Are Aligners Painful?

February 1, 2024

Are you considering aligners to straighten your teeth but worried about potential discomfort? In searching for a perfect smile, many wonder, "Are aligners painful?" We'll talk about whether aligners hurt and what you can do if they do. Understanding this can help you decide if aligners are right for you and make you feel more comfortable about getting them.

Since the introduction of Clear Dental Aligners, numerous individuals have ditched traditional braces for these invisible alternatives. Invisalign, a leading brand in the invisible aligners market, is often endorsed by dentists for teeth straightening. Despite being generally more comfortable than traditional braces, Invisalign may still cause some pain, particularly during the initial week of treatment.

Why Do My Aligners Cause Pain?

The discomfort from clear aligners like Invisalign is temporary and not common. Most people get used to their aligners within a week, and discomfort usually happens during this time. It occurs because your teeth are shifting to a new position for the first time.

How Long Do Aligners Cause Pain?

A recent study found that 54 percent of people starting Invisalign treatment felt temporary mild pain in the first week, while 35 percent felt no pain.

With new Invisalign trays every two weeks, you may feel mild discomfort during each cycle. However, as you adjust to wearing them, these feelings can lessen.

When you get new Invisalign trays every two weeks, you might feel uncomfortable each time. But as you wear them more, you might feel better. Sometimes, one tooth might hurt more than others when you start with Invisalign or braces. That's because each tray moves different teeth in different ways.

When is Aligner Pain a Concern?

When using Invisalign aligners, it's normal to feel discomfort in your teeth, jaw, and tongue. However, if the pain becomes severe and begins to impact your daily activities, it's a cause for concern.

It's advisable to see an orthodontist if you experience:

  • Pain while eating
  • Swelling on your face
  • Bleeding in your teeth and gums
  • Increased sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures

What are Common Kinds of Aligner Pain?

While "pain" might seem intense, it's essential to understand what to anticipate when considering aligners like Invisalign.

Tooth Movement and Aligner Fit 

Approximately half of the aligner wearers experience minor discomfort during treatment. They often describe it as tenderness or pressure, noticeable mainly while wearing or removing the aligners for eating and cleaning.

Pressure Indicates Progress 

Feeling slight discomfort when wearing aligners signifies that they're working effectively. Teeth require gentle pressure to realign, and though it may not be enjoyable, it's a crucial aspect of how aligners like Invisalign function.

Tongue and Gum Irritation 

Some aligners' edges may rub against the cheek, tongue, or gums, causing irritation. However, studies indicate that few aligner patients encounter such discomfort compared to traditional braces. If you experience irritation, consult your orthodontist before attempting adjustments to avoid compromising treatment progress.

While you may want to alleviate irritation, it's important not to trim too much from the aligners, as it could affect their effectiveness. Damaging an aligner may require replacement, potentially prolonging treatment time. It's best to seek professional advice rather than attempting adjustments independently.

Tips to Reduce Aligner Pain

If you're wondering, "Are Aligners Painful?" and to what extent, it's more about mild discomfort that gradually subsides. However, there are ways to alleviate it:

Start New Aligners Before the Bed 

Transition to new aligners just before bedtime to minimize discomfort during adjustment. This allows your teeth to adapt while you sleep, reducing initial sensitivity.

Consider OTC Pain Relief 

Over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatories such as aspirin, Tylenol, and Advil can help manage aligner discomfort. Consult your doctor or pharmacist before trying a new medication.

Use Dental Wax 

Apply dental wax on aligners to reduce gum irritation caused by friction.

Opt for Soft Foods 

After the first week, stick to soft foods like minced meat or smoothies to prevent tooth and gum pain.

Apply a Cold Compress 

A cold compress can alleviate swelling and tooth pain for a few hours.

Wear Aligners Consistently 

Keep aligners on for at least 22 hours daily, removing them only for eating, drinking, and brushing.

Consult a Reputed Orthodontist 

If pain persists, seek professional help from a trusted orthodontist to address the issue effectively.

When Will the Aligner Pain Stop?

Typically, discomfort diminishes within one or two days post-aligner change as tooth movement reduces and tightness lessens. Extending tray wear slightly beyond the advised 22 hours may expedite pain relief. Generally, most discomfort vanishes within two days.

If the pain feels unusual or persists, it may signal a gum or tooth issue. Maintain good oral hygiene and schedule a visit with your dentist for evaluation.

Schedule Your Appointment with an Orthodontist in Oviedo, FL

"Are Aligners painful?" Generally, the pain is mild, lasting no more than two days, and simple ways exist to alleviate it. You'll easily navigate through your treatment by following the tips mentioned above.

Looking for expert help with your aligners or other dental concerns? Look no further! At Innovative Dental and Orthodontics in Oviedo, FL, our team is here to assist you. Visit our website to discover more about our services, and schedule your appointment today!

Call (407) 809-8973 for new patients or (407) 542-4580 for existing patients and inquiries. Your journey to a healthier smile starts here!


Treatment duration with aligners like Invisalign varies based on individual needs and the extent of alignment required. Many individuals achieve remarkable results in as little as six months with this treatment.
Aligners may cause mild discomfort as they apply pressure to shift teeth. This pressure, though necessary for realignment, can lead to temporary pain, usually lasting for the initial days of each new aligner set.
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