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Yes, generally at some point during your treatment, you will experience some pain and discomfort. At the appointment to get your braces on, you should feel absolutely no pain. The brackets are glued on with a composite glue and there is nothing done that would cause pain. Most people experience discomfort during the first week right after getting their braces while their teeth are getting used to them, but you can have discomfort at anytime during the course of treatment, especially after an appointment to "tighten" your braces. Some patients have no pain and some have more pain - it completely depends on the individual. The best way to manage your discomfort is with over the counter pain medications, such as Advil or Tylenol. Please take the recommended doses for your age and weight and make sure you have no contraindications, as per your physician's orders. Also, eating a soft diet (foods like Jello, mashed potatoes, etc) for a few days will help. Few people experience sores on the lips and cheeks right after they get their braces. Your mouth is getting used to having something new in there and the cheeks toughen up after 1-2 weeks. You can use an over the counter topical anesthetic to numb up the area, like Orajel or Orabase. Consult with your orthodontist and follow their instructions.

Paying extra attention to keeping your teeth clean during orthodontic treatment is essential. Brackets trap food so maintaining good oral hygiene will keep your gums healthy and prevent any cavities from forming around your braces. Here a few tips for keeping teeth clean: 1) Brush with a toothbrush for 2 minutes. Angle the toothbrush above and below the brackets and move it in small circles. I would personally recommend an electric toothbrush with an orthodontic specific head for it. Research done in 2013 has shown that electric toothbrushes are the most effective way to keep teeth clean with braces.

2) Make sure you are using fluoridated toothpaste so you don't get any cavities! Adding a fluoridated mouthwash, like ACT, is also helpful. 3) Use superfloss or a floss threader to get the floss underneath your wire. It takes a few times of practice to get used to flossing under the wire, so be patient. My personal recommendation is to use an orthodontic floss pick and my patients like the ones from Dentek the most: 4) In addition to brushing with a toothbrush, you can use an angled proxabrush (that is shaped like a Christmas tree) to go around brackets. 5) If you are still struggling to keep your teeth clean, talk to your general dentist about getting cleanings every 1-2 months, instead of every 6 months.

Invisalign tooth bleaching

Yes! You can use the Invisalign trays as custom whitening trays. You would need to follow your dentist's or orthodontist's recommendations on the concentration of tooth bleach you should buy - it usually ranges from 10%-35% carbamide peroxide. The bleach actually helps your Invisalign trays look brighter. As with any tooth bleaching product, you will experience some sensitivity. Sensitivity can be to cold (like when you drink something cold or take in a breath of cold air) or shooting pains in your teeth. The higher the concentration of bleach, the higher your risk of experiencing more sensitivity.

If you experience any sensitivity, then stop bleaching for a few days. Depending on the kind of bleaching product you buy, you can bleach for 30min-1hour during the day or bleach at night while you are sleeping. Please consult your dentist or orthodontist for specific instructions with the kind of bleach you buy. It is recommended to buy the bleach from a dental professional instead of online. Tips for bleaching: 1) Do not overbleach! Teeth can become brittle and super sensitive if you are bleaching for more than 1-2 weeks at a time. 2) When you put the bleach in the Invisalign trays, do not overfill the trays. Wipe away any excess that spills out with a paper towel. If there is bleach on your gums, they might get irritated. 3) Brush your teeth with fluoridated toothpaste after bleaching. Sensodyne toothpaste works better to help with sensitivity. 4) Clean out all the bleach from your Invisalign trays with a toothbrush. Don't leave any in the trays since the bleach can continue to work and give you uneven color. 5) Decalcifications or white spots on your teeth will look whiter and might not blend in as much with the rest of your tooth color so be aware of that before starting. 6) Crowns (caps), composite or tooth-colored fillings, implant crowns, and veneers will NOT bleach.

Happy whitening! :)

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