How Long Does it Take to Adjust to Invisalign Aligners?


Those who wish to straighten their teeth discreetly can take advantage of Invisalign® at our Chicago, IL dental practice. This innovative system shifts the teeth using clear thermoplastic aligner trays.

Just like any orthodontic device, it may take some time to get used to treatment. But just how long does it take to adjust to Invisalign aligners?

Here, Dr. William J. Couvelis and our team at North Pier Dental Associates answer this question and offer a few recommendations for a comfortable and successful treatment process.

General Invisalign Guidelines

Once your Invisalign trays have been fabricated at our dental lab, we will schedule you for an appointment. During this visit, we will assess the fit of your trays and give you instructions on how to properly wear, clean, and store them.

To be effective, your aligner trays must be worn all the time. They should only be removed at meal times and when you brush and floss your teeth.

Should I Expect Discomfort from Invisalign?

Like traditional braces, Invisalign applies steady pressure to the teeth in order to move them. Although the pressure is mild, it can cause minor discomfort as your teeth, and surrounding ligaments become accustomed to the trays.

Many Invisalign patients report mild discomfort while some report no pain at all. Typically, tenderness occurs whenever you wear a new set of aligners. This side effect usually only lasts for a day or two and should not be a cause for concern.

How to Reduce Soreness from Invisalign

If you do experience discomfort while wearing your Invisalign trays, there are a number of ways to manage it. To reduce tenderness:

  • Take acetaminophen, ibuprofen, naproxen, or another over-the-counter pain reliever as needed.
  • Switch to your new aligners at bedtime. Most discomfort occurs during the first few hours. If you change your trays before bed, you will likely sleep through it.
  • Remove your aligners and suck on an ice cube for a few minutes. Just remember to place your trays back in your mouth when finished.
  • Apply a cold compress to the face in the area of tenderness. Try this in 10-minute increments approximately two or three times a day.
  • Do not remove your trays. When tenderness occurs, it may seem like a good idea to take your aligners out. However, this will only delay treatment and cause more discomfort once the trays are worn again. The more you wear your trays, the faster you will get used to them.

Will Invisalign Affect My Speech?

In some instances, patients may notice that Invisalign affects their speech temporarily. This is a normal side effect and should fade within the first few days.

Your aligner trays are ultra-thin and designed to fit snugly against the teeth. Therefore, any lisps or other speech concerns are unlikely to occur.

If you notice your speech is different after wearing your aligner trays, re-evaluate in a few days. Chances are, the problem will resolve on its own.

It may take a few days to become accustomed to Invisalign clear aligners. However, most patients find it is a small price to pay for straighter, more beautiful teeth.

Schedule an Invisalign Consultation

To learn more about Invisalign and how it can help restore your smile, request a consultation today with Dr. William J. Couvelis, an experienced cosmetic and restorative dentist at North Pier Dental Associates in Chicago’s Streeterville neighborhood.

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