Does Invisalign Hurt? Pain Levels and Ways to Manage It

by | Feb 28, 2023 | Teeth Straightening

Dental patient

Clear dental aligners are the perfect substitute for traditional braces, as they make use of clear plastic material instead of metal. Invisalign is a renowned brand name when it comes to these sorts of orthodontic devices.

If you’re considering an Invisalign aligner, you may be wondering about the potential pain level. While Invisalign is generally a very comfortable treatment, some patients do experience some discomfort during the early stages of treatment.

Here’s what you need to know about Invisalign pain and how to manage it if you do experience pain or any discomfort.


Invisalign treatment

Invisalign treatment is an innovative orthodontic solution that helps to align the teeth with the pressure that is applied over time.

An added benefit of Invisalign treatment is its discreet design, as the clear aligners simply sit on top and have very low visibility compared to traditional braces.

Depending on the individual, this pressure may cause mild discomfort. This combination of pressure and discretion makes Invisalign a popular choice for many people looking to improve their teeth alignment and gain back their confidence in their smiles.


Invisalign vs braces

In comparison to traditional braces, commonly referred to as “fixed appliances,” Invisalign is believed to cause less discomfort.

Invisalign provides an innovative solution to realigning your teeth with clear plastic trays instead of traditional metal wires and brackets. Not only are these trays virtually invisible on your teeth, but they also promise a more comfortable experience than their metallic counterparts!

Furthermore, some people are more likely to take medications for pain relief during the first week of wearing fixed braces.

discomfort clear aligners invisalign chatswoodDespite this, it’s possible to become comfortable with both kinds of dental devices.

According to a 2020 research review, the discomfort that comes with Invisalign and traditional braces tends to decrease after three months of use.

Although you may experience some discomfort in the first few weeks of your new trays, the Invisalign system will not require as much time to complete compared to traditional metal braces. According to the American Dental Association, completing treatment with Invisalign can occur within 12-18 months, whereas sustaining metal braces for three years is common.

Furthermore, many individuals find traditional metal and wire braces to be uncomfortable due to their sharp edges as well as protruding parts. They may also cause pain in your gums when pressed up against them.


Invisalign and pain

Invisalign, a popular alternative to traditional braces, has become increasingly popular in recent years due to its virtually invisible nature and ease of use.

Many Invisalign patients have expressed concern about Invisalign and pain. However, there is no need to fear.

Invisalign is designed to gradually move your teeth into the desired position with minimal pain and discomfort. In some cases, increased sensitivity is expected during the active aligning process as a result of natural tooth movement.

However, Invisalign is designed to reduce this discomfort through special features such as uniquely designed aligners and attachments for sensitive teeth. In general, using Invisalign should cause no more pain or discomfort than traditional braces would.


How long does the pain last?

Generally speaking, Invisalign patients may experience some discomfort when putting in a new set of aligners. This pain can last up to two weeks as the teeth become accustomed to the new shape.


Pain in the first week

You may experience some initial discomfort with Invisalign, but it’s usually just a temporary sensation. A 2005 study revealed that 83% of people who use invisible aligners managed to get used to them within the first seven days – so you can rest assured knowing you’ll quickly adapt and be on your way to straighter teeth!


Amount of pain

Generally, those using invisible aligners have described the pain as mild and fleeting. The previously mentioned survey indicated that a majority of individuals (54%) experienced minimal discomfort while more than one-third (35%) felt absolutely zero aches.

Of the primary complaints of Invisalign wearers, discomfort during chewing was reported by an overwhelming 44% in a recent study.

All in all, statistics demonstrate that Invisalign generally causes mild and temporal pain; not everyone will experience it. Nevertheless, if you have any of the following conditions, then you are more likely to feel discomfort from dental aligners:


Pain in one tooth

Feelings of temporary discomfort in only one tooth could be an indication that your aligners are doing their job correctly by gradually shifting the position of your teeth.

When transitioning from one tray to the next, you may experience some tooth sensitivity that should quickly dissipate within a few days.

However, any pain and discomfort are usually mild and dissipate quickly. Invisalign wearers should also keep in mind that minor movements of the teeth can continue for up to 6 weeks after placing a new set of aligners.



How to manage the pain? 

Managing invisalign pain can be challenging, but there are a few steps you can take to minimise discomfort.


Over-the-counter pain medication

Over-the-counter pain medication is often a great place to start, as it can help alleviate minor aches and pains.


Cold compress

Additionally, placing a cold compress over your mouth can help reduce swelling.


