Does Invisalign hurt?

If you’re considering orthodontic treatment, you’ll be keen to know how braces will impact your day-to-day life. Most importantly perhaps, you’ll want to know if your treatment is going to hurt.

We all know how sensitive our mouths are, so it’s not surprising that many patients are concerned about the prospect of aching jaws and sleepless nights. Not to mention the stories of brackets that rub and wires that poke.

What about Invisalign though. With no metal parts, could this be a painless route to a straighter smile?

Invisalign uses a series of custom-made clear aligners to straighten teeth. It’s removable and virtually invisible, not to mention hugely popular. At the time of writing this article it’s celebrating its 5 millionth patient!

There’s lots of anecdotal information on the web about how painful or not Invisalign is, and you’ll quickly realise that everyone’s experience is different. We all have different thresholds for discomfort and everyone’s teeth move differently.

Our experience of treating 4,500 patients

Based on our own experience of transforming more than 4,500 smiles with Invisalign, we are pleased to report that the majority experience only mild discomfort. Most patients report of a slight ache just after they start wearing a new set of aligners for the first time.

This is perfectly normal and it’s a sign that your aligners are doing their job and starting to move your teeth. Some patients worry if they don’t feel anything happening! Rest assured, this is also normal, and you can consider yourself lucky.

You can expect any achiness to ease after a day or two. In the meantime, you can take an over-the-counter painkiller if you need to.

Because Invisalign is custom-made to hug your teeth it’s very unobtrusive, and you don’t have to worry about protruding brackets or wires. Occasionally, though, patients find that the edge of their aligner rubs against their gums or the inside of their cheek.

If this happens, give us a call and we’ll arrange to take a look and make any necessary adjustments to your brace. In the meantime, you can try applying some orthodontic wax to the edge of your aligner to prevent any further discomfort.

Tips for making Invisalign® more comfortable

  • During the first few days of wearing a new aligner, when your teeth may be feeling a little achy, avoid eating anything too hard or crunchy.
  • When you change to a new set of aligners (every week or two), put them in just before bed. This will give your teeth time to settle while you sleep.
  • Be mindful of not clenching your jaw, when you’re at rest your top and bottom teeth shouldn’t be touching.

Most importantly, keep wearing your aligners! It may be tempting to take them out if they start to hurt, but you need to keep wearing them for the discomfort to subside – and you could prolong your treatment. If you have any concerns, we’re always at the end of the phone and we run an emergency service out of hours. Any emergency appointments are included in the cost of your treatment.

Invisalign® vs fixed braces

Compared to fixed braces, we have fewer reports of our Invisalign patients’ braces rubbing. However, the general achiness that is experienced during orthodontic treatment appears to be the same whichever brace you choose.

Some discomfort is part and parcel of moving teeth, but it will hopefully reassure you to know it’s a sign that your teeth are on the move and your smile is getting straighter.