Common Side Effects of Wearing Aligners
Dry mouth is caused by a lack of saliva. When you wear clear aligners, the saliva is unable to wash over your teeth like it would normally. Your mouth may recognize the aligners as a foreign object causing slight swelling and a decrease in saliva production. Your mouth relies on saliva to fight tooth decay so it is increasingly important to properly brush and floss while wearing aligners to prevent cavities. Having a dry mouth may also make it harder to swallow and chew, even when you have the aligners out. The most important thing you can do to combat dry mouth is drink water. You may need to drink more water than you’re used to but the more water you drink, the better it will be for you and your mouth.
Biting Your Inner Cheek
A common side effect of clear aligners is biting the inside of your cheek or lips. This annoying reaction is caused by your mouth not yet getting used to the new shape of the aligners. Your bite has changed so there is an adjustment period. The only thing you can do for this is to wait until your mouth recognizes the aligners and new position of your teeth. In the meantime, it is recommended that you rinse with an antibacterial mouthwash to prevent infection or further irritations.
Many people are told that aligners are painless, so when they experience a bit of pain during the first few days of using their aligners, they are rightfully concerned. A small amount of pain in the beginning when putting in new aligners is normal. It should be mild, and go away with time. Taking over the counter pain relief will help mitigate the pain until it subsides.
When some people use clear aligners, they notice a change in their speech. This is because their tongue is no longer hitting the back of their teeth when speaking, but instead is making contact with an aligner. This can create unfamiliar and unintended speech patterns, but this should get better as a patient gets accustomed to the aligners.
Less Common- Allergic Reactions
A much more rare side effect to clear aligners is an allergic reaction. It is possible for patients to have a reaction to the plastic that clear aligners are made of. Some people may not realize they have a plastic allergy, but if there is any suspicion, the patient should discuss it with the orthodontist providing the aligners. Serious allergic reactions can include shortness of breath, intense swelling of the mouth, and a burning sensation while wearing the aligners. These are rare, but if they happen, take the aligners out and call your orthodontist.
A Good Solution
Clear aligners are a fantastic orthodontic solution for people who want an alternative option to braces. They are nearly invisible and make it easy to continue your daily routines without changes to eating habits or oral hygiene habits. The common side effects (and one rare side effect) listed above are good to know before starting treatment and any concerns can be discussed with your orthodontist.