Does Invisalign Hurt?

Published October 20, 2015 in Invisalign

Dr. Charles Gemmi

One of the most common questions we hear about Invisalign treatments is whether or not they hurt. Those who are familiar with traditional metal braces know that while the pain you feel might never be intense, there is a certain amount of pain that comes along with this time of orthodontic treatment. Invisalign is often advertised as being pain-free, or, at the very least, less painful than metal braces.

But that doesn’t mean that Invisalign doesn’t hurt. When moving teeth and straightening the bite, there is bound to be some pain. How much does Invisalign hurt? And what are some ways to relieve that pain? Here’s what you need to know about Invisalign, the pain level, how long does it hurt and how to alleviate any pain you might feel during your treatment:

Does Invisalign Hurt?

Invisalign does hurt. In general, it is less painful than traditional metal braces, and like any type of orthodontic treatment, the pain fades after the teeth adjust to wearing the aligners and to having new aligners swapped in and out. There are a few sources of pain when it comes to Invisalign. These are, first, the soreness that comes from the aligners pressing against the teeth, and second, the pain that comes with having the aligners in your mouth.

With traditional metal braces, some of the pain that you feels comes from the brackets rubbing against the inside of the mouth and from the placement of the wire. Especially during the first few weeks of treatment, before the mouth has developed callouses to combat sensitivity, the pressing, rubbing, and scratching of the metal components against your mouth can be very uncomfortable. The same can be said for Invisalign aligners, but on a smaller scale. The edges of the aligners, while not sharp, can be irritating to your gums and the insides of your lips as your mouth gets used to wearing them. Over the first couple of weeks, however, the mouth will adjust to the feeling of wearing the aligners and will develop the necessary callouses to prevent irritation. By the time you need to switch out your first set of aligners for the next stage, your mouth is likely to be fully adjusted to wearing the plastic retainers and you won’t experience any peripheral pain.

This doesn’t mean, of course, that your Invisalign will be completely pain free. Because the whole point of Invisalign is to shift your teeth into a straighter, more becoming, healthier smile, the aligners have to put pressure on the teeth. Putting pressure on the teeth means soreness. This soreness can be pronounced during the first few days after putting in a fresh set of aligners, but it eventually wanes, until it is time to put in another set of aligners. Few Invisalign wearers would describe this sensation as pain, per se. For most people, it is simply discomfort, and a discomfort that you get used to and then forget about once it is over. For those with a low paint tolerance, however, it can be very uncomfortable and, at time, painful.

There is a third kind of pain that some Invisalign wearers will experience, which can be easily remedied by talking to Dr. Gemmi or Dr. Middleberg. This is pain caused by rough or sharp edges on your aligners. If you run your tongue along the edge of the aligner (which you will probably do, simply because becoming familiar with the shape and feeling of the aligners is a necessary part of getting your mouth adjusted to their presence), and you are cut or the edge of the aligner is obviously rough against your tongue, this is an issue that you should bring to our office. Pain caused by improper finishing of the aligners is completely avoidable and can be easily remedied simply by telling us where the rough or sharp edge is.

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Ways to Alleviate Invisalign Pain

For some Invisalign wearers, simply riding out the pain for the few days each month that it occurs is the best way to handle the discomfort. Again, most patients find that they really only experience any discomfort for the first few days after putting in a new set of aligners. Afterwards, the jaw and teeth are no longer sore, and you can carry on with your normal life. Others may continue to feel uncomfortable in their aligners throughout the entire treatment. For those that feel this way, finding a way to relieve or at least mitigate the pain is a good idea.

Pain killers is a good place to start. Most patients have their preferred pain killer and know what dosage to take. Depending on what exactly is causing your Invisalign pain, some formulations might work better than others. For example, if your pain is being caused, as it usually is during those first few days of new aligners, by inflammation and irritation as the aligners are pushing against your teeth, a pain killer that specifically work sot reduce inflammation is a good idea.

If, on the other hand, your pain is caused by you tensing your jaw or even grinding your teeth, a pain killer that relaxes the muscles might be a better choice. If you’re not sure what to take, consult a doctor or Dr. Gemmi or Dr. Middleberg. A little bit of pressure can help to relieve tension in your teeth, so don’t be afraid to chew on something. Cold or hot drinks can also help to soothe aches in the teeth.

For those who are experiencing pain in relation to the sharpness or roughness of the aligner’s edges, that is something that can be remedied simply by bringing your aligners to us to be smoothed out!

