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Why do people quit Invisalign?

Invisalign has become a popular alternative to traditional braces for adults looking to straighten their teeth. The clear aligners are convenient, comfortable, and discreet. However, treatment with Invisalign requires a big commitment. Patients need to wear the aligners for 20-22 hours per day and switch to a new set every 1-2 weeks for anywhere from 6 months to 2 years. Not surprisingly, many patients struggle to comply with the Invisalign requirements and end up quitting treatment prematurely.


One of the most common reasons people quit Invisalign is discomfort. While less painful than braces overall, Invisalign can cause tenderness when you switch to new aligners. As the aligners gradually move your teeth, it puts pressure on them that may feel sore or make teeth sensitive. Some patients also experience mouth abrasions from the plastic.

Discomfort is especially common during the first week of a new set of aligners. As your mouth adjusts, the soreness subsides. But for those with lower pain tolerance, the discomfort makes them want to give up Invisalign.

Tips for dealing with Invisalign discomfort:

  • Take over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen as needed
  • Use orthodontic wax to cover sharp edges of aligners that rub your mouth
  • Rinse mouth with warm salt water to soothe abrasions
  • Wait 10-15 minutes after inserting new aligners before eating or drinking anything cold
  • Do not progress to the next aligner until your mouth feels adjusted to the current set

Lifestyle Limitations

Invisalign aligners must be worn for the majority of the day and removed only for eating, drinking, brushing, and flossing. For some patients, remembering to remove the aligners and having to take them out and in again several times per day interrupts their lifestyle.

Activities like snacking mindlessly throughout the day or drinking anything other than water becomes a nuisance. Some teens accustomed to sipping on sodas or sports drinks at school find the lifestyle limitations of Invisalign too restricting. Athletes who drink sports beverages during training or consume protein shakes post-workout may also struggle with the required aligner wear.

People with active social lives or those who travel frequently can feel burdened by having to remove aligners and keep track of them at restaurants, parties, conferences, and on trips. The oral hygiene demands also detract from leisure time.

Tips for dealing with Invisalign lifestyle limitations:

  • Plan ahead for times when you’ll need to remove aligners
  • Carry case to safely store aligners when out and about
  • Stick to water, coffee, or tea when wearing aligners
  • Save snacks and other beverages for mealtimes when aligners can be removed
  • Set phone reminders to brush after eating and floss at night
  • Keep floss and travel toothbrush with you for on-the-go oral hygiene

Difficulty Adapting

For some Invisalign patients, they simply struggle to adapt to wearing plastic in their mouth for most hours of the day. Everyone adapts to lifestyle changes differently, and things like speaking, eating, and sleeping with aligners can be challenging at first.

Difficulty adapting often causes people to prematurely decide Invisalign is not for them. But for most, it simply takes perseverance through an initial adjustment period. Wearing aligners all day becomes second nature within a few weeks for most.

Tips for adapting to Invisalign:

  • Practice speaking, eating, and other functions with aligners prior to first day of wear
  • Ease into 22-hour wear schedule if needed (but aligners must be worn for at least 20 hours daily)
  • Use chewies to help seat aligners properly
  • Go slowly when removing aligners to avoid pain from sticking
  • Rinse aligners with cold water which can ease insertion
  • Use orthokey tool to grip aligners for easier removal

Lack of Motivation

Invisalign treatment demands high levels of patient compliance. Missing just a few days of recommended wear time can delay progress. Some patients lack the motivation needed to stick with the program.

Younger patients may underestimate the commitment involved. Adults with busy, stressful lives may struggle to stay compliant. Having aligners causes you to focus on your teeth so much more, which can get tiring.

Without proper motivation, it’s difficult for patients to power throughtemporary discomforts or be as vigilant about aligner wear. Even those who start strong can start to lack motivation as time goes on.

Tips for staying motivated with Invisalign:

  • Focus on end goal of beautiful smile
  • Use Invisalign App to track progress
  • Schedule periodic progress checks with your dentist
  • Join online Invisalign support groups
  • Put reminders in your phone/calendar for aligner wear schedule
  • Stick to schedule as much as possible to stay on track
  • Reward yourself for reaching prescribed aligner switch dates


Clear braces like Invisalign use attachments to help grab and shift teeth into place. These tiny bumps are bonded onto select teeth and work with the aligners to apply targeted forces.

Some patients dislike the look and feel of attachments. They can make aligners more noticeable. Attachments also collect more plaque and irritate the tongue initially.

