Does Invisalign Hurt?

Does Invisalign Hurt?


Invisalign is a teeth straightening system that can achieve the same result as braces but through a different, more discreet method. Anyone who has had braces can attest to the fact that there is some discomfort in the process. But does Invisalign hurt? Here’s what you can expect from Invisalign treatment. 

The Invisalign Process

Invisalign straightens teeth through a series of clear aligners that fit over the teeth. The aligners are made of smooth plastic and custom designed to fit snugly to your teeth. The smooth plastic is less likely to irritate the soft tissues of your mouth, like the inside of your cheeks and lips and your tongue, the way metal braces can. 

Where you may experience some discomfort during Invisalign treatment is with the teeth shifting process. Each aligner that you wear is designed to move your teeth slightly. You wear each aligner for about one to two weeks before switching to the next aligner. The step by step process gradually and gently shifts your teeth into proper alignment in your mouth. As the teeth move, especially at the start of your treatment and with each new aligner, the support structures for your teeth may become sore. This is also true of braces, but Invisalign is typically gentler on your teeth for a lesser amount of discomfort. 

How To Treat Discomfort From Invisalign

If you do experience some discomfort, soreness, or pain from Invisalign treatment, in most cases it can be relieved with an over the counter pain medication. Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen are both typically effective at relieving the mild discomfort you may feel in your mouth. Ibuprofen is an anti-inflammatory medication, which may be more effective because it relieves the inflammation in your gums and jaw caused by the shifting of the teeth but it can slow down tooth  movement. 

Ultimately, you should use whatever medication is effective for you. If you have any specific health concerns when it comes to medication, consult with your primary care physician before taking any pain relievers. 

How Long Will the Discomfort Last?

Discomfort during aligner treatment, if it occurs, is usually short-lived and is comparatively less than with traditional braces. Tooth soreness is most often noted at the placement of a new tray, although rarely with every new tray. 

Irritation From Aligners

With the early generations of aligners and plastics, the most reported discomfort was due to the tongue’s repeated rubbing on a poorly adapted tray edge. The next most commonly reported discomforts were the lip and cheek, for the same reason. The current manufacturing processes more accurately ensure smooth edges and trays that fit snugly to your teeth.  Most patients do not experience any irritation to the soft tissues of their mouth.  If irritation does occur, the aligner can easily be smoothed down with an emery board or a piece of oral wax can be placed to alleviate the irritation.  Your orthodontic team is also always willing to smooth the edges of your aligners using a special tool, if needed.


Invisalign attachments are little, tooth-colored dots made of  composite filling material that are bonded to the teeth to help the Invisalign aligners move the teeth. The location, shape, and size of the attachments is important. The attachments are usually placed near the center of the tooth to serve as an anchor.  This helps the  aligner work more effectively. Not all attachments are needed for the entire length of treatment, so it is important to contact the office immediately if an attachment comes off.  The office will be able to determine if you need to come into the office to have the attachment replaced before your next appointment. Sometimes, especially during the first few weeks of treatment, these attachments will feel odd to your lip. You might be concerned that the attachments will cause a sore, but they will not. Keeping your trays in your mouth helps move you more quickly through treatment and eventually you’ll forget all about the attachments.

Interproximal Reduction

Interproximal reduction (IPR) is a practice used to mechanically remove enamel from between the teeth. It is used to help with orthodontic treatments which may include the correction of crowding or reshaping the area between the neighboring teeth to enhance aesthetics.. Interproximal reduction should only be done by a dental professional. The amount of enamel needs to be protected and balanced with the long term stability that reshaping the pointed contacts of teeth provides. This is generally an accepted practice utilized with aligner treatment as well as with braces. Interproximal reduction is not uncomfortable but the procedure can feel a bit strange.

Some evidence has suggested that modern diets which include soft and processed foods have resulted in a decrease in natural interproximal wear. This ultimately makes dental crowding more prevalent. About half of the proximal enamel can be stripped off without resulting in any dental or Periodontal issues.

Rubber Bands:Just like with braces, when bite correction is desired, rubber bands or intraoral elastics can be utilized with the trays to do so. Rubber bands typically do not cause  irritation.. However, if you find the inside of your cheek irritated, let your orthodontic office know.  You may have an intolerance to latex and another alternative can be used.

At home remedies

  • Tylenol over Ibuprofen is preferred because Ibuprofen reduces the inflammatory process that is needed for tooth movement. Tylenol will help reduce the discomfort without impacting the biochemical reaction needed.
  • Dental wax on a dry surface or some find that Max Ear Plugs stick better.
  • Nail file for rough edges
  • Chewies These can be found on Amazon. Some patients like to bite on these to help relieve soreness. Think of it like stretching a sore muscle.
  • Gyoxide Rinse Helps the mouth heal faster. Salt water rinse or Peroxide can be helpful too. Do not use anything alcohol based.

Demko Orthodontics Offers Invisalign

Are you looking for an Invisalign provider? If you need orthodontic treatment, Demko Orthodontics offers a range of treatment options, including Invisalign. Some patients find that Invisalign is more comfortable than braces because the aligners are smooth and they shift the teeth more gently and gradually. A simple consultation will determine whether or not you are an ideal candidate for Invisalign. 

Contact us today to schedule a consultation.