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Do Clear Aligners Hurt?

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Do Clear Aligners Hurt? That is one of the most frequently asked questions. The clear aligner is an orthodontic treatment, the pain and discomfort it causes are understood by those familiar with traditional braces. If your doctor suggests it’s a painless treatment, it would be a lie, because no orthodontic procedure is painless. Yeah, the amount of discomfort can vary, but feeling mild aligner pain is common and it’s a good thing in a way. Discomfort from the clear aligner decreases over a period of time. The pain is an indication that the aligner functions as expected but after a few days of wear the pain/discomfort decreases. Remember that is always not a constant pain. This treatment and the discomfort/pain can take some time to get used to. You will experience slight pain when the teeth move in the desired position or move in the desired direction. This malaise is temporary.

However, not everyone feels the pain or discomfort due to aligners, because the treatment planned for each person is different.

Aligners are less painful than braces

  • Metal present constantly in the mouth

  • Metal impinge on the soft mucosa (lip/cheek) in the mouth

  • No wire impinging- as the tooth moves into the wanted position or when the spaces are closing, slight wire moves out of the bracket of the last tooth causing pain/ulcers/ discomfort.

Aligners are less painful compared to the traditional orthodontic braces.

The pain fades away:

  • Due to the loosening of the tray over the period.

  • Tooth moved to the required position


Slight pain in the first week of the aligner is normal, as the tooth is moving from one position to another in the bone. The pain is caused due to multiple reasons.

  • Tight trays

  • Stretching fibres

  • New bone formation

  • Impinging aligner

  • Chipped aligner

  • Irritation due to aligner margin

Tight trays

Generally, the initial pain allows the trays to become too close as you continue to wear the aligner and the pain disappears. The pain usually occurs for 2-4 days of initial wear and most of it when you switch to the next. In the nighttime, you can tray the switch.

Stretching fibres

As the tooth moves to the new position (fibres of the gums and the underlying tissues) the pain is experienced as due to the stretching of the fibres. As the old fibres are break; new fibres form at the new position.

New bone formation

Tooth movement is a constant process within the tooth. This develops new bone around the tooth. There is a feeling of pressure that occurs as the teeth move in a straighter direction to achieve that beautiful smile that is healthier. This pressure, then, is often confused as pain.

Impinging aligner

The tray has a margin that is usually smooth but sometimes it starts to impinge after a couple of days of wear or as it is. This is a common occurrence of multiple erupting teeth in patients.

Chipped aligner

Chewie and retriever are usually provided by the aligner companies to help seat and latter remove the aligner. Sometimes when the patient is not properly trained to remove the aligner properly, the aligner is chipped, causing ulceration to begin to impinge.

Irritation due to aligner margin

Even though an aligner is a custom tool, and it fits snuggly, the aligner margin often causes pain along the lip and jaw. Constant wear will help you get used to the foreign feeling.

Are You Looking for Clear Aligners or Invisalign to Straighten Your Teeth?

With over 30 years of professional experience helping patients renew and beautifying their smiles, Balfour Dental continues to be the preferred dental office for families in Brentwood California and the surrounding communities of Antioch, Oakley, Discovery Bay and beyond. Their dental office is locally owned and operated by Dr. Dimple Rayani and Dr. Sien Siao, two professionals with vast experience in cosmetic dentistry treatments as well as in general dentistry. Dr. Rayani and Dr. Siao both have many different certifications, including Invisalign Certification, Implant Dentistry, Sleep Apnea Treatment, Cerec CAD-CAM Restorations, Neuromuscular Dentistry, and Implants respectively.  If you are looking to renew your smile, contact Balfour Dental today!

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