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Does Invisalign Hurt? Advice and Tips to Help With Invisalign Pain

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Clear aligners like Invisalign are a great alternative to fixed metal braces, but does Invisalign hurt? If this concern is what’s stopping you from getting them, then don’t worry because they are typically much less painful than traditional braces. 

Does Invisalign hurt?
Is Invisalign painful, and how long does it hurt for?

The truth is, Invisalign aligners aren’t painful in themselves. But, they are gradually moving and aligning your teeth which may result in mild pain and some discomfort. This will be the case no matter which type of orthodontic treatment you get; whether it’s fixed braces or clear aligners. 

Fortunately, there are ways to make any pain and discomfort more bearable, which we will discuss in this article, as well as the following topics and questions:

  • How much does Invisalign hurt?
  • When does Invisalign stop hurting?
  • Invisalign pain in the first week
  • Ways to reduce pain from Invisalign aligners

There’s no sugar-coating the fact that you may feel some discomfort with Invisalign aligners. However, some people experience no pain at all so you could be one of the lucky ones! And surely a straighter smile is worth a little bit of discomfort in the long run. 

If you want to see what you might look like after orthodontic treatment with Invisalign, try their Smile View tool and preview your straighter smile in minutes. 

Let’s get started and find out more about pain from Invisalign treatment.

Is Invisalign painful? 

All orthodontic treatments are uncomfortable, if not painful, because your teeth are being pressured into the desired positions. Invisalign aligners themselves are not painful; however, as your teeth move positions they can cause aches, pains and general discomfort. 

Generally, pain from Invisalign is quite mild, and not everyone feels pain at all. If you do feel pain from your wearing your aligners, it could be because of one of the following reasons: 

  • Lower pain tolerance 
  • Sensitive gums and teeth 
  • Gingivitis  

But, even so, the pain should not be excruciating. If you experience this much pain at any point with Invisalign you should contact your dentist or orthodontist immediately. 

In the following video, a dentist explains how aligners should feel:

Straighter teeth at Infinity Dental Clinic, Leeds.

How much does Invisalign hurt?

Some orthodontic treatments are more painful than others, but Invisalign aligners are one of the least painful options. 

Traditional fixed braces, with brackets and wires, are more painful than clear aligners according to this study. One of the reasons for this could be that not only are they aligning your smile, but they can also be pretty sharp and cause irritation to your gums and cheeks. 

Invisalign aligners don’t have brackets and wires that can rub and scratch your mouth. They are custom made clear plastic trays that should fit snugly to your teeth to gradually straighten them. 

If you want to go for the less painful option, why not see if you are eligible for treatment with Invisalign? You can do their quick Smile Assessment to find out now, or book a consultation with your nearest provider to learn more 

When does Invisalign hurt? 

The good news is that if you feel any pain with Invisalign, it won't be constant. There are times that your aligners may hurt more than others, including in the following situations:

tooth pain invisalign
Attachments help your aligner put extra pressure on your teeth, so may cause slight discomfort in one tooth
  • When you first get your aligners 
  • If your aligner has any rough or sharp edges 
  • As you get used to wearing aligners
  • Each time you switch to a new set of aligners 
  • When you are chewing or eating
  • If you have any attachments, buttons or elastic bands

Of course, when you first put on your Invisalign aligners they may be uncomfortable. That’s because you are not used to them, and they are putting new pressure on your teeth and mouth! But, the longer you wear your aligners, you should get used to them. 

You shouldn’t feel any pain when you are eating, and if you do, speak with your dentist. However, if your teeth and jaw are already sore then it may be a little uncomfortable to chew at first. 

Attachments, buttons and elastics help your aligner put extra pressure on your teeth which may cause more pain around certain teeth. Or, if you are having your overbite corrected, or another type of malocclusion, the buttons and elastics will be helping to realign your bite and might cause your jaw to ache.

Another issue that you may encounter is if the edges of your aligner are sharp or rough. This can cause irritation and soreness of the gums, but your dentist can rectify this easily if you let them know. 

It’s important to remember that any pain from Invisalign won’t last forever, so don’t let it put you off getting treatment. 

When does Invisalign stop hurting?

Invisalign pain should only last for the first 2-3 days of a new aligner. So, if you are changing your aligner every 2 weeks then you should only experience pain for those first few days of each new set. 

Everyone is different though, and some people may experience no pain at all, and some just mild discomfort. But, if you are experiencing pain that lasts much longer than this then you may need to contact your dentist or orthodontist for advice. 

