All posts | February 26, 2024

Does Invisalign Hurt?

by Karin Grinbaum

Considering Invisalign clear aligners? It's normal to wonder if the treatment process will be painful. Invisalign has many benefits over old-fashioned braces, but do these virtually invisible straightening trays also come with discomfort? Here's what to expect in terms of Invisalign pain levels.

Understanding Discomfort vs. Pain

First, it's important to differentiate between general discomfort and outright pain when starting Invisalign treatment.

You may experience discomfort such as pressure and tenderness is common, especially for the first one to three days after advancing to each new aligner tray in the series. As the aligners settle into place, discomfort typically improves.

However, sharp pain when wearing aligners is not normal. Occasional sensitivity when eating or drinking hot or cold foods can occur, but pain signaling damage to teeth, nerves or soft tissue should be reported to your orthodontist immediately.

Why Does My Mouth Hurt With Invisalign?

As Invisalign trays apply controlled forces to shift teeth into better alignment, associated pressure on teeth, roots and the jawbone can translate as discomfort or even mild pain in some cases. Many Invisalign patients report the following common side effects:

  • Tender Teeth: Teeth may feel sore or sensitive as they settle into new positions. This discomfort is often worst at the beginning of each new tray. The roots of the teeth are compressed and the nerves inside can become aggravated.
  • Soft Tissue Irritation: Aligners rubbing against the cheeks and gums can cause temporary soreness, swelling or abrasions. However, your mouth will toughen up quickly. Gums and cheeks can become raw and irritated from the plastic.
  • Loose Teeth: Teeth loosening in their sockets due to Invisalign movement stresses is harmless but feels strange. The periodontal ligament securing each tooth gets inflamed and teeth will have increased mobility.
  • Headaches: Jaw, face and sometimes headache pain results from bite change and muscular adjustment to the aligners. Teeth are literally being shifted into new positions and it takes time for the muscles and joints to adapt. Headaches typically resolve within one week of changing trays.
  • Changes in Speech: Mouth soreness combined with bulky aligners can temporarily impact speech and cause a lisp for the first few days after switching into a new aligner set. The plastic can feel invasive to the tongue which disrupts normal speech patterns.

Proper oral hygiene and avoiding very hot or hard foods can help manage discomfort, which is generally worse over the first five days of each two-week aligner cycle. Pain lasting beyond this timeframe or severe discomfort interfering with normal activities warrants a call to your orthodontist's office.

Does Invisalign Hurt More Than Braces?

Some report less overall pain with Invisalign versus traditional braces, however others experience more persistent discomfort with Invisalign due to how aligners apply constant pressure against the teeth for elongated periods.

Everyone's pain tolerance varies. Ultimately there is some degree of discomfort associated with orthodontic movement of teeth. Communicating with your orthodontist can help maximize comfort during Invisalign treatment.

FAQs: Invisalign Pain Management

Is it normal for Invisalign to hurt at first?

Invisalign wear may cause some degree of discomfort and pressure is common when first adapting to Invisalign aligner trays, especially when advancing into a new set. Significantly sharp or prolonged pain is abnormal, however.

How can I reduce Invisalign pain?

Try OTC pain relievers, orthodontic wax for sore spots, switching to soft foods, and waiting it out for the first week in new trays. Avoid extreme hot or cold foods. Stay hydrated and maintain excellent oral hygiene habits.

When should I call my orthodontist about Invisalign pain?

Contact our orthodontist promptly if pain prevents proper aligner wear for over 3-5 days per tray or signals dental/nerve damage. You should not endure severe, ongoing pain.

Get Your Invisalign Evaluation at Smiles+Grins!