Does Invisalign Hurt?

For people looking to straighten their smile, Invisalign can be the perfect option: it’s quicker than traditional braces, less obvious, and usually around the same price. But one question many first-timers have when it comes to invisible aligners remains: does Invisalign hurt?

Picture of an Invisalign dentist filing down the edges of clear aligners for the blog Does Invisalign Hurt

How Much Does Invisalign Hurt?

Although each Invisalign tray is effectively forcing your teeth into the position that will achieve your end result, many report that Invisalign hurts less than traditional braces. 

Whereas metal braces involve wires and brackets that can poke into gums and cheeks which can lead to pain, Invisalign trays are made from BPA-free plastic. These can be removed for eating and drinking which makes them not only more convenient but less painful.

Patients do report some discomfort, however, mostly in the first couple of days after first getting their clear aligners and a short period of adjustment when switching to a new set. This is described as a kind of “pressure” on the teeth, which can cause headaches as well as toothaches. 

Some also report that the edges of the aligners dig into their gums, but this can usually be solved by filing them down or using an orthodontic wax to soften the edges.

Does Invisalign Hurt More than Braces?

So, does Invisalign hurt more than traditional braces? The general consensus is that even with that “pressure” many feel, Invisalign is a significantly less painful option. 

Some report discomfort, but it is almost always mild and temporary. In fact, over 54% percent of Invisalign users who experienced discomfort reported that it was manageable and went away after a short time.

Braces, on the other hand, have been known to cause more long-term pain, thanks to the metal components. Plus, braces work by moving each individual tooth, which can cause more intense pain. 

Tips to Reduce Invisalign Pain

If you’ve just started your own journey with Invisalign aligners, and you are experiencing pain, there are some steps you can take to alleviate it:

Make Soft Foods a Diet Staple

Don’t worry, you won’t have to stick to a diet of smoothies and mashed potatoes for the entirety of the time you’re using Invisalign, but it is a good idea to eat mostly soft foods for the first couple of days after switching to a new tray. Especially crunchy or hard foods can be painful to eat when your teeth are sensitive. 

Use a Cold Compress

If you’re experiencing pain, try a cold compress on your jaw to alleviate some of the pain. This can be a store-bought instant cold compress or a DIY one made with a cool washcloth or ice cubes. 

Use Orthodontic Wax

One of the main sources of discomfort that Invisalign wearers note is the edges of the trays. Orthodontic wax can dull that irritating scratch by cushioning the rough edges. 

Switch to New trays Before Bedtime

Most users report the most discomfort within the first few days of wearing a new Invisalign tray. Switching your trays right before going to bed can help a bit with this, as you may be able to sleep through the worst of the discomfort. 

Suck on Ice Cubes

Drinking cold water or sucking on small ice cubes can help lessen the soreness of your teeth while getting used to new Invisalign aligners, just as icing an injury can lessen the pain. Quick note: unless you want to stop in for an emergency dental visit, remember to never chew on the ice!

Take an Over-the-Counter Pain Reliever

If all else fails, you can try an over-the-counter pain reliever, like Naproxen, to help manage some of the pain from Invisalign. This should be a last resort, and most Invisalign patients find that they can deal with mild discomfort for a few days without any medication. 

Mint Leaf Dentistry Invisalign Options

If you’re looking for the most affordable Invisalign treatments in Morrisville, North Carolina, call our dental office at  919-330-1710, contact us, or book with us online! Not sure if Invisalign is right for you? Take the Invisalign smile assessment to find out or book a virtual consultation with our Gold Plus Invisalign dentists! No matter how you get in touch with us, we are thrilled to provide the best Invisalign treatments so you can smile with more confidence!