Tips for dealing with Invisalign attachments:

  • Use diligent oral hygiene to prevent plaque buildup
  • Ask dentist about smaller or tooth-colored attachments if very bothered by appearance
  • Use orthodontic wax over attachments to smooth irritation to tongue
  • Wait 7-10 days for mouth to adjust to attachments before deciding to quit
  • Focus on the end result of a beautiful new smile


The average cost of Invisalign ranges from $3,000-$8,000. Some cases with more extensive alignment needs can cost even more. While generally less expensive than traditional braces, Invisalign is still a significant investment.

Unexpected life expenses, changes in income, or losing dental insurance coverage can cause patients to no longer be able to afford monthly treatment payments. The inability to continue managing costs is a common reason people end Invisalign treatment prematurely.

Going into Invisalign treatment with a clear understanding of the full costs, payment options, insurance coverage, and financing can help patients prepare.

Tips for affording Invisalign treatment:

  • Get pricing estimate ahead of time
  • Understand what dental insurance will cover
  • Consider any potential changes in coverage over treatment duration
  • Discuss payment plan or financing options
  • Use tax-advantaged accounts like FSA or HSA to save for treatment costs
  • Ask dentist about any discounts for paying full upfront cost

Tracking Issues

With Invisalign treatment, patients switch aligners on a precise schedule, usually every 1-2 weeks. Failing to progress your aligner trays on schedule can prolong treatment and impede progress.

Some patients struggle to remember when to switch aligners. Losing aligners or forgetting to bring them can also delay treatment. Skipping aligner wear too often means teeth won’t be ready for the next set on schedule.

Advanced aligners like Invisalign have made the process easier by assigning each set a number and providing tracking apps. But some patients still find properly tracking aligner stages to be a challenge.

Tips for tracking Invisalign progress:

  • Use Invisalign App or set reminders to switch aligners
  • Note aligner number/stage on case for easy reference
  • Bring next aligner set with you when close to switch date
  • Buy multiple aligner cases to store set at home, work, travel, etc.
  • Note dates for each aligner stage in your calendar
  • See your dentist promptly if aligners are ever lost or damaged

Poor Communication

Clear communication between patient and Invisalign provider is key for a successful treatment outcome. When communication breaks down, patients may feel unclear about treatment expectations or unsupported through challenges that arise.

For example, if a patient experiences discomfort but hesitates contacting their dentist for advice, they may be more likely to simply stop wearing aligners. Or if aligners aren’t fitting properly but the patient fails to notify their provider, it can impede progress and increase frustration.

Tips for communicating about Invisalign treatment:

  • Don’t hesitate to contact dentist office with any questions or concerns
  • Provide regular status updates on treatment progress and aligner fit
  • Be proactive and speak up at the first sign of any problems or pain
  • Clarify expectations upfront for aligner wear, appointments, tracking, and results
  • Come prepared with questions to each appointment

Unhappy with Aesthetics

While far more discrete than metal braces, Invisalign aligners are still visible. Some patients dislike the aesthetic look of plastic aligners or find them more noticeable than expected.

Aligners can temporarily affect speech and smile appearance. Some patients simply can’t get past the aesthetics of wearing the plastic trays. Teens in particular may be self-conscious about how aligners look to their peers.

Tips for adjusting to Invisalign aesthetics:

  • Use tooth-colored or ceramic attachments when possible
  • Practice smiling, speaking, etc. with aligners prior to first day of wear
  • Style hair, clothing, makeup in ways that draw attention from mouth area
  • Remind yourself aligners are temporary and focus on end result
  • Embrace clear aligners as a fashion trend just like braces

Poor Results

Just like any orthodontic method, Invisalign relies on patient compliance to work properly. Failing to wear aligners for the recommended time or missing appointments can result in poor outcomes.

Skipping aligners or delaying progression between sets means teeth don’t have adequate time to move into proper alignment. If issues arise but go unaddressed by the dentist, results can also suffer.

Halting treatment prematurely means you never fully complete the alignment process as prescribed. Teeth that could have been straightened more or bite issues that could have been resolved are left unimproved.

Tips for achieving your best Invisalign results:

  • Follow your dentist’s exact aligner wear instructions
  • Don’t miss or skip appointment with your Invisalign provider
  • Notify dentist immediately if aligners ever feel loose or stop fitting tightly
  • Progress aligners only when your teeth feel ready for the next set
  • Commit to completing your entire prescribed treatment plan


Invisalign can transform your smile beautifully when patients commit to the process fully. But the aligners involve a lifestyle change and substantial commitment. Discomfort, cost, maintenance, and other factors also contribute to patients quitting early. Working closely with your dentist and taking proactive measures to overcome challenges increases the likelihood you’ll stick with Invisalign to the end for a stunning new smile.