A common side effect of Invisalign is headaches, especially when first starting or when switching aligner trays. These headaches can occur for a number of reasons, and can range from minor discomfort to full on migraine. It is important to know that you are a good candidate before embarking on Invisalign treatment, as if you are prone to headaches or migraines it might not be the best choice for you.
Boston dentist Dr. Ryan Clancy offers both Invisalign and full face orthodontics for his patients. If you are not a candidate for Invisalign, or if you have issues with TMJ, full face orthodontics may be a better choice as it takes into account the whole face, instead of just moving the teeth with no regard to jaw placement.
Preventing Headaches with Invisalign
Unfortunately, some people will always get headaches when using Invisalign. The severity and intensity of your headaches will depend on your individual teeth and jaw alignment. There are a number of different scenarios that could cause Invisalign headaches, including:
- The aligner trays cause you to clench your teeth, resulting in tension headaches
- Shifting your teeth causes your bite to shift, resulting in a misaligned jaw and headaches or other TMJ symptoms
- Shifting your teeth causes minor strain on your jaw, resulting in temporary headaches
Straightening the teeth can be a complex process, and if your dentist does not take the time to ensure your trays are precisely calibrated to ensure your bite remains stable it can result in not only headaches but full TMJ disorder.
On the other hand, in some instances straightening the teeth can help relieve TMJ disorder. If you are suffering from a misaligned bite resulting from crooked teeth, straightening the teeth can help to realign the jaw and relieve your TMJ symptoms.
Invisalign isn’t a cookie cutter process that works the same for everybody. This is why it’s so important to see a dentist who has the experience necessary to recognize who is a good candidate, and who may actually benefit more from a different treatment, such as full face orthodontics. Dr. Clancy takes the utmost care to create a teeth straightening plan with the least amount of discomfort and best long-term results for his patients.
What to Do If You Get Bad Headaches with Invisalign
If you get minor headaches when switching your trays, but they don’t interfere with your daily life and are manageable, you will probably be fine just taking some ibuprofen and toughing it out until you’re used to the new aligner tray and the headaches stop.
However, if your headaches are so bad that they start to interfere with your sleep or quality of life, you should visit Dr. Clancy as soon as possible to get to the bottom of it. It may be that your aligner tray isn’t correct, you are developing TMJ disorder, your bite is becoming misaligned, you’re going too fast through treatment, or another reason. Bad headaches or migraines are not a normal side effect of Invisalign, and likely mean something is wrong.