Want to find out more?  Contact us for a Free Invisalign Consultation.

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41 responses to “Does Invisalign Hurt?”

  1. Naomi Willetts says:

    Is it normal to have pain in just one area? It feels like it’s coming from a gum under one tooth. Thanks

    • Frank says:

      I just started wearing mine, but I would say it is normal, because different teeth need to be moved different distances to get to their final spots. So the ones that have to be moved the most, would probably feel the most pain early on. It should dissipate as you get used to wearing them.

  2. TQNKKKKO says:

    I want to get braces

  3. Nicole Gomes says:

    I recently started wearing invisilign and I had the most excruciating pain the first couple of days. In the past, i’ve also had braces and the pain from my invisilign was not nearly as painful from my braces. It also looks very weird and unusual because the orthodontist has to put white bumps on your teeth so the retainer can stay on your teeth. Saliva also gets stuck inside the retainer so it is very noticeable when you are wearing it. In my opinion I made a big mistake choosing invisilign instead of braces

    • Dishy says:

      But Invisalign looks better than braces. And it doesn’t hurt the inside of your lip’s because it’s plastic, not metal

  4. Marine says:

    This is my second day wearing Invisalign wich means I can’t really say much about them but I can definitly say that they hurt like crap!! One of the sharp edges cut into my gum and it is so uncomfortable!! I really hope it gets better because I can litterly not deal with this pain for another 17 weeks!! Also, I’m in Summer break right now and it’s so annoying because I can’t really eat or drink much because every time I eat something or I want to drink a coke, I need to take them out and brush my teeth after!! Also, when I take them out it really hurts when I try to eat something! My teeth feel kinda hard I guess and I can’t even eat salad properly!!

    • Dishy says:

      You don’t have to brush your teeth after. You can just rinse your mouth and every once in a while you can use your toothbrush on your Invisalign to clean anything that happened to be stuck on it.

  5. ThisIsTheList says:

    *Marine Really glad for your comment. Now I know it’s not just me. I’m on my 2nd full day and it’s “challenging”, to say the least.

  6. Matt says:

    Don’t believe what they say this is painful I could still feel the pain taking harder medication like Valium

    • Mark alamban says:

      I would not recommend taking a Benzodiazepine routinely for pain. You can develop a dependence and tolerance with it. Only take it when your pain is like 6 out of 10. Tylenol every 4 hours works best for me.

  7. Roxanne says:

    I totally agree that this hurts (and I’ve have had braces too). What I’m realizing is my bite is slowly shifting. And when I eat it hurts because I’m making a new bite pattern. My teeth are sore. I can’t fully close my mouth (it’s like a night guard). Overall, it’s very uncomfortable!

  8. Leslie McDaniel says:

    They are moving your teeth! Of course it’s going to hurt. It’s temporary. Look at the big picture. Look forward and focus on the reward. Look at pictures of people with beautiful, straight teeth! Let that be your motivation. Anything that will bring a reward is going to cost you something, pain, effort, challenge, inconvenience. It’s going to be ok, really. Trust me. You’ll get through it. Look at it as a lesson in perseverance for your future endeavors!

  9. Rizza Santos says:

    I’m on my 2nd tray. The pain will go away after 2-3 days as your teeth adjust to the new tray. I had braces and braces are way more painful than invisalign in my opinion. Braces gives you pain from soreness, pressure , inflammation and you get sores inside your mouth from the rubbing of the wires. Invisalign is so much more tolerable. My trays are smooth so I don’t get cuts on the insides of my mouth nore my tongue. I would choose invisalign over traditional braces anytime. I only have 10 trays. My teeth aren’t that bad.

  10. ScoobyDoo says:

    Even in just the first 3-4 hours my teeth are hurting like crazy! Not only do they hurt, but it’s very difficult to get the liners off and two of the glue attachments have come off. Are they just too tight? Or did I make a mistake?

  11. Sabrina Diaz says:

    I been wearing mine for about a year and I should say the three time I get pain are first when I put a brand new one each week the first two days Inwould say since your teeth are shifting the pain is not as bad but it always happens. I normally take pain killers and it leaves right away. The second pain is the edging I file them with a nail filer and it helps! The worst pain is when you donmt wear them for a while then start wearing them again. This is a don’t do for many reason such as your backing tracking your shifting your teeth wrong and money purpose. The big reason is also they hurt so much once you put them back, so much I even cried once! The pain left a little with pain killer and cold water and after I slept it off.

