Date updated: JAN 06 2023

Will Braces Hurt When They’re Applied To The Teeth?

Most patients experience little to no pain or discomfort during the actual application process. In fact, many patients report the discomfort is no different than routine dental cleaning.

Traditional braces include three main components: bands, brackets, and connecting wires. Bands are thin metal hoops usually fitted onto upper and lower molars and secured with special glue. Brackets are likewise applied with glue to the surface of the patient’s tooth. In both instances, mild pressure is applied to secure the metal onto the tooth. The wires are then placed within the brackets and span across the teeth.

The process is quick and there’s almost no pain associated with the application.

Do braces hurt and what to expect? people with braces

How Long Do Braces Hurt?

The discomfort associated with braces varies based on many factors. Patients may feel some pain during the first week of braces and the first week following an adjustment. Discomfort typically disappears after that.

After braces are applied, most patients report some mild to moderate pain typically soreness, jaw pain, or headaches. This discomfort sets in within 3-4 hours of the first appointment.

In addition to soreness from the pressure used to apply the braces, patients may also experience pain as a result of adjusting metal wires. During the first week, you will adapt to the mild tenderness associated with brackets and wires pressing against the inside of your cheeks.

During the first week, biting may cause some discomfort because your teeth will be tender. Most pain can be soothed by rinsing your mouth with warm saltwater. If the discomfort is more severe, Tylenol™ or similar medication can help alleviate discomfort until you adjust to braces.

After the first week, discomfort should be very minimal for the most part, although patients may still experience some pain resulting from eating foods that are hard or require more chewing. There are plenty of braces-friendly foods, but certain meals or snacks — like popcorn or crunchy veggies — can cause more tenderness than others and should be avoided.

If you’re experiencing severe or constant pain, you should definitely call your orthodontist to check in!

How to Deal with Braces Pain

There may be limited discomfort throughout the duration of your treatment, but don’t worry — it is manageable! If your braces hurt occasionally during the duration of treatment, Smile Doctors suggests the same tips as the first few days after getting braces.

3 Tips for Braces Pain Relief

1. Taking Over the Counter Pain Medicine

For soreness, over-the-counter pain relievers such as Tylenol or Advil are extremely effective. A combination of NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like Ibuprofen is helpful in the first few days to reduce swelling around your gums as your mouth adjusts to your braces.

Rinsing with warm salt water can also help reduce swelling.

2. Using Dental Wax

For bracket pain, your orthodontist will usually give you some dental wax and show you how to apply it after your braces are on. This wax is colorless, and flavorless, and is extra helpful while you adjust to the feeling of brackets brushing against the inside of your mouth.

3. Eating Soft Foods

For other pain or discomfort (especially in the first week), eating soft foods such as soup or pasta avoids creating additional discomfort while you adjust.

Preparing For Getting Braces? You’ve Got This!

Another way to prepare for getting braces – and to boost motivation during treatment – is to think about what it will be like to get your braces off! From straightening crooked or crowded teeth to aligning overbites or underbites, braces improve orofacial health and leave you with a confident smile. Book a consultation with a local orthodontist today to discuss the best options for straightening your smile as comfortably as possible.

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