Does Invisalign Hurt?
While Invisalign is designed to be comfortable and easy to wear, some discomfort or pain may occur, especially when first wearing a new set of aligners. The clear aligners are designed to fit snugly on your teeth, in order to move them into their correct positions.
A new set may feel tight at first, but your mouth will soon adjust to the feeling. The aligners work by putting pressure on your teeth to move them into their correct alignment, so you may feel tension or discomfort, especially in the beginning. In fact, mild discomfort or tightness is a good sign that the treatment is working, since it means your teeth are being guided to their correct positions!
There are other minor issues that may crop up, which can cause discomfort or mild pain in the teeth, gums, or cheeks. These are usually simple to treat at home, and we discuss in the guide below what to do if you’re experiencing any of these issues.
Generally, patients find that Invisalign is more comfortable and less painful than metal braces. There are no metal brackets or wires that can come loose and poke your mouth, and rather than tightening the appliance, which can cause soreness in the teeth and jaw, the aligners fit snugly around your teeth for all-around movement. Invisalign aligners are made of SmartTrack material, which is clinically developed for a comfortable bit and effective results.
While Invisalign isn't entirely pain-free, you can expect mostly comfort and easy use from this effective treatment.
Tips to Avoid Pain & Discomfort with Invisalign
By following these guidelines, you'll reduce the likelihood for pain or discomfort while wearing your clear aligners.
- Try mild pain relievers for soreness or tenderness. If your aligners are causing your gums, lips, or cheeks to become irritated, or you feel general discomfort from the tightness of a new set, over-the-counter medication such an ibuprofen or aspirin can help alleviate discomfort. Don't take more than directed by the labeling and your medical provider; if pain persists, contact your orthodontist.
- Switch to a new set of aligners at night. By sleeping in your new set of aligners, your mouth will have more time to adjust to the fit of the new stage of treatment.
- Follow your orthodontist's instructions for wear. Your orthodontist has designed your unique Invisalign treatment regimen specifically for your case. They will give you detailed instructions for how to wear your aligners and when to switch to a new set. But following these directions and beginning a new set of aligners at the correct time, you'll reduce the potential for pain or discomfort, from wearing a set too early or another set too long.
- Relieve tension on your teeth by chewing an Invisalign Chewie. Chewies help adjust the fit of your aligners, but they can also offer some relief from tension in your teeth by putting pressure on the teeth by chewing. An Invisalign movemint can also help with this.
- Drink hot or cold beverages – without the aligners in! If you're having ongoing dental tension or pain, a cool drink or a hot tea or coffee can help soothe the feeling. Just remember to remove your Invisalign aligners first: drink nothing but cool water with your aligners in your mouth. Read up on some more do's and don'ts of eating and drinking with invisalign.
Common Ways to Help Reduce Pain
These simple tips can help with common Invisalign discomfort.
Orajel is a useful pain reliever specifically for the mouth. Apply it directly to the teeth or gum area that is feeling pain or discomfort; the Orajel has a numbing component that will help with discomfort, and will help to reduce swelling.
An ice pack or a cold towel can help soothe soreness or discomfort. Ice for only 20 minutes at a time to protect your skin, and wrap ice cubes in a cloth towel.
Suck on ice cubes.
The cold can be very soothing for soreness or tension from the aligners, or after flossing.
Chew on Invisalign Chewies or Movemints.
Both of these are designed to improve the fit of the clear aligners, but they double as a great way to relieve tension from the aligners by putting pressure on the teeth.
Trim edges of aligners if irritating your gums.
The scalloped edge of the Invisalign aligner is designed for comfort, but sometimes an edge will feel rough or push against your gum uncomfortably, causing swelling, redness, and/or discomfort. You can trim the edge at home using a nail clipper or cuticle scissors – trim a small piece to start, and continue incrementally to the length where the edge is no longer irritating your gum.
Most other aligner brands and direct-to-consumers aligners do not offer scalloped edges, and the straight-edged aligners may cause more irritation than Invisalign aligners.
Use orthodontic wax if attachments bother you.
If an attachment is bothering your cheeks, gums, or lips, you can put some orthodontic wax over the area.
Avoid hard or crunchy foods while your teeth are sore.
While you can eat whatever you want while your Invisalign aligners are out, very hard or crunchy foods may make the soreness in your teeth worse. Wait until your teeth feel better before eating these foods.
If pain persists or gets worse, contact your orthodontist for assistance.
Your doctor will determine what the problem is, and may have you come to the office to adjust the fit of your aligners.
Will Invisalign Pain or Discomfort Stop?
In the majority of cases, pain, soreness or discomfort goes away on its own, as your mouth and teeth adjusts to the feeling of the Invisalign aligners and attachments. You may feel soreness each time you switch to a new set of aligners, but this generally lasts only for a day or two.
Try over-the-counter medication for discomfort or soreness, or try one of the other methods listed above. If pain persists, contact your orthodontist for assistance. It may be necessary to adjust your aligners.
Do Invisalign Attachments Hurt?
Attachments are small dental fixtures placed on your teeth to give the Invisalign aligners better grip in moving your teeth: they are bonded to your teeth, but they should not cause any serious pain. Invisalign SmartForce attachments are designed with innovative technology to provide the necessary grip to the aligners to achieve the optimal results.
You may feel discomfort when they are first applied, causing soreness or inflammation in your gums, cheeks, or lips, but you should get used to them quickly as your mouth adjusts to the feel of the attachments.
Do ease pain or soreness from attachments, you can use over-the-counter pain medication, such as ibuprofen or aspirin, and if a particular attachment is bothering you, you can place a ball of orthodontic wax over it to prevent it from irritating the same spot.
Remember, Invisalign is like all other orthodontic appliances – a tool used by an expert orthodontist to straighten your teeth and create a beautiful smile. Invisalign is known for being more comfortable than other alternative treatments, but your mouth will still have to adjust!
Some discomfort is normal, because that means your teeth are moving, and you're on your way to a healthy, happy smile.