  12. Felishia Johnson says:

    Thanks for this comment! It really helped me to look at the big picture and to keep me from being discouraged as I am about to embark on this Invisaligns journey at the age of 51! Thank You!

  13. Monica Atneosen says:

    My biggest issue is cutting and irritation to mouth. Even after 16 weeks….still hurts and mouth doesn’t adjust or callous

  14. Steff says:

    I agree this is my 3rd day and my bottom gums are blood red. Everytime I pull out the bottom tray it feels like my bottom front teeth are going to come out with them. I don’t know if I can stand this. The white bumps they put on are causing sores and the inflammation and throbbing pain is unbearable. I have severe TMJ and these are killing me. I dont want to eat because I’ll have to take them off an then put them back in. I think I made a mistake with these.

  15. Carl Morgella says:

    Don’t worry! I am currently five weeks into treatment, and I completely remember the painful experience of those first few days while your mouth and teeth are adjusting to the aligners. In my opinion, the first two days are the most painful ones of treatment, with the third being slightly less uncomfortable, and the fourth eliminating the majority of the discomfort, until you reach the point to where they aren’t even noticeable! One other useful trick is you do not have to brush your teeth thoroughly after eating food or drinking something other than water; you simply should chew some sugar-free gum that will clean out your teeth almost as effectively as a toothbrush and toothpaste. As for brushing out the trays themselves, it is only necessary twice a day: once when you wake up, and once when you go to sleep. This is because, when dozing off, it is important to ensure that your aligners are squeaky clean so your teeth aren’t sitting in filthy trays for the entirety of the night. Additionally, when waking up, it is important to thoroughly brush them out to wash out the mouth-produced slime that has most likely infiltrated the retainer in your sleep. Good luck everyone!

  16. Jacqueline says:

    The attachments are what cause your teeth to move. It is painful as hell. My advice- always change into your new tray right before bed with a sleep aid and motrin.

    • Melissa says:

      I am currently on my 3rd set of trays. I had the metal braces, an expander to make my top jaw bigger.. and that was painful. But I am in severe pain.. I have bad anxiety and I clench my jaw and have been told by my dentist I grind my teeth. I’ve tried tylenol, motrin, aleve.. but it is not helping. I read above about something for muscle relaxers. Does anyone know if they are available over the counter or do i need a prescription? Because I have been in so much pain and take them out. I don’t want to take them out but I am getting headaches and sores on the sides of my lip

  17. Darwin says:

    I just got my invisilign today! It hurt and startled me when they put it in I did not get buttons on my teeth though. (Glad) I did feel discomfort and pain was a 4 on a ten scale so it was tolerable. It hurts when I take them out or put them on. But I am excited for the results… In 2 years!

    • Sydney Landers says:

      I started mine a few weeks ago (Beginning of June) ….I only have to wear mine until January/February at the most….

  18. Maggie says:

    I’m a metal braces, Invisalign and Invisalign Express survivor. like another poster said, think of the BIG picture and definitely Don’t do what I did: when I was a teenager I rarely wore my retainer after my parents paid hard earned money to get my teeth straight and beautiful. Moral of the story: when you end up with a beautiful smile the first time around and after the pain, make sure you wear your retainer, whether or not you have metal or Invisalign braces!! I could’ve bought a fancy car with the money spent on orthodontic treatment! Your teeth have memory in the sense that they will shift if you do not follow your post-ortho treatment. I am finally realizing that and have to wear Express only for 2 more months, and my smile will be straightened to where I will be happy. I have to say that it will be close to straight, but not super straight as my original teeth were when I was 17 and wore metal braces. I am a lot older now and my bottom teeth had a permanent retainer attached. My bottom teeth are still perfectly straight and healthy after all these years. Invisalign was not invented back then haha.

  19. CHIEDZA says:

    Also started wearing my aligners today. I’m excited I have had them on for about four hours. No pain per set but a slight discomfort as would be expected if they are really working. Will see how it goes after sometime.

  20. Marielle says:

    Does it hurt to get invisible braces on and after can you eat and can you see any thing is it plastics or no

    • Sydney Landers says:

      It doesn’t exactly hurt per say, but very annoying for sure….I started mine at the beginning of June, and won’t stop until Jan/Feb of 2021….I try to take ibuprofen before I put them on….It’s hard for me to keep them in at work (Chick-fil-A) since it’s kinda annoying as well to talk….I’m trying so hard now to keep them in 24/7….

