Teeth Straightening
Teeth Whitening
Updated on November 16, 2023
6 min read

Does Invisalign Hurt?

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Key Takeaways

  • Invisalign treatment can hurt during the first 24 to 48 hours
  • Invisalign pain often goes away by the end of the first week of wearing new aligner trays
  • You can use ice packs or take OTC painkillers to alleviate the pain during treatment
  • If your gums are affected, your dentist can alter your trays by filing down their edges
  • Metal braces are often found to be more painful than Invisalign

Find a Local Dentist for an Invisalign Consultation

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  • Takes your insurance
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  • Is close to your home
  • Is top-rated by actual customers
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Is Wearing Invisalign Painful?

The most significant risk of pain during Invisalign treatment is around the first week of wearing your aligner trays. Any pain or discomfort you experience with the orthodontic treatment tends to be temporary.

One study from 2020 discovered that clear aligner users experienced pain during the first 24 to 48 hours. However, they grew used to the aligners by the end of the week.

Those who experience Invisalign pain usually report the sensation as mild and temporary.

Why Does Invisalign Hurt?

Initially, Invisalign treatment may result in mild pain because the device is designed to help gradually straighten your teeth. You may be more likely to develop pain from clear aligners if you have:

  • A lower pain tolerance
  • Sensitive teeth or gums
  • Gingivitis 

What Does Invisalign Pain Feel Like?

Invisalign pain is typically described as tenderness or pressure. 

Usually, the discomfort is only noticeable while wearing the aligners. It can also occur when you take them in and out of your mouth to eat and clean.

Where Do Most People Experience Invisalign Pain?

People new to Invisalign may feel discomfort in different areas of their mouth. However, it may vary per person.

You may experience the pain in the following:

  • Edges of the gums ⁠— Sometimes, the trays can irritate the edges of your gums, causing pain and discomfort
  • In just one tooth ⁠— Experiencing temporary pain in one tooth indicates that your aligners are working and gradually adjusting your teeth position
  • Molars and back teeth ⁠— These teeth are bigger, so you may experience more pain since they require more pressure
  • Jaw ⁠— Invisalign jaw pain is common when Invisalign patients undergo treatment to fix their bite

How Long Does the Discomfort Last?

Invisalign requires new trays every two to three weeks. Pain and discomfort typically occur within the initial adjustment period of each Invisalign cycle. However, these symptoms can become less noticeable as you get used to wearing your aligners.

You may not experience pain in the same tooth with each aligner tray. Any discomfort should lessen within a few days.

Interested in straightening your teeth at home? Here are the best clear aligner companies.

8 Tips for Reducing Invisalign Pain 

While pain from Invisalign trays tends to be mild and temporary, some users may find it too uncomfortable. Here are some ways to deal with Invisalign pain:

1. Use Dental Wax

If you experience gum pain from Invisalign, you may help lessen it with dental wax. Dental wax acts as a protective barrier between your mouth and the aligners. 

To use dental wax, apply a small amount on the top edges of your invisible braces. Doing this can help lessen any friction causing your gum pain.

2. Take OTC Medications

Consider taking over-the-counter (OTC) medicines for pain relief when the pain is most severe. OTC options include:

  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
  • Ibuprofen (Advil)
  • Aspirin

Always ask your doctor if it is safe to take OTC pain relievers, especially if you currently take any other medications or have underlying medical conditions.

3. Change How You Eat

Changing how you eat can help with pain from Invisalign by reducing the pressure on your teeth and jaws, eliminating unnecessary pain.

For pain isolated to a single tooth, you can prevent placing more pressure in the area by stopping eating on that side of your mouth. Continue to eat in this way until the pain goes away.

Also, opt for soft foods such as pasta, rice, mashed vegetables, and smoothies. 

4. Keep Your Trays In

While removing your aligners if you are in pain is tempting, this could decrease your pain tolerance to the trays.

You should avoid removing your invisible braces for an extended period unless otherwise suggested by your orthodontist. Invisalign is designed to be worn for at least 22 hours a day.

Changing your aligner trays at night time before bed is also recommended. 

5. Suck on ice cubes

Sucking ice cubes helps numb the painful area affected by Invisalign treatment. You don’t need to remove your aligners when you do this. 

Be sure not to chew the ice cubes. Teeth can become sensitive when biting into hard foods while wearing Invisalign. 

6. Drink cold water

Drink cold water to avoid Invisalign pain. You can drink while wearing your aligners, so you don’t need to take them out. 

Avoid sugary beverages like juice or soda, though. These drinks can cause cavities.

7. Use Orajel

Orajel is a topical pain killer. You can apply it to your teeth or gums where you feel pain or soreness.

Remove your Invisalign device to apply the Orajel directly to the painful area. It will temporarily numb the site.

8. Use an ice pack or cold item

Placing a cold item against your skin helps reduce swelling and numbs any pain. You can do this several times throughout the day.

You can use the following for up to 10 minutes at a time to reduce Invisalign pain:

  • Cold compress
  • Ice pack
  • Bag of frozen vegetables

Don’t place any of these items directly against your skin. Instead, you should wrap them in a piece of cloth or towel.

When Should You See a Doctor About Invisalign Pain?

You should speak with your orthodontist or dentist immediately if you experience:

  • Bleeding teeth or gums
  • Hot or cold sensitivity
  • Pain or discomfort when eating, drinking, or swallowing food
  • Pain accompanied by facial swelling

You should also speak with your orthodontist if your Invisalign trays continue to result in pain after a week’s use. If they’re affecting your gums, your orthodontist may be able to fix the aligners by filing down the top edges.

Consider that there may be a risk of mild discomfort every time you change to new trays. However, if your pain is worse than your last set of aligners or worsens after a few days, speak with your orthodontist.

Will Invisalign Cause Pain After Treatment?

It’s not unusual to experience tooth pain after finishing treatment. However, this usually settles down within a few weeks or even days.

If you experience persistent pain a few weeks after the completion of Invisalign treatment, call your orthodontist.


Find a Local Dentist for an Invisalign Consultation

ZocDoc can help you find a dentist in your area that:

  • Takes your insurance
  • Can schedule an appointment ASAP
  • Is close to your home
  • Is top-rated by actual customers
Local Dentist Insurance

Do Braces or Invisalign Hurt More? 

It’s generally thought that Invisalign hurts less than traditional metal braces. The clear plastic used for Invisalign may be more comfortable to wear.

One study discovered that those wearing metal braces experienced more pain overall.3 These people were more likely to require medications for pain relief during the first week of wearing metal braces.

Some people find the metal and wire used in traditional braces considerably uncomfortable due to sharp edges and protruding components. These features may also result in pain in your gums.

Is Invisalign Worth it?

Any dental appliance can lead to pain and discomfort, including Invisalign. However, unlike traditional braces, Invisalign is known to be less painful overall.

If you’re concerned about pain with orthodontic appliances, Invisalign may be a better option than traditional metal braces. However, not everyone is a candidate for aligners, especially if you have severe jaw misalignment.

If you are still wondering whether Invisalign is worth it, visit your orthodontist for an honest evaluation of your teeth. If Invisalign suits you and your requirements, your orthodontist will let you know.

Last updated on November 16, 2023
9 Sources Cited
Last updated on November 16, 2023
All NewMouth content is medically reviewed and fact-checked by a licensed dentist or orthodontist to ensure the information is factual, current, and relevant.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only cite from current scientific research, such as scholarly articles, dentistry textbooks, government agencies, and medical journals. This also includes information provided by the American Dental Association (ADA), the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
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