Are you experiencing Invisalign pain and wondering a) what you can do about it and b) when it is going to stop? If you answered yes to these two questions, then this article was written with you in mind.
Experiencing some degree of pain and discomfort when you first start wearing Invisalign trays is completely normal, so don’t panic. Any orthodontic treatment, whether Invisalign or traditional braces, involves a bit of pain while your teeth are adjusting to your new set of aligners or braces.
Of course, the pain shouldn’t last, and if it does, it might be a sign of a bigger problem and should definitely be seen to by a dentist.
But for the vast majority of Invisalign patients, Invisalign pain is a very temporary and minor part of their Invisalign teeth straightening journey.
Why mild discomfort is completley normal while wearing Invisalign aligners
Invisible braces, including Invisalign aligners, are a dental appliance designed to impose better teeth alignment by placing gentle but firm and persistent pressure on your teeth.
In other words, if your clear aligner trays are doing their job correctly, they will be exerting constant pressure on your teeth from the moment you put them in your mouth. It follows that when you first start wearing your first pair of Invisalign trays, your teeth, jaw, tongue – really, your entire mouth – are going to be completely unaccustomed to the presence of the trays, which is bound to feel uncomfortable, weird and slightly painful.
The good news is that your Invisalign aligners will start working straight away. Once you have been wearing them for a few hours, your teeth will already have shifted ever so slightly, which in turn will make the aligner trays feel more comfortable.
Wearing Invisalign trays is never going to be pleasant as such, but any pain and discomfort should only be in the very beginning of wearing each new set of aligner trays.
At what point in your Invisalign treatment will your aligner trays stop hurting?
Any pain or discomfort you experience as a result of wearing Invisalign aligners should start wearing off quickly, and will often have evaporated completely within a week’s time.
It is normal to experience Invisalign pain for a day or so after you first start wearing a new set of aligners – and this is not only true for your first set of aligners, but for every new set of aligners you have to wear in the course of your Invisalign treatment. The same holds true for traditional braces, by the way – every time the dentist adjusts the metal wire which control’s the teeth’s movements, you are bound to feel pain until your teeth, your jaw, your muscles and your ligaments have all adjusted to the change.
The wonderful thing about Invisalign invisible braces and old-school metal braces alike is that they start working their magic very quickly. After just a few hours or a few days, the tooth and jaw pain you experience at first will have faded into the background.
Invisalign pain relief
It may not be possible to avoid Invisalign pain, but it is entirely possible to reduce it. Here is a rundown of the things you can do to ease any mild and temporary pain you may be experiencing as a result of wearing Invisalign.
Sticking with soft foods such as yogurt, smoothies and soups can help make the first few days wearing a new set of aligners so much more comfortable.
By the same token, you should avoid hard foods including nuts, popcorn and crunchy vegetables.
Cold temperatures work as a wonderful natural pain killer. We recommend using a cold compress, but even just a bag of frozen vegetables could work wonders by numbing some of the pain caused by a new pair of aligner trays.
Another thing you can do to temporarily numb the discomfort is to suck on ice cubes.
When you experience pain from wearing your Invisalign aligners, it could be because your aligner trays are not properly in place. Luckily, Invisalign has thought of an easy fix for this issue: Invisalign chewies.
Invisalign chewies are small chewing devices designed to eliminate the tiny pockets of air between the inside of your aligner trays and your teeth. They are wonderfully simple to use – simply hold one between your teeth and chew on it (Without swallowing!).
Orajel is a topical pain killer which, as the name implies, is made and intended for oral use. When you dab it on an affected area it has the effect of temporarily numbing it.
Over the counter or OTC pain relievers are a great short-term solution for Invisalign pain.
What to do if your Invisalign pain is severe or does not subside naturally
While it is completely normal – and expected – to experience temporary pain when you start wearing your first set of aligners, persistent pain as a result of wearing Invisalign aligner trays is not normal. If your Invisalign trays continue to bother you past the first week of wearing them, it could be a sign of a deeper problem.
If the pain persists after a week of wearing your new aligner trays, something could be wrong with your aligner trays or the way they fit. Another possibility is that underlying medical conditions could be at play. To discover exactly what is going on and the best course of action, make an appointment to see your dentist as soon as you can.
Invisalign pain FAQ
How long does it take for Invisalign to stop hurting?
Clear aligners are dental appliances specifically designed to gradually straighten teeth by applying pressure to them. It follows that most invisible aligner wearers are bound to experience a degree of Invisalign pain for the first few days of wearing their new aligners. In some cases, the pain experienced can last up to a week.
Which week of Invisalign hurts the most?
The first week of wearing our new Invisalign aligner trays is always going to be the most uncomfortable.
The simple explanation for this is that, initially, the pressure exerted on your teeth by the aligner trays is going to be at its most intense. As soon as you have been wearing your new set of aligners for a week, a day, or even just a few hours, your teeth will already have adjusted ever so slightly, which will lessen the pressure and make the aligners feel more comfortable in your mouth.
Why does Invisalign hurt so much?
The reason why your Invisalign aligner trays hurt initially is that they are putting very firm pressure on your teeth. This is both normal and intentional. This is how the clear aligner trays manage to shift your teeth into alignment over the course of you wearing them.
As soon as your jaw, ligaments and muscles have adjusted to the new aligners, wearing your Invisalign trays is going to feel more natural.
How can I ease the pain of Invisalign?
If your new dental aligners are bothering you a lot, there are several things you can do to ease the pain.
Your first port of call should be to make sure that your Invisalign clear aligners fit properly. If this is your first ever pair of aligner trays, there is a very real possibility that you may not have put them properly in place, in which case they may be cutting into your gum or not being properly in place over your teeth in a way that causes unnecessary pain. Invisalign chewies, a soft chewing device roughly the size of a cotton ball, are a great solution if you want to make sure your aligner trays are sitting properly in your mouth. You simply hold them in your mouth and chew on them to eliminate the air between the aligner tray and your teeth.
Cold temperatures have a numbing effect, so a cold compress, or even a bag of frozen peas held against your jaw can bring sweet relief. You can also try sucking on an ice cube and sipping ice-cold water.
As for painkillers, the most effective is Orajel, a topical pain killer that can be applied directly to the painful area. Over the counter painkillers are also suitable for dealing with Invisalign pain.
Is it normal for your Invisalign to hurt?
Yes, it is completely normal to experience mild pain from wearing your Invisalign aligner trays.
But while mild pain and discomfort are to be expected when you first start wearing Invisalign, experiencing pain for an extended period of time could be an indication that something else is going on. We recommend booking an appointment to see your dentist if your Invisalign pain has not significantly reduced after one week.
Invisalign pain is a normal and therefore to-be-expected part of the Invisalign treatment, as well as for any other orthodontic treatment. You are, after all, in the process of shifting your teeth and with them, your jaw muscles and ligaments, into a new alignment. Mild pain and a bit of discomfort are just part of the course.
Fortunately, there are several remedies and steps you can take to ease your Invisalign pain. You should always start by ensuring that your Invisalign trays are properly in place, by chewing an Invisalign chewie, before resolving to other methods, of which there are plenty. Cold compresses, ice cubes, topical ointment and over the counter medicines can all be helpful when it comes to dealing with temporary pain or discomfort.
Apart from the different remedies mentioned here, the key factor is patience – sometimes you just have to tough it out. Invisalign requires patience; this is true for the entire process, but it is particularly true when you start wearing a new set of aligners and experience pain. After a day or a few days, your pain should have significantly lessened.
In rare cases, Invisalign pain may persist for longer than a few days or a week. If this is the case for you, you should contact your Invisalign doctor and ask for a check-up.