Invisalign pain first week

The most common time that you may experience pain with Invisalign aligners is during the first week, as we mentioned before. But, this study found that 83% of people got used to their Invisalign aligners after the first week, 53% of people only experienced very mild pain, and 35% didn’t experience any at all. 

invisalign pain first week
It may hurt to take your Invisalign aligners off to begin with

If you are one of the people that does experience pain with Invisalign, some of the types of pain that you can expect to have in the first week include:

  • An ache in the jaw
  • Single tooth pain 
  • Aching facial muscles 
  • Sore Tongue 
  • Pain or sensitivity in several teeth
  • Invisalign hurts to take off

Fortunately, none of these symptoms should last forever! They are mainly associated with the first week of wearing your aligners, and for the first couple of days when you switch to a new set. 

Let’s look at some of the ways you can help to alleviate any Invisalign aches and pains. 

How to alleviate pain from Invisalign 

Although getting any pain from orthodontic treatment isn’t great, it will be worth it when you have straighter teeth. Especially as there are a number of different ways you can help alleviate any Invisalign pain. 

Wear your aligners as much as possible

If you wear your aligners for the full 22 hours a day right from the beginning, you are more likely to get used to them faster. Although you might want to take them out when they get uncomfortable or painful, it’s best to keep them in so you can adjust and get used to them. But, of course, take them out to eat and drink.

It also helps to make sure your aligners are properly seated, and using devices like Invisalign chewies can help with this. Badly seated aligners can put pressure in the wrong places and cause unnecessary pain and discomfort, and even disrupt your treatment from working correctly.

Put new Invisalign aligners in before bed

When it’s time to change to a new set of aligners, change them just before you go to bed. This will help reduce the amount of discomfort you feel with brand new aligners as your teeth should adjust to them while you sleep.

invisalign hurts to take off
A cold compress can help with Invisalign jaw pain

Use a cold compress or drink cold water

For jaw pain with Invisalign, you can apply a cold compress to help soothe the muscles in the area. Icepacks or even frozen bags of peas are perfect for this, but make sure you wrap them in a towel first to protect your skin. 

Chewing or sucking on ice cubes, or drinking cold water can have a similar soothing effect on Invisalign teeth pain

Orthodontic wax

Sometimes the edges of your aligners can be a little bit rough or sharp on your gums, especially if your gums are particularly sensitive. This can be resolved with the use of orthodontic wax.

All you have to do is pinch a little bit of dental wax off, roll it in your fingers to soften it and then smooth it over the area of your aligner that is giving you problems. 

This is something that can be sorted out by your dentist if you let them know, but wax can help until you get to the dental practice. 

Over-the-counter pain relief

As a last resort, over-the-counter pain relief can help. It is best to try and get used to the discomfort first, but pain relief is a great option if it gets too much. Make sure you follow the instructions and take the recommended dosage on the packet  

Change your eating habits

In some cases, you can experience single tooth pain with Invisalign. This may be because one tooth is experiencing more pressure than others as it is gradually pressured into a new position.

Try to eat on the other side of your mouth and avoid using that tooth until it feels a little better. This will help to alleviate pain when eating. If you have pain in your jaw as you get used to your aligners, chewing will feel slightly uncomfortable. 

It’s best to eat soft foods at first, just while your jaw and teeth get used to new aligners. There is nothing stopping you from eating harder food, but it may feel more uncomfortable to bite down. 

Conclusion

invisalign hurts so bad
Invisalign aligners aren't painful, but your teeth may hurt from being realigned

Invisalign aligners are not painful, but they are moving and realigning your teeth which may feel sore and uncomfortable at some point. 

All orthodontic treatments can cause pain due to the fact that your teeth are being pressured to move. However, if we look at studies, Invisalign aligners are typically less painful than fixed appliances. 

The first week of wearing Invisalign aligners can be the most painful as your teeth and jaw are adjusting. But, most people say that this pain or discomfort goes away after the first week. Others say they only get very mild pain and some lucky people never feel any pain at all!

If you do get pain with Invisalign there are plenty of ways to help you alleviate it. You can use icepacks and cold compresses, orthodontic wax and of course, over the counter pain relief. 

Don’t let your concerns about Invisalign pain put you off getting these aligners. The chances are you will only feel mild discomfort in the first week, or when changing aligner sets. And, it will be worth it for a more confident, straighter smile. 

If you’re still not sure if these aligners are for you, why not book a free consultation with your nearest provider to find out more. Just use the advanced search tool to find Invisalign providers giving free first consultations.

Does Invisalign Hurt? Advice and Tips to Help With Invisalign Pain
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Contributors:
Amanda combines her medical background with her love for writing to bring you informed and accurate content at Dentaly.org.
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