Do Braces hurt?

One of the most commonly asked questions about orthodontics is if whether placing braces causes any pain or discomfort. The honest answer is that braces almost never hurt at all when they are bonded/glued to the teeth, so there is no reason to be anxious.

In most cases, there will be mild soreness or discomfort after the orthodontic wire is engaged into the brackets, which begins a few hours after placement and may last for a few days. This is the response to the pressure applied by the wire that is needed to straighten the teeth.

What to Expect When Getting Braces

Here is an overview of what you can expect when getting braces:

Placement day – The placement of braces is not painful. We place cheek retractors in your mouth while placing the braces which may cause your cheeks to feel stretched. Sometimes, after an hour of two the teeth may feel more sensitive than usual. Initially, it may take longer to eat meals, but this is largely because it takes some time to adjust to wearing the braces. For comfort, hard and difficult to chew foods should be avoided in favour of a softer, more liquid-based diet for the first few days.

Two days after placement – The first several days after placement of braces can be slightly uncomfortable.  This is because the teeth may feel tender as they are beginning the realignment process and are not used to the pressure of the archwires and elastic ties.  The inside of your mouth is also adapting to the presence of the braces and may have some spot of irritation. The orthodontist will provide relief wax to apply over the braces as necessary. Wax helps provide a smooth surface and alleviates irritation on the inner cheeks and lips. Additionally, over-the-counter pain medication (e.g., Advil® or Tylenol) may be taken as directed to relieve mild soreness.

Five days after placement – After five days, any initial discomfort associated with the braces should be completely gone. The teeth will have gradually acclimated to the braces, and eating should be much easier. Hard foods may still pose a challenge and should be avoided or cut up into smaller pieces.

Orthodontic appointments – Regular orthodontic appointments are necessary to allow the orthodontist to change the archwire, rubber or metal ties, and make adjustments to the braces to ensure that progress is being made in treatment. Fixed braces work by gradually moving the teeth into a new and proper alignment, so gentle pressure needs to be applied constantly.  The first several days after an orthodontic adjustment may be slightly uncomfortable, but remember that this discomfort will quickly pass.

Dealing with discomfort – Over-the-counter pain medication and orthodontic relief wax will help alleviate any mild soreness and discomfort following placement of braces and orthodontic adjustments.

If you have any questions or concerns about orthodontic treatment, please contact our office, Innova Orthodontics.


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