Which Invisalign Tray Hurts the Most: The First or One in the Middle? By Yamen Akhras on June 29, 2022

Invisalign aligner trays and a carrying case

If you have crooked teeth or spacing issues, you’ve probably considered Invisalign® for your orthodontic needs. This clear aligner system is an excellent alternative to traditional braces, and many teens and adults around Orland Park, IL, have benefited from getting Invisalign.

I’d like to answer a common question we receive regarding Invisalign treatment: which tray hurts the most during the Invisalign treatment process?

Once that’s covered, I’ll offer some tips to minimize pain and improve overall comfort during the course of Invisalign treatment.

How Invisalign Works

Invisalign is a popular teeth straightening system that uses a series of clear plastic aligners to encourage movement so that the teeth and jaw shift to their intended position. During Invisalign treatment, patients progress to a new set of aligner trays approximately every two weeks.

Are Some Invisalign Trays More Painful Than Others?

Yes, some trays will cause more soreness and discomfort.

Because the pressure and feeling of the Invisalign aligners are new at the start of treatment, the first few Invisalign trays tend to be the most uncomfortable for our Orland Park patients.

Thankfully this discomfort is manageable.

Is Discomfort from Invisalign Common?

Although Invisalign should not cause patients any significant pain, it is normal to experience some discomfort while adjusting to new aligner trays. It is relatively comparable to the discomfort that teens and adults feel while undergoing traditional orthodontic care and braces adjustments.

Each time that a person switches to a new set of aligners, it will take some time to adjust. However, most people get used to the feeling over time, so discomfort should lessen with each new set of Invisalign trays.

Appointments to Check on Progress

When you stop by our Orland Park dental office for follow-up Invisalign visits, we can discuss if toothaches and oral pain remain an issue for you. We can come up with solutions to help you feel better without interrupting your Invisalign treatment.

Want to Learn More About Invisalign?

Woman holding an Invisalign aligner

Check Out Our Comprehensive Invisalign Guide

How Long Does Invisalign Pain Last?

It usually does not take very long to adjust to a new set of aligners, especially as Invisalign treatment progresses and patients learn what to expect when switching trays.

During the first two to three days after starting a new set of trays, patients may experience some soreness or tenderness. Aligners may also rub against the gums or inside of the lips, which could cause minor irritation.

Within just a few days of switching to the new trays, any type of discomfort should dissipate. This is natural as you adapt to the new set of aligners.

Advice on Minimizing Discomfort During Invisalign Treatment

Although discomfort should not be severe, there are some steps that patients can take to further minimize discomfort and irritation during Invisalign treatment.

I often offer the following advice, which is very helpful during the first few days of wearing a new set of aligner trays.

1. Make Sure You’re Wearing Your Aligners 20-22 Hours a Day

Pain during the middle of Invisalign treatment could be a warning sign that you’re not wearing your aligners enough. You should have your aligners in for 20-22 hours a day. When you neglect to wear your aligners, your teeth could shift back to a less optimal position, which makes the next aligner feel more painful than it should.

2. Change to Your New Aligners at Night

It’s a good idea to switch to a new set of Invisalign aligners at night just before going to bed. You’ll sleep through the initial few hours of discomfort and should be well on the road to adjustment in the morning.

3. Watch What You Eat

Avoid eating crunchy, chewy, and sticky foods in the first days after switching aligners. These can make really sensitive teeth feel sore. Soft foods that do not require a lot of chewing are ideal.

4. Use Cold Compresses

If the discomfort is particularly distracting, you can apply cold compresses or ice packs to the outer cheeks. Leave the compresses in place for up to 20 minutes, take the compress off for 20 minutes, and repeat as needed.

5. Take Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers

Taking non-prescription pain relievers can be very helpful when dealing with the initial soreness of a new aligner. Be sure to follow the directions of your OTC pain medication, and consider it a supplement to the other tips I’ve offered above.

Young adult Invisalign patient smiling while taking a selfie

Do Chewies, Movemints, and Munchies Help?

Chewies, Movemints, and Munchies are products designed for patients to chew on while their aligner trays are in place. By gently biting down on these products as directed, it can help your aligner adjust to the position of your teeth. Chewies are made of plastic, Munchies are made of silicone, and Movemints are actual edible mints.

These products can help with treatment, but they may not be that helpful if your aligners are already painful. In fact, overuse or improper use of these products could make your jaw a little sore.

Before using any of these products, be sure to consult with me or a member of our dental team here in Orland Park.

How Does Invisalign Pain Compare to Braces?

Generally speaking, Invisalign treatment is considered to be far more comfortable than orthodontic treatment with traditional braces. This is because Invisalign is metal-free, so there are no bulky metal wires or brackets to rub against the gums, cheeks, and other soft tissues of the mouth.

That being said, Invisalign does apply subtle and consistent pressure to the teeth and jaw to encourage necessary movement. This pressure can cause some discomfort for patients, especially as they adjust to their aligners. 

Two friends who've undergone Invisalign treatment smiling

Is Invisalign the Right Option for Me?

Invisalign has helped millions of people worldwide. According to an official release from Invisalign, more than 10 million patients have experienced the benefits of this clear aligner system worldwide.

While Invisalign is effective for many patients, some people with more serious degrees of malocclusion would be better served by traditional orthodontic care.

We Can Help You Make the Right Choice

The best way to find out if Invisalign is right for you is to set up a consultation at our office in Orland Park. We can take X-rays, discuss your dental history and oral health, and even give you a detailed breakdown of Invisalign pricing and the cost of braces.

My team and I will answer all of your questions so you can make an informed decision that’s right for your needs and your budget.

Want to Learn More About Invisalign? Contact Our Orland Park Office Today

Invisalign offers a discreet and convenient teeth straightening option. To learn more about Invisalign treatment and whether it may be right for you, contact Premier Dental & Implant Center.



Dr. Yamen AkhrasAbout Yamen Akhras, DDS
Dr. Yamen Akhras completed training in dental implants from the Misch Institute and the Urban Regeneration Institute. He specializes in treating gum disease, placing implants, and bone and gum grafting.

Read Dr. Akhras's Full Bio | All Posts by Dr. Akhras

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Premier Dental & Implant Center

Premier Dental & Implant Center

At Premier Dental & Implant Center, we provide high-quality dental care for your entire family. Periodontist and implant specialist Yamen Akhras, DDS, MS and our team offer a full range of dental services. We are also proud to be affiliated with:

  • American Academy of Periodontology
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  • Chicago Dental Associations
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For more information about our services, contact our office online or call (708) 873-9709 today.

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