The journey to a straighter smile with braces comes with a lot of questions and often even anxiety. Because of this, one of the most common questions we get is “do braces hurt”? It’s a valid concern! While braces are a common and effective way to treat dental alignment, they can induce a small amount of discomfort, especially in the early stages of treatment.
Why Do Braces Hurt?
As your teeth, gums, and mouth adapt to your braces, it is common to experience some mild pain. The initial discomfort is a natural response to the pressure that braces apply to your teeth. This pressure is the force behind the movement of teeth as they move toward their new, aligned positions.
The Biological Reasons Behind the Discomfort
At the heart of this discomfort is your body’s incredible ability to adapt to changes. When braces are secured, they begin to exert pressure on the teeth, which slowly creates changes in the bones and tissues of the mouth. Specifically, this pressure affects the periodontal membrane (the layer of tissue that helps keep your teeth anchored in your jawbone) and the surrounding bones.
This activity stimulates a biological process known as bone remodelling. On the side of the tooth where the pressure is applied, the bone resorbs (essentially shrinks away), allowing the tooth to move. On the opposite side, new bone is formed to fill in the space it left behind. It’s this remodelling process that causes the initial phase of discomfort as your teeth start their realignment.
On top of that, the soft tissues of your mouth, such as the cheeks and lips, may also feel sore as they get used to the presence of the brackets and wires. This is all part of the journey to a straighter smile and soon your mouth will adapt to the additions.
Understanding the biological reasons why braces can cause discomfort is the first step in managing it. Rest assured, this initial period of soreness is temporary, and as your mouth adapts, the discomfort will significantly decrease.
How Long Do Braces Hurt For?
Typically, the most noticeable pain begins within the first few hours after your braces are applied, peaking around the second or third day. This period is when your teeth are getting the wake-up call to start moving. For most individuals, this discomfort is manageable and often described as a feeling of pressure or a dull ache. By the end of the first week, you’ll find the intensity of the discomfort will have subsided significantly and will only be uncomfortable when pressure is applied – similar to a bruise.
How to Stop Braces Pain
Here are some effective tips and recommendations to help ease the pain and enjoy a smoother transition to life with braces.
Managing Pain with Simple Remedies
Cold Compresses and Ice Water
- Apply a cold compress to the outside of your mouth or rinse with ice water to provide numbing relief. The cold helps reduce inflammation and can dull the sensation of pain.
- On the first day, your teeth will likely be sensitive to pressure. Opt for soft foods that require little to no chewing, like yoghurt, soup, smoothies, pastas and ICE CREAM.
Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers
- Common over-the-counter pain relievers such as Paracetamol or ibuprofen can be effective in managing braces pain. However, always follow the recommended dosage and consider any personal or medical contraindications.
- Dental wax: While not a pain reliever, dental wax can be applied to the brackets that are causing irritation to the inside of your mouth. This can introduce a soft barrier between the appliance and your cheeks to prevent sores and cuts, reducing discomfort.
- Mix a half-teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water, and swish gently in your mouth for about 30 seconds before spitting it out.
- Some patients prefer orthodontic silicone over dental wax. This can be placed over the brackets to prevent irritation and give your mouth time to adapt to the braces.
If your pain feels overwhelming, reach out to your orthodontist. Some discomfort and tenderness is normal, persistent or severe pain is not.
Do Braces Hurt When You Get Them On?
The actual process of applying braces involves no pain. At Gullotta Orthodontics, we ensure that the bonding process is as gentle and stress-free as possible. You may feel pressure as each bracket is placed, but this should not be painful in the slightest.
- Have a hearty, soft meal before your appointment. Once the braces are on, you might prefer softer foods and liquids initially.
- Your mouth will be open for a bit, so having lip balm can help prevent dryness or chapping.
- Understanding that some discomfort is a part of the journey towards a straighter smile can help you mentally prepare. Remember, the pain is a temporary phase.
Reducing Braces Pain Over Time
Adjusting to life with braces involves a period of adaptation, where initial discomfort transitions into a new kind of normalcy. Over time, the mouth becomes less sensitive to the presence of braces, and patients find they can return to many of their regular activities without constant awareness of them. This long-term comfort can be enhanced with the right products and practices.
Over the weeks and months, your mouth adjusts to the braces. The soft tissues toughen, and the brain begins to ignore the ‘foreign’ feeling of the brackets and wires. The initial soreness after getting braces may lead to heightened tooth sensitivity, but as the teeth begin to settle into their new positions, this sensitivity generally goes away.
LightForce Braces: A Great Choice
When it comes to orthodontic treatment, one size does not fit all, and that’s where LightForce braces shine. LightForce braces represent a leap forward in orthodontic technology, offering a less painful alternative to traditional braces through their fully customisable brackets. Each bracket is uniquely designed and 3D-printed to fit the individual contours of your teeth, providing a precision fit that’s not possible with standard braces. Just check out our videos below to see how they work, or read our blog looking at LightForce braces vs normal braces!
Gullotta Orthodontics: A Partner in Comfort
At Gullotta Orthodontics, we strive to make your journey to a perfect smile as comfortable as possible. Our team is dedicated to providing you with the tools, tips, and techniques to minimise discomfort at every stage of your braces journey.
If you’re considering braces treatment, book a consultation with Gullotta Orthodontics today. We are committed to offering personalised care and support, ensuring your comfort, and answering any questions about managing braces pain.