Does Invisalign Hurt

Does Invisalign Hurt?

Does Invisalign hurt? Clear dental aligners, like Invisalign, have become a popular choice over traditional braces due to their discreet, clear plastic design. Though Invisalign is generally more comfortable than metal braces, there’s a chance you might feel some mild discomfort during the treatment. Let’s explore what to expect in terms of pain during Invisalign treatment.

Understanding Invisalign and Potential Pain

Invisalign is designed to gradually straighten teeth alignment, and it may cause mild pain, especially in the initial stages of use. According to insights from Diamond Dental, the likelihood of experiencing pain is most significant within the first week of using these invisible teeth aligners. It’s crucial to note that individual pain tolerance varies, and some users may not experience any pain at all.

Does Invisalign Hurt in the First Week

Any pain or discomfort associated with Invisalign is typically temporary, with the highest risk occurring during the first week of adapting to the new aligners. A study conducted in 2005 found that 83 percent of invisible aligner users became accustomed to dental aligners within just one week.

The Amount of Pain

Reports suggest that the pain experienced by Invisalign is generally mild and temporary. The same study revealed that 54 percent of users encountered mild pain, while 35 percent reported no pain. Discomfort during chewing was a common complaint, with 44 percent of users experiencing this symptom.
Certain factors may increase the likelihood of experiencing pain, including lower pain tolerance and sensitive teeth and gums prone to gingivitis.

Pain in One Tooth

Temporary pain in a specific tooth may indicate that the aligners are effectively adjusting the teeth. The pain may not be consistent with each aligner tray change, and any discomfort is expected to diminish within a few days.

Duration of Pain and a Comparison with Braces

The pain from Invisalign typically lasts for 2 to 3 days following the installation of new aligners. Since Invisalign requires new trays every two weeks, users may experience mild pain and discomfort in the initial days of each cycle. As users become accustomed to wearing the aligners, these symptoms tend to become less pronounced.
In a comparative analysis between Invisalign and traditional braces, a 2017 study found that Invisalign generally caused less pain than traditional braces, also known as “fixed appliances.” The clear plastic used in Invisalign aligners is believed to be more comfortable compared to the metal wires and brackets of traditional braces.
A 2020 research review confirmed that pain associated with both Invisalign and traditional braces typically declines after three months of use. While some users may experience pain at the beginning of each new tray cycle, the overall duration of the Invisalign process is shorter than that of metal braces, with Invisalign requiring 12 to 18 months compared to up to five years for braces, according to the American Dental Association.

Identifying Concerns and Managing Pain

While mild pain may be expected during the initial stages of Invisalign use, it should not be severe or significantly interfere with daily activities. Users should contact their orthodontist immediately if they experience:
  • Bleeding teeth or gums
  • Hot or cold sensitivity
  • Pain when eating, drinking, or swallowing food
  • Pain accompanied by facial swelling

Strategies to Alleviate Pain

For those finding the pain uncomfortable, several strategies can be employed:

  • Use Dental Wax: Applying dental wax to the top edges of aligners, where roughness may occur, can help reduce friction and alleviate gum pain.
  • Over-the-counter Medications: Consider over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil), or aspirin for pain relief. Consult with a healthcare professional to ensure compatibility with other medications or underlying medical conditions.
  • Modify Eating Habits: For pain isolated to one tooth, avoid placing pressure on that side of the mouth while eating until the discomfort subsides.
  • Keep Aligners In: Ensure aligners are worn for at least 22 hours a day, following orthodontist recommendations. While tempting to remove aligners when in pain, doing so may decrease overall pain tolerance to the trays.

When to Seek Professional Assistance

If pain persists beyond a week of using new aligners or worsens with each cycle, users should contact their orthodontist. Orthodontists can make adjustments to the aligners, such as filing down top edges, irritating. While mild discomfort during each tray change is expected, a worsening pattern may indicate the need for professional intervention.

For more questions related to “Does Invisalign hurt?” connect with our experienced dentist at Diamond Dental, Bellingham, WA. Schedule your appointment effortlessly online or give us a call at (360) 516-4610 if you’re a new patient. All other callers can reach us at (360) 734-1999. Your path to a comfortable and confident smile starts here!


Most patients report that symptoms typically subside within 1-3 days after wearing a new aligner.
Typically, Invisalign causes less discomfort than traditional braces. The SmartTrack aligner material used in Invisalign is designed for continuous gentle force, whereas braces may front-load pressure with manual adjustments.
Yes, these sensations usually indicate that the aligners are effectively moving teeth and working toward the desired alignment.
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