  21. Solomon says:

    I have been on Invisalign for almost a year now. Few months ago, the pain was so bad that it gave me my first anxiety attack, and I ended up in the ER.
    Since then, tight retainers have been a bad trigger for anxiety in the first few days when they hurt. Even when I use painkillers. It has changed my whole life. I used to be in the gym for hours, but since the first anxiety attack, I can no longer get into the gym and work out, I tried a few times and it always resulted in panic attack. Anything that involves me using the muscles or my heart beating fast will take me into panic attack. This never happened before. After the first few days of tightness, I’m good, but I still have to watch my activities. It’s 12pm as I write this and I’m in bed because I can’t do anything, have been fighting for almost 2hrs now because the retainer is tight. Took muscle relaxer and Tylenol and it takes a while to relax. I have about 3 months more left to go but I’m tired of this!! I haven’t done anything with my life since January because I’m always scared if the next panic will come. I can’t exercise as I used to because it will trigger it. My dentist doesn’t know what is wrong and just advice me to hang on till it’s over but I’m thinking about dumping this and switching to braces. Anyone else experienced this or know what this is all about? This is causing me massive depression!!!

    • Lucy says:

      Bracers are far worse with pain and they scar your mouth. Please be careful with benzos – you shouldnt use them long term.

      The pain has triggered anxiety and depression i think, which you need to get therapy for. Meditation too, thats free. Invisalign is a trigger but you can manage it with the right help. I hope you are okay.

      • Ana says:

        Hi , I can tell you that I have been suffering anxiety for 6 years and yesterday I started my Invisalign treatment and I had a panic attack! Let me give you an advice because I know anxiety it’s horrible ! Don’t be afraid of having the panic attack , when you try to avoid it it’s even worst you have to know that the anxiety is there with you and it’s ok , let it be … for me the best medicine is 1- excersise (cardio ) the best of the best !!! So you need to go to the gym , don’t be afraid nothing is gonna happen, and the meditation !!!!

    • Evelin says:

      hi dear, I suffer from anxiety too. Did you finish your treatment?

  22. Stephanie says:

    I am on day 3 and I’m still in pain. The first day and a half I had a headache and my mouth felt achy. That has improved, but now my gums and cheeks are in increasing pain from the edges of the retainers. I’m worried this is not going to get better. I bought Anbesol benzocaine gel, but it makes my tongue and mouth numb too so not that pleasant. I am waiting for dental wax to come in so I can put on edges of retainer. I may try filing the edges tomorrow.

  23. Shelley says:

    I started Invisalign yesterday, and today I’m in a lot of discomfort, sore gums, headache, dry lips, I know it’s very early days and from reading the comments this should hopefully subside, I only have 15 trays and have to change them weekly so guess I will experience this each week. My biggest fear is taking them out, I have attachments on too which make it almost impossible to take out, I actually feel like I’m going to either snap the tray or pull a tooth out. I am yet to find a technique that works I literally have hot sweats doing it!!

    I have 15 weeks so should finish around March 2021 I just hope it gets better!

    • Stef says:

      I started my treatment yesterday and same as you, only having to wear them for 15 weeks, had my first full day of them on today..I am struggling to take them out especially the top ones and feel like I’m going to pull out mouth is sore and very achey, I think it actually feels like you can feel your teeth moving already..I guess no pain no gain..just hope it settles soon

  24. Geraldine says:

    I’m on my 3rd set of trays, I hate it! It hurts soooo bad for the first 3-5 days. Hurts the most when I put it In or remove. But I’m determined to continue. I’m seriously thinking of doing smoothie cleanses for the first 3-4 days just so I won’t have to remove them. They do work, because after 4-5weeks the floss is harder to get between the teeth. Stay strong everyone (tears of pain and joy).

  25. Michelle Bayer says:


    I’ve just recently started wearing Invisalign’s and the pain isn’t too bad but when I take them off to go to eat it hurts when I bite down, is that normal? I brush my teeth after every meal and floss so my teeth and gums are pretty healthy so is there anything I’m doing wrong or?

  26. Alissa Ternel-Picton says:

    My teeth hurt so damn bad. It’s my first day wearing them and my gums are THROBBING. The pain is so bad I feel like fainting and get lightheaded. The chewies are also unbearable I can barely last the whole 10 minutes of lightly chewing on them. I really hope the pain goes away because it’s killing me.

  27. A Name says:

    I have an overbite so I have to have elastics and now I have metal buttons on my teeth and I’ve cut my gums a few times and it hurts like heck!

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