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We’ll cut straight to it, and answer your question:

Does Invisalign hurt?

The short answer:

Invisalign may cause temporary tenderness or discomfort.

Now wait, don’t run away yet!

The truth is:

Whenever you move teeth, whether it’s with clear aligners or braces, there’s always a chance of this.

And if there’s one key takeaway from this blog, it’s this:

Don’t let the fear of pain stop you from getting Invisalign.

It’s not as bad as you may think.

If you’ve had braces in the past or heard stories about pain with braces, you’ll be happy to know Invisalign hurts less!

Before and after Invisalign photos with text, "Don’t let the fear of pain stop you from getting Invisalign results like this."

How bad does Invisalign hurt?

Invisalign “pain” is often described as your teeth being tender or sensitive to the touch/bite, feeling pressure around your teeth, and discomfort.

This feeling may impact what you eat for a few days, like avoiding hard or crunchy food. Other than that, it shouldn’t debilitate your life by any means, and it should go away within a few days.

Ultimately though, it’ll depend on your pain threshold and the types of tooth movements needed.

Keep reading for tips on how to deal with Invisalign discomfort.

Why does Invisalign “hurt?”

There are three types of discomfort you may experience with Invisalign:

1. Pressure on your teeth as they move

This is the most common.

When you wear an Invisalign clear aligner, it’ll apply pressure on your teeth to slowly move them.

You’ll wear a series of clear aligners over the course of your treatment, with each set moving your teeth further and further toward your end goal.

When you wear a new set of aligners, your teeth may feel tender or sore for a few days.

This is because your teeth are adjusting to the new pressure being exerted from the aligner.

How long does Invisalign hurt?

Most patients will tell you symptoms go away 1-3 days after wearing a new aligner.

Does Invisalign hurt as much as braces?

Typically, Invisalign hurts less than braces.

Invisalign’s SmartTrack® aligner material… This text opens a new tab to the SmartTrack page… was specifically designed to keep you comfortable by applying a gentle continuous force.

Whereas braces tend to frontload the pressure with manual adjustments by an orthodontist or dentist.

Another important note:

Tenderness and slight discomfort are actually a good sign! It means your aligners are working and moving your teeth.

It’ll all be worth it in the end when you have a beautifully straight smile for the rest of your life.

2. Initial adjustment

When you first start wearing aligners, your gums and the inside of your cheeks and lips may take a week or two to get used to them.

For example, the edge of the aligners may rub slightly. If this happens, orthodontic wax will help protect the afflicted area.

Once your mouth develops callouses or “tougher tissue” to prevent irritation, you shouldn’t experience this again throughout your treatment.

3. Rough or sharp edges

On rare occasions, you may receive an aligner that has a rough or sharp edge.

If this is the case, call your Invisalign provider.

The typical solution is to have you come in and clip or file down that part of the aligner.

Bonus:

With Invisalign, you don’t have to deal with metal brackets or wires that can fall off, poke you, etc.

Woman putting in Invisalign aligners with text, "10 tips to make Invisalign comfortable!"

How do you deal with Invisalign discomfort?

Here are 10 tips to help make Invisalign comfortable and alleviate any painful side effects:

1. Wear your aligners as instructed

If you don’t:

  • Wear your aligners for 20+ hours a day
  • Switch to new aligners on time
  • Maintain your scheduled checkups

Then your aligners won’t work or fit as they’re intended to, making the process less comfortable.

2. Start new aligners before going to bed

The first few hours of wearing a new set of aligners are when you tend to feel the most pressure.

By starting new aligners before bed, you’ll *hopefully* get eight hours of adjustment overnight.

3. Don’t clean your aligners with hot water

Hot water can warp and damage your aligners, making them fit poorly.

Instead, use lukewarm or cold water to clean your aligner.

4. Avoid hard or crunchy foods

If your teeth are sore, stick to a soft food diet.

This is especially helpful when you switch to a new set of aligners.

5. Drink cold water or suck on ice cubes

The cold temperature soothes away pain.

You can do both of these things while wearing your aligners. But make sure you don’t chew on the ice cube, or you may damage the aligner.

6. Apply a cold compress

The same thought as above but another way to relieve pain.

Make sure you wrap the cold compress or ice pack with a cloth and only keep it on for 20 minutes at a time.

7. Chew

Chewing can actually be quite relieving.

We recommend products made specifically for Invisalign, like Chewies or Movemints… This text opens a new tab to the Movemint website….

8. Use orthodontic wax

If your discomfort is caused by the aligner irritating your lips, cheeks, or gums, apply orthodontic wax over the area of your aligner.

9. Take painkillers

Before resorting to painkillers, we recommend trying the natural home remedies listed above first.

If you don’t find success or need more aid, then take over-the-counter pain medication.

10. Choose a provider with an iTero scanner

If you haven’t picked an Invisalign provider yet, note this:

The iTero scanner takes 3D digital impressions that are more precise than the physical putty impressions.

This will make your aligners fit more snugly over your teeth and, thus, be more comfortable.

Bonus:

You’ll get to preview a simulation of your treatment and what your smile will look like in the end.

Lastly, contact your Invisalign provider

If your discomfort doesn’t go away or becomes unbearable, contact your orthodontist or dentist.

Key takeaway: Invisalign is worth it

The benefits of Invisalign…

  • Shorter treatment time than braces
  • No metal
  • Hardly anyone will notice
  • Remove aligners to eat, drink, brush, and floss
  • Maintain oral health more easily
  • Prevent dental problems in the long run
  • Gain a younger, more attractive smile

… significantly outweigh the slight discomfort you may encounter.

Bonus: You could save up to $1,000 off Invisalign

Our certified Invisalign Provider, Dr. T. Lance Collier, is running a special promotion for Invisalign in Columbus, GA.

Schedule a consultation to claim this offer today!

Schedule Your Visit

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T. Lance Collier, DMD, LLC is located in Columbus, GA… This text opens a new tab to our Google listing… and serves patients from surrounding communities, including Phenix City, Midland, Pine Mountain, Hamilton, West Point, Valley, Ft Mitchell, Buena Mista, Cataula, Ft Benning, Crawford, Salem, Smiths, LaGrange, Auburn, Opelika, Harris County, and Seale.