they wear during treatment. Sometimes after you receive a new set of aligners, the sides of your tongue can become irritated when they rub against the trays while you speak. The culprit of this Invisalign tongue irritation is the sharp tray edges. Most of the time, the cuts and abrasions disappear within a couple of weeks.
However, if you are continually dealing with irritating tongue cuts, there are a number of methods you can follow for treating them. Placing orthodontic wax over Invisalign sharp edges can protect your mouth from the plastic aligner trays. Some people try smoothing the edges of their trays down. However, they can inadvertently damage their aligners if they aren’t careful. If you choose this tactic, use an emery board to carefully smooth out rough edges, being mindful not to use too much force or you could warp them.
If your aligners continue to bother you after waiting a couple of weeks and trying orthodontic wax, contact your provider. They can determine whether anything is wrong with the trays and replace them, if necessary.
Tips for Treating Invisalign Tongue Pain
Dealing with a cut on your tongue can be extremely irritating. Thankfully, there are a number of effective methods you can try to treat it. As your tongue heals, consider trying these tips to ease your discomfort.
Rinse Your Mouth with Saltwater or Peroxide-based Mouthwash
A salt water mouth rinse is a quick and easy way to treat sores on your tongue and mouth, and something that you can do from home. Not only does salt inhibit dental bacteria, it has healing properties that promote healthy gums and encourages recovery from mouth lacerations and ulcers. Making a salt water rinse is easy; just add a half teaspoon of salt to warm water, stir until dissolved, and then swish the solution in your mouth a few times.
In addition to salt water, many orthodontists recommend treating tongue cuts with a peroxide-based mouthwash. Peroxide is an oral debriding agent that will numb your pain while cleaning and disinfecting any cuts on your tongue from clear aligners.
Suck on some ice cubes to numb the pain
Sometimes, a little ice therapy is all you need to get some Invisalign pain relief. Ice is a numbing agent and can help distract you from the pain, and is especially effective when you’re out on the go and don’t have time to mix up a saltwater rinse or use peroxide mouthwash. Since water is approved for consumption while wearing your aligners, it’s something you can do at any time during the 22 hours of daily recommended wear time.
Avoid foods that irritate mouth sores
Cuts in general are more sensitive to acid, so avoid eating spicy foods or citrus fruits if your Invisalign trays are scratching your tongue. Soft, bland foods that are easy to swallow, like creamy soup or yogurt, are ideal for anyone dealing with mouth sores. Hard foods, especially granola, nuts or potato chips will increase the pain you experience from a scratched tongue. You should also cut your food into smaller pieces to make them easier to chew, or mash or puree them if possible.
Tongue cuts from Invisalign trays usually do not warrant emergency trips to the hospital. However, if you are experiencing symptoms of an infection such as increased swelling, draining pus, or a fever, you should contact your physician for assistance.
Other Causes of Clear Aligner Pain & Discomfort
While Invisalign offers one of the most effective ways to straighten your teeth, it can cause some minor dental issues, especially at the start of your treatment. Many patients have trouble with Invisalign dry mouth, discomfort, and tray stains.
Invisalign can cause gum swelling and irritation, which can then cause dry mouth from a lack of saliva production. Not only is Invisalign dry mouth uncomfortable, it can also put you at an increased risk of developing tooth decay. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day is crucial for preventing dry mouth and encouraging saliva production.
Xylitol is a common treatment for dry mouth, recommended by dentists and orthodontists for its beneficial properties. Our patented clear aligner mints are sugar-free and sweetened with a therapeutic dose of xylitol, so they’re safe to use while wearing your aligners. Check out Movemints Clear Aligner Mints if you’re struggling with dry mouth from Invisalign.
Experiencing pain from new trays is common, as your teeth are still getting adjusted to them. It will go away after a couple of weeks, but if the pain lingers or intensifies you can try over-the-counter pain medications such as aspirin or ibuprofen to help relieve discomfort.
Orthodontists also recommend chewing exercises as a treatment for tooth pain. While counter-intuitive, chewing increases blood flow to your teeth and gums which acts as a natural pain reliever. Our aligner-friendly mints have a patented groove that fits between your trays and are hard enough to withstand gentle chewing exercises. They’re a great alternative to Invisalign chewies and can help seat your trays while refreshing your breath!
If you don’t wash your Invisalign trays properly, they may develop unsightly stains. When cleaning your Invisalign, make sure you use mild soap and water. Using regular toothpaste can actually cause abrasion in the aligners, thereby weakening them. Keeping your clear aligners stain free is an important part of your treatment, so make sure you brush your teeth regularly and never eat while wearing your Invisalign.
Starting your clear aligner treatment is an incredibly exciting time! Knowing how to deal with Invisalign tongue cuts and sores is essential to experiencing a more comfortable and effective smile journey. Follow our blog for more Invisalign tips and tricks that will help you on the road to your ideal smile!