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Are There Side Effects with Invisalign?

People who are unhappy with their smile for any reason often turn to the Internet to research treatments that can give them that “red carpet,” toothy grin. It wasn’t too long ago that you would have done a lot of reading about metal braces, wires and rubber bands when you researched treatments for improved smiles on the Internet.

Things have changed since Invisalign clear aligners hit the market way back in 1997, however. With more than 6.4 million people around the world having undergone Invisalign treatment to date, including over 1.5 million teenagers, you can now read content about Invisalign aligners right along side material that discusses traditional braces.

The Benefits of Invisalign Treatment

As you become increasingly familiar with Invisalign, you’ll see that it shares a goal with metal braces. And that objective is to relocate teeth to their proper position. Traditional braces and Invisalign treatment also share a prolonged timeline. While the two treatments may not require the same number of weeks or months, both of them do require time to produce their intended results.

If you keep reading about Invisalign, you’ll realize that this kind of treatment typically has a few advantages over conventional braces. Here are just a few examples of them:

  • No dietary changes needed: People who choose traditional braces over Invisalign treatment typically have to change their diets so they don’t consume certain kinds of food that can damage their hardware or get lodged in their teeth or braces. Popcorn, pizza crust and orange foodstuffs like barbecue chips are some of the food you may need to avoid when you wear braces, but not when you have Invisalign aligners.
  • No loss of self-confidence: Many people lose some of their confidence when they wear traditional braces because everyone can see them even from a distance. Invisalign aligners are often referred to as “invisible braces” because they’re difficult or impossible for onlookers to see.
  • No reason to visit your dentist or orthodontist as often: When you opt for Invisalign treatment over conventional braces, you won’t have to visit your Invisalign orthodontist or dentist as often as you would with standard braces.

The Drawbacks to Invisalign Treatment

While the benefits mentioned above are certainly meaningful to a lot of people, there are some drawbacks to Invisalign treatment. Although that’s the case, the vast majority of people find the benefits far outweigh the potential drawbacks that may accompany the use of Invisalign clear aligners.


Some individuals who undergo Invisalign treatment will experience headaches. Patients who typically experience these side effects normally endure them at the start of their treatment. These side effects normally occur because patients aren’t used to the pressure their aligners put on their teeth and they’re not used to having something in their mouths for prolonged periods of time.

With patients getting used to having their Invisalign aligners in their mouths and the aligners only applying gentle pressure, many patients don’t report the onset or recurrence of these side effects at all.

Allergic Reaction

While extremely rare, Invisalign aligners can cause an allergic reaction which is often attributable to the proprietary material they’re made with. In general, an allergic reaction to Invisalign aligners is usually mild and simply causes minor gum irritation which will resolve itself quickly. If the gum irritation persists or you have a headache or nausea for several days, contact your Invisalign orthodontist.

Soreness or Discomfort

When you begin your Invisalign treatment, you may experience some mouth soreness or discomfort as you adjust to your invisible braces. This may happen again as you get new aligners throughout your treatment plan. This discomfort is easily managed with over-the-counter medication and will go away quickly in most cases. Most patients who have experienced both traditional metal braces and Invisalign report that the soreness associated with Invisalign is much more subtle that the soreness with metal braces.

Extended Wear Time

While you’ll have to wear your Invisalign aligners most of the time, you can remove them temporarily every day. As a rule of thumb, most patients will be told they have to wear their aligners at least 20 hours per day.

You have to remove your Invisalign aligners to do certain things throughout the day, including eating, drinking certain beverages, brushing, flossing and cleaning your aligners. Because you’re supposed to wear them so long every day, you will have to plan when you do those things carefully to avoid infringing upon the time when you should be wearing your Invisalign braces.

Weight Loss

So many people have lost weight after starting their Invisalign treatment that there’s now such a thing as the Invisalign Diet. The Invisalign Diet came about naturally, and it’s the result of many patients preferring to eat less often to avoid having to brush their teeth and clean their aligners any more than absolutely necessary. While some people may be eager to get Invisalign aligners simply because they may help them lose weight, you can follow the Invisalign Diet without actually getting aligners.

If you’re going to undergo Invisalign treatment and are concerned about losing weight, consult your primary care physician or a nutritionist to see what you can do to maintain your weight during treatment. The answer is often as simple as adding a protein shake to your regularly scheduled meals and/or snacks.

Learn about Your Treatment Options from an Invisalign Specialist

When you visit Clearsmile Orthodontics, Dr. Colin Webb will explain your treatment options. An Invisalign specialist, Dr. Webb will determine whether traditional braces or Invisalign is right for you. Whatever choice is made, the team at Clearsmile Orthodontics will oversee your treatment and help you make your dream of having your best smile a reality.

Learn more about Invisalign treatment now and contact us to schedule a consultation with Dr. Webb and his talented team when you’re ready to have your best smile.