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Does Invisalign® Hurt?

Updated: May 14

If you’re considering treatment with clear aligners like Invisalign®, you may worry about aligner pain and discomfort. One of your main concerns may be around the question, do aligners like Invisalign® hurt? Good news, you can stop worrying! While it’s noted that the tooth movements your aligners create might cause a few minor aches, it’s not unbearable. In fact, it’s easily managed.

Common Kinds of Aligner Pain

While “pain” is a strong word, it’s good to know what to expect when considering aligners like Invisalign®.

  • Tooth Movement and Aligner Fit

Around half of aligners wearers minor discomfort during the course of their aligner treatment. Their pain is typically described as a tenderness or pressure. Often, the discomfort is only noticed while wearing the aligners or triggered when you take them in and out to eat and clean.

  • Pressure Means the Aligners are Working

If you do notice minor discomfort when wearing your aligners, it’s a sign that they’re doing their job. Your teeth do need a small amount of pressure to realign, and while the slight pressure may not be fun, it is an essential part of the how aligners like Invisalign® work.

  • Tongue and Gum Irritation

The edge of some aligners might have a positioning or length that rubs against your cheek, tongue, the floor of the mouth or gums. It can cause a significant amount of irritation, especially if you don’t control the rubbing early on.

Studies show that very few aligner patients experience this type of irritation and that aligners like Invisalign® tend to be less irritating to the soft tissues in your mouth compared to wire braces and brackets. Of course, you might want to trim or smooth off the offending edges yourself. But, we recommend not endeavouring an adjustment yourself. Instead, contact your orthodontist for advice to find out more about what types of changes are acceptable for your aligners, and your mouth.

We know that you want to reduce the offending edge, but you don’t want to risk trimming off too much that you compromise how the aligners sit over the teeth and its ability to create the tooth movements it needs to. If you damage an aligner, a new one will have to be remade and could slow down your treatment time and how long treatment takes. It’s just not worth trying to do yourself.

Changing Aligners

As you know, treatment in aligners like Invisalign® involves series of several aligners during the process. The discrepancy between the shape of your next aligner and the alignment of your teeth is greatest when you begin wearing your next aligner. This is when the pressure is at it’s greatest, and you may feel some discomfort. Over time, though, your teeth will start to shift and conform to fit the aligner. Any pain will subside and your mouth will relax.

Our patients report only slight discomfort – and most will find it is well worth it to see their teeth move into their desired positions.
Our patients report only slight discomfort – and most will find it is well worth it to see their teeth move into their desired positions.

Do Aligners like Invisalign® Hurt? It’s More Pressure Than Anything Else

If you’re wondering do aligners like Invisalign® hurt? And how much? Know that it’s really more a mild discomfort that does ease over time. There are a few things you can do, though, to ease that discomfort:

  • Start a New Set of Aligners at Night

To minimise how much discomfort you may notice, switch to your new set of aligners just before going to bed. That way, you will be fast asleep during those first tender hours.

Keep in mind that the act of taking out a new set of aligners can be uncomfortable. So, if you make the switch just before bedtime, your teeth will have a few hours to adjust before you have to remove your aligners.

  • OTC Pain Relief

An effective way of controlling aligner comfort is with over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatories. Even aspirin can do the trick. What you would usually take for something like a headache is fine. Please always check with your doctor or pharmacist before using something new.

These painkillers help to inhibit the formation of compounds that tend to stimulate body pain receptors. If you’re prone to aligner pain, you can take a painkiller about an hour before switching to a new set of aligners.

Make Your Aligners More Comfortable

While aligner pain is mild, there are a few things you can do to make your aligners more comfortable.

  • Avoid eating anything crunchy or hard during your first few days of wearing a new aligner.

  • Put new aligners in just before bed to give your teeth time to settle overnight.

  • Try not to clench your jaw. When you relax your jaw, the top and bottom teeth shouldn’t touch.

The most important thing is to continue wearing your aligners. Sure, it’s tempting to take them out when they start to ache, but you have to keep wearing them if you want the discomfort to subside. You also don’t want to prolong treatment.

When Will the Aligner Pain Stop?

The discomfort usually eases within one or two days after your aligner tray change. That’s because the pressure and tooth movement decreases, and the feeling of tightness subsides. Some patients report that keeping the tray in for a little longer than the recommended 22 hours can help any pain and discomfort pass quicker. Overall, almost all discomfort disappears after two days.

If the pain feels somewhat different to what you expect, it could be a gum or tooth problem. Be sure to keep up good oral hygiene practice and book an appointment with your general dentist if the pain persists.

Wearing your trays well will help to minimise any discomfort
Wearing your trays well will help to minimise any discomfort

How long is Treatment in Aligners like Invisalign®?

Keep in mind that tooth discomfort or pain is a sign that the treatment is doing what it should. People tend to get incredible results from this treatment in as little as sixth months. So, just remember how amazing your smile – and your confidence – will be when the treatment comes to an end.

So, do aligners like Invisalign® hurt? Overall, pain is mild, only lasts for a maximum of two days, and there are handy and quick ways to overcome the discomfort. Follow the above tips, you’ll sail through your treatment!

Find out if you’re a candidate for aligner treatment like Invisalign® by booking a free assessment, or get in touch with Fine Orthodontics.

*If orthodontic X-rays are required, a fee of $180 applies. See Terms and Conditions. Treatment may not be suitable for you.

These Products are not available for purchase by the general public. They are however available to Fine Orthodontics patients. Always read the label and follow the instructions for use.


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Specialist Orthodontist Input by Dr Martin Fine BDS, MSc, MSc

Dr Martin Fine

Dr Martin Fine

Specialist Orthodontist Dr Martin Fine, BDS, MSc (Orthodontics), is based in Sydney's Eastern Suburbs. With over 30 years' experience in private practice, Dr Fine has expertise working with a wide variety of orthodontic appliances, including braces and Invisalign. He has presented at orthodontic conferences globally, and has taught postgraduate orthodontic students at the University of Sydney. Dr Fine is a member of both the AAO (American Association of Orthodontists) and the ASO (Australian Society of Orthodontists), and is a former president of the Alpha-Omega Dental Society's Sydney Chapter.  In the past, Dr Fine's research has been featured in the Angle Orthodontist journal. Dr Fine is committed to providing outstanding patient care using the latest and most effective techniques. Most recently, Dr Fine has developed and introduced the innovative FineLine clear aligner system, which has been specifically developed to meet the needs of patients at Fine Orthodontics.

Written by Danielle Long, writer

Danielle Long

Danielle Long.png

Danielle Long is a writer at Fine Orthodontics. She holds graduate qualifications in English and Education and is an integral part of the team at Fine Orthodontics. Danielle Long has been assisting in the orthodontic care process at Fine Orthodontics for over fifteen years, working closely with the team to provide exceptional patient support, communication and coordination of treatment plans. As a writer and an orthodontic treatment coordinator, Danielle Long's primary responsibilities include facilitating exceptional patient education and communication, ensuring seamless coordination of treatment plans, and providing support to the clinical orthodontic team at Fine Orthodontics.

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