Tooth & gum pain is a common side effect of most orthodontic treatments, and clear aligners are no exception. The discomfort can be particularly intense when a patient first puts on a brand-new aligner.
Over-the-counter pain medications can help, but did you know that some pain relievers can inhibit the successful movement of teeth? In a 1996 study, researchers placed orthodontic appliances on guinea pigs and tested the effects of ibuprofen (Advil), acetaminophen (Tylenol), and misoprostol. They found that ibuprofen significantly inhibited the movement of the teeth. They did not specifically test the effects of aspirin or naproxen, but those belong to the same family of NSAIDs, so it's probably safest to avoid those as well.
Fortunately, acetaminophen had no effect on the movement of the teeth compared to the control group.
So, ClearCorrect patients: reach for the Tylenol, and leave the Advil on the shelf.
Until next time...
Source: Michael J. Kehoe, Steven M. Cohen, Kourosh Zarrinnia, and Alan Cowan (1996) The effect of acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and misoprostol on prostaglandin E2 synthesis and the degree and rate of orthodontic tooth movement. The Angle Orthodontist: October 1996, Vol. 66, No. 5, pp. 339-350.