Dental wax

For sharp gum pain related to braces, dental wax may be useful in covering any edges that cause irritation.


Change the way you eat

Change how you eat by cutting up food into smaller pieces, and try not to chew directly on hard foods like apples and carrots, which may damage the braces over time.


Don’t clean your aligners with hot water

Hot water can harm your aligners and cause them to fit incorrectly. Instead, opt for lukewarm or cold water when cleaning to ensure a properly fitting device every time!


Avoid hard or crunchy foods

To soothe your aching teeth, it is highly recommended that you switch to a soft food diet. This suggestion holds especially true when transitioning between different sets of aligners.


Keep your trays in

Additionally, make sure to wear your aligner trays or retainers as much as possible – keeping them in will help reduce inflammation over time.


Ice cubes

Numbing the areas affected by Invisalign treatment is easy with ice cubes! Plus, you don’t even have to take off your aligners while doing this.

Avoid biting into the ice cubes. Doing so may cause unnecessary discomfort and tooth sensitivity, especially when wearing Invisalign. Hard foods should be avoided to prevent pain or damage to your teeth.


When to call your dentist

invisalign aligners manage pain chatswoodYou may experience minor discomfort or mild pain in the following areas of your body during the initial week of wearing your new aligners:

  • Facial swelling
  • Difficulty swallowing food
  • Bleeding teeth or gums
  • Hot or cold sensitivity

In some cases, these symptoms may be indicative of a more serious dental condition which can be easily addressed if caught early.

In other cases, the discomfort and swelling can be relieved with minor adjustments to Invisalign trays or corrections to your home care routine.

No matter the cause of the symptoms, however, it is important to call your dentist right away if your Invisalign hurts. Doing so may reduce pain and prevent further complications from developing down the line.


Taking off Your Invisalign Can be a Painful Process

Taking on and off Invisalign trays is a process that needs to be done regularly. The initial fitting of the tray may experience extreme tightness, plus your teeth can ache as they shift- making putting on or taking off the trays quite painful.

When it comes time to take out your Invisalign, and you feel some discomfort, this is probably because the trays are firmly gripping your teeth. To remove them without tools or instruments, start from the molars using only your fingers – no matter how tight they seem!

Even though it may be uncomfortable, Invisalign-related pain is only temporary, and it should dissipate within a couple of days. As of now, there’s no prescribed cure for this type of discomfort, but you can take over-the-counter medications to help ease your suffering in the meantime. However, ultimately time will bring you relief and resolve any lingering tenderness.

If the trays become unbearable to remove and this issue continues for a prolonged period of time, it is highly recommended that you contact your dentist’s office for assistance and guidance!


How long does the treatment take?

Invisalign aligners have revolutionised orthodontic treatment, providing a discreet and comfortable solution for those looking to straighten their teeth.

In most cases, users will start to see results with Invisalign within a few weeks or months of beginning treatment, with traditional braces often taking 18-24 months.


Is Invisalign Worth it?

Whether you choose to invest in Invisalign or not depends on your individual situation. Both metal braces and Invisalign have their advantages and disadvantages that should be weighed carefully before making a decision.

Invisalign is a popular option for those seeking to correct teeth alignment, and it’s known to be far less uncomfortable than traditional braces. In addition, this device may resolve misalignment more quickly compared to metal brackets. Unfortunately, not everyone can reap the benefits of aligners – especially if jaw structure issues are present.

Invisalign treatment can be a great way to achieve the smile of your dreams, but it’s important to be prepared for the discomfort that comes with it.

If you are looking for a painless alternative to metal braces, Invisalign is the perfect solution for you. Not only does it offer an aesthetically pleasing treatment option, but it also provides comfort and convenience compared with traditional dental appliances. As pain management is key to making sure you finish your treatment plan and love your new smile.

If you are still wondering whether Invisalign is worth it, or are already in the middle of treatment and need help managing the pain, don’t hesitate to reach out to Boutique Dental Care Chatswood by calling on (02) 9054 5281. Our friendly team is here to help you every step of the way.




Pain level between clear aligners and fixed appliances: a systematic review

Say Cheese! 7 Advantages of Invisalign Over Traditional Braces

12 Signs You Need to See a Dentist

Analysis of pain level in cases treated with Invisalign aligner: comparison with fixed edgewise appliance therapy

Motivation, Acceptance and Problems of Invisalign® Patients

Discomfort associated with Invisalign and traditional brackets: A randomized, prospective trial