Does Invisalign hurt?

January 31, 2024

In the dazzling world of perfect smiles, Invisalign has become the celebrity darling. Its clear, convenient aligners promise subtle tooth-shifting without the metal-mouth blues. But let’s be honest, nobody wants to suffer for a smile, so the question looms: “Does Invisalign hurt?”

The answer, like most things in life, isn’t a simple yes or no. While Invisalign boasts less pain than its traditional braces, some discomfort is par for the course. Think of it as a little nudge from your teeth, saying, “Hey, we’re finally moving towards a better alignment!”

Treatment Length


As short as 6 months, with an average of 12 to 18


Average of 12 to 24 or more, depending on the type and severity of malocclusion

Can treatment be expedited?


Wear aligners for 20+hours a day, keep teeth and aligners clean, visit the dentist regularly to monitor progress


Visit the clinic as directed for adjustments, keep teeth and brackets/wires clean and free of plaque, avoid habits that could increase treatment time



Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and non-abrasive toothpaste to gently scrub aligners


Use an interdental toothbrush and water flosser to remove plaque and bacteria from around brackets and wires



Keep teeth and aligners clean for best results


Keep teeth and brackets/wires clean for best results



Yes, aligners are designed to be removed while eating/drinking and while brushing/flossing teeth


No, traditional braces cannot be removed until treatment is complete, and the dentist is the only one that should remove them

Visits to dental clinic


Periodically, you need to visit the dental clinic to monitor your progress


Yes, you will need to visit the clinic every few weeks as teeth shift for adjustments

How much does it cost?


Starts at approximately $1,500 for up to 5 aligners and goes up to around $8,000 for unlimited aligners


Costs an average of $3,000 to $5,000+, depending on several factors



Virtually invisible




Does not require compliance- once braces are attached, they are not removable except by the dentist upon completion of treatment

Ideal for


Mild to moderate malocclusions, can be used for more severe along with attachments, depending on the type of malocclusion


Mild to severe malocclusions

Why Does Invisalign Hurt?

Invisalign aligners exert pressure on teeth to gradually shift them into alignment, a process integral to their effectiveness. The discomfort experienced with Invisalign is akin to a mild squeezing sensation around the teeth. This sensation, while uncomfortable, signifies the aligners’ active engagement in realigning teeth. Additionally, friction from the edges of aligners against the gums and inner lips can contribute to discomfort.

Understanding the Duration of Discomfort

The duration of discomfort with Invisalign aligners varies from individual to individual. Generally, new sets of aligners may induce tooth pain lasting up to two weeks, with the intensity often peaking in the initial days of treatment. However, most patients find that the discomfort subsides within the first week as their teeth adjust to the aligners’ pressure.

Does Invisalign hurt

Managing Invisalign Discomfort

Minimizing discomfort during Invisalign treatment is achievable through simple yet effective strategies:

  • Dental Wax

Applying dental wax along the rough edges of the aligners can mitigate gum pain caused by friction. The wax serves as a protective barrier, reducing irritation and discomfort.

  • Soft Foods Diet

During the initial days of wearing new aligners, sticking to soft foods can alleviate tooth sensitivity. Soft foods lessen the strain on teeth and gums, promoting comfort during the adjustment period.

  • Nighttime Aligner Wear

Wearing new sets of aligners before bedtime allows patients to sleep through the initial discomfort. Overnight wear minimizes the awareness of discomfort and facilitates smoother adjustment to the aligners.

  • Pain Relief Medication

For individuals experiencing significant discomfort, over-the-counter painkillers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen can provide relief. However, it’s advisable to consult a healthcare professional before taking any medication, especially for individuals with pre-existing medical conditions.

Considerations for Prospective Patients

Before embarking on an Invisalign journey, prospective patients should consider the following factors:

  • Treatment Expectations

Understanding the anticipated discomfort levels and duration can help patients mentally prepare for their Invisalign treatment journey.

  • Consultation with Orthodontist

Consulting with an experienced orthodontist allows patients to discuss their concerns and explore personalized pain management strategies tailored to their unique needs.

  • Lifestyle Adjustments

Patients may need to make temporary lifestyle adjustments, such as dietary modifications and aligner wear schedule changes, to optimize comfort during treatment.

Does Invisalign Hurt during Retention?

Retention is the crucial phase of maintaining the newly aligned position of your teeth post-treatment. It prevents them from shifting back to their original misaligned state, safeguarding the progress achieved. The simple answer is no; it doesn’t cause discomfort.

Retention methods typically involve using trays similar to those you wore during treatment, a fixed wire positioned behind your teeth, or a combination of both.

If you choose removable trays, you’re already familiar with them. In the case of a fixed wire, your tongue may experience slight irritation initially, but this discomfort usually subsides within a few days.


“So, Does Invisalign hurt?” While being highly effective, it may entail some degree of discomfort, particularly during the initial stages of wearing new aligners. However, compared to traditional metal braces, Invisalign aligners offer a relatively less painful orthodontic experience. By understanding the nature of discomfort and employing proactive pain management techniques, patients can navigate their Invisalign journey with greater comfort and confidence.

How We Can Help

If you’re experiencing any discomfort, such as facial swelling, bleeding gums, or intense pain when consuming food and drinking liquid, reach out to our team of skilled orthodontists at Avery Dental Center in Dublin, OH. Book your consultation online now, or new patients can call us directly at 614-683-9557. For existing patients, reach us at 614-789-9000. Don’t let discomfort disrupt your smile – we’re here to help you find relief and regain your oral health.


While Invisalign aligners may cause initial discomfort, they are generally considered less painful than traditional metal braces due to their smooth, removable design.

In most cases, discomfort from wearing new Invisalign aligners diminishes within the first week of treatment as teeth adjust to the aligners’ pressure.

Yes, applying dental wax along the edges of the aligners can help reduce gum irritation caused by friction, enhancing overall comfort during treatment.

While there are no strict dietary restrictions with Invisalign, it’s advisable to consume soft foods during the initial days of wearing new aligners to minimize tooth sensitivity.

Painkillers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help remove significant discomfort associated with Invisalign treatment. However, it’s essential to consult a healthcare professional before taking any medication, especially if you have underlying health conditions.

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