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Does Invisalign Hurt? Most Commonly Asked Questions

Does Invisalign Hurt? Most Commonly Asked Questions

Does Invisalign Hurt? Most Commonly Asked Questions
Dr. Jones
November 30, 2023

Invisalign was created by two Stanford students in 1997. Rather than have to wear metal braces that stay in place until teeth are straightened, Invisalign provides clear plastic aligners that can be removed when eating and when brushing and flossing. Plus, they’re hard to see, so that makes them more appealing to those who worry about having very visible appliances in their mouth.

It’s become a popular option with teens and young adults, but that doesn’t mean there are no questions. One of the most common is, “Does Invisalign hurt? Just like normal braces, there is some pain involved.

Understanding Why Any Invisible Aligners Can Cause Pain

Straightening teeth involves using pressure to shift teeth within the periodontal ligament or membrane, which is the tissue between a tooth and the socket. Its role is to hold a tooth in place and withstand chewing.  

When you have braces pushing a tooth to stretch this ligament, it loosens the tooth a little and causes minor pain. The bone grows stronger to support the tooth, and this process can take many months. That’s why many people are in braces for one to three years. For Invisalign users, the average time is 23 months. Here are a few of the questions people ask us about invisible aligners.

How long does the pain last? 

Pain from invisible aligners is mild and often doesn’t last for more than a week or two. The first week is when the majority of shifting happens, and as you get used to it, you might not even notice it. Traditional braces can be painful for a long time due to the metal brackets scraping on your gums; that doesn’t happen with Invisalign or other clear aligners.

What does the pain feel like?

It’s not a sharp pain. It’s more like general tenderness. If you’ve ever stubbed your toe, you know how it stays sore for a bit and gradually diminishes. It’s that type of pain, and this pain means that your teeth have started shifting, so that’s a good thing.

What makes a person more likely to experience pain when wearing Invisalign?

Not everyone feels pain, so you might not notice any discomfort. It comes down to your pain tolerance. The pain should be mild and is more likely to occur in the first week. Because the invisible aligners don’t have brackets that rub on the inside of your cheeks, you get to avoid that more common type of pain from having your teeth straightened.

What are the best ways to prevent Invisalign pain?

If you’re experiencing pain, what is the best treatment method? You could try to use an ice pack that’s wrapped in a washcloth to see if it helps. Drinking cold liquids like ice water also helps. Cold therapy is often the most effective for easing mild pain and inflammation. Otherwise, over-the-counter pain medications like ibuprofen or acetaminophen will help.

Should I be concerned by the pain? 

Pain is normal when your teeth are shifting around. It shouldn’t be a severe pain, however. It also shouldn’t be a sharp pain. If it is more than mild discomfort or even a bruising sensation, ask your dentist about it. It might be nothing, but it never hurts to check. 

If the pain makes it hard to eat, talk to your dentist. Sometimes, eating softer foods is all you need to do to lower the pressure on your shifting teeth. It doesn’t hurt to make sure there isn’t a bigger issue like an infection.

Other Commonly Asked Questions About Invisalign

Pain is just one of the commonly asked questions about clear aligners like Invisalign or the thinner ClearCorrect option. Here are some of the other common questions.

Why do I have to take them out when I drink some beverages?

Clear aligners are prone to staining. They could stain the material if you drink tea, wine, coffee, grape juice, or other dark-colored beverages. Stick to water or seltzer when you have your aligners in. 

ClearCorrect aligners are more stain-resistant, however. Don’t panic if you do have your morning coffee or tea with the aligner in place. In lab tests, ClearCorrect didn’t stain when soaked in coffee, cola, mustard, or wine, but other aligners did stain with coffee, mustard, and wine.

How much do invisible aligners cost?

The price depends on how many aligners it’s going to take. Plus, if your teeth are not straightening as expected, it could require new images, and that will add up. Prices are determined during an examination of the teeth and what movements they need to complete before you have straight teeth. 

ClearCorrect offers several plans including Flex, Mini, One, Two, Three, or Unlimited. You could find yourself needing to pay just a couple thousand or going well over that.

Are they going to affect my speech?

Invisalign is a thicker material than ClearCorrect, so some people do find it impacts their speech slightly, but it’s not noticeable. ClearCorrect is a very thin material that fits over your teeth and is barely noticeable. You shouldn’t notice they affect your speech at all.

How long do you need to wear them each day?

You should wear the invisible aligners for at least 22 hours per day. You should only take them out to eat, drink items like coffee and tea, and brush and floss your teeth. The rest of the time, you should have them on, even when you sleep.

There’s another reason to keep them in. The more you wear them, the faster you get used to them. Pain also goes away faster when you wear them as much as you can. 

Things to Know About Invisalign

Once you commit to Invisalign, the average length of treatment is about 23 months. Make sure you’re okay with that length of commitment. If you start the process and dislike it, you shouldn’t just give up on having straight teeth. About 6% of Invisalign users complete the treatment without needing a refinement scan, so expect to have the straightening process reassessed. 

Sometimes, patients end up switching to traditional braces. One in six patients end up switching from Invisalign, usually after going through 80 aligners. If all goes well, the average number of aligners in those two years is 64. However, all of this differs from one patient to the next and depends on how crooked your teeth were at the start.

Make sure you work with a dental expert who has plenty of experience in the use of Invisalign or other options like ClearCorrect. Dr. Jody Jones specializes in this alternative to braces.

ClearCorrect uses an FDA-approved polyurethane resin that is free of phthalates and BPAs. It’s thinner than Invisalign and gets high praise for being more comfortable because of it. Request an appointment with the ClearCorrect experts at Jody Jones DDS today and find out how you can have straight teeth in the most comfortable way possible.