Orthodontic treatment (using braces or clear aligners) is a serious dental treatment that involves a significant investment of time and effort. Orthodontic treatment is necessary to correct several oral health disorders and conditions, including tooth and jaw misalignments.
However, treatment with braces can also have significant cosmetic benefits; specifically, a straighter, more symmetrical smile. Many people use braces to correct minor misalignments that don't cause them any discomfort or inconvenience but do make them feel a little self-conscious.
If you are considering straightening your teeth for primarily cosmetic purposes, you may be wondering if the treatment is painful and whether the pain is worth it.
Do Braces Hurt
One of the most common questions we get from patients who are anxious about getting braces is, 'Do braces hurt?
Our honest answer is always that the application itself won’t hurt, though you may feel some mild pain or discomfort after we join the brackets with the orthodontic wire.
Many patients experience some soreness or discomfort for the first few days after their braces are placed, or their brackets or wires are adjusted. Getting braces is a big change for your mouth, and your cheeks and lips may need a couple of weeks to get used to moving around them.
You’ll be relieved to know that the appliances and wires we use are modern, and designed to exert a light, gradual, continuous pressure on your teeth so as not to cause undue pain.
Treatment For The Pain
Here are some tips to help relieve any soreness or discomfort you may be feeling in those first few days after your braces are applied or adjusted:
Eat softer foods
You may want to stock up on softer foods to eat for after appointments and if your teeth are sore or sensitive after your braces are removed. Think soups, yogurt, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese - anything that will help you avoid having to bite or crunch down with sensitive teeth.
Use special wax or silicone
Your teeth and mouth are getting used to being realigned - and to having braces, elastic ties and archwires to contend with. Special relief wax or silicone can be applied over your braces to create a smooth surface and help relieve any irritation on your inner lips and cheeks.
Take over-the-counter pain medication
After your braces are removed for good, it’s not unusual to feel some soreness on your teeth or in your mouth. Some patients find over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen - contained in Advil, Motrin and other brands - helps relieve any soreness (just ensure you are not allergic to any medication you may take).
Drink ice water or apply an ice pack
Cold temperatures can do wonders for braces' pain relief. Reduce inflammation by applying an ice pack to the outside of your mouth. You can also drink a nice, cold glass of ice water to numb the area.
Though you may feel some discomfort in the days after braces are placed or adjusted, this should quickly fade.