Do Braces Hurt?

One of the main concerns we hear from people thinking about getting braces is that they will be painful. 

It’s an understandable cause of unease, which is why we’re here to discuss whether braces do hurt, debunk myths, and give you tips on easing pain. 

Why Do Braces Hurt?

The inside of the mouth can be a very sensitive part of the body, after all, it’s home to a large number of nerve endings and sensory receptors. We need these in order to enjoy things such as food and drink. 

But unfortunately, this means anything the mouth considers to be ‘unusual’ can sometimes cause some discomfort — until the nerves and receptors get accustomed to it. And braces are no exception! 

Braces take some adjusting to, so it’s normal to feel discomfort for the first few days. Typically, the pain experienced is soreness in the teeth and gums, and may feel worse when eating, or brushing your teeth. 

Most people find that the pain is manageable and gets less severe as their mouth adapts to having braces.

Fixed braces can cause pain for a number of reasons, but this is usually short-lived. The main reason is due to pressure and tension applied inside your mouth, which can sometimes lead to inflammation of the areas around the teeth and gums.
Braces can also cause some pain on the soft tissue area such as the insides of cheeks or lips if the brace wires rub, although this is less common.

Initial Discomfort: What to Expect

Braces take some adjusting to, so it’s normal to feel discomfort for the first few days. Typically, the pain experienced is soreness in the teeth and gums, and may feel worse when eating, or brushing your teeth. 

Most people find that the pain is manageable and gets less severe as their mouth adapts to having braces.

When Braces Are Most Likely To Cause Pain

When you get them put on

A commonly asked question is “does getting braces put on hurt?” and the answer is whilst it often can, the level of discomfort experienced by each individual varies massively. 

Usually, the discomfort is caused simply from having your mouth open for an extended period of time, which tends to go away pretty quickly after the braces have been put on. 

There is also some slight pressure applied to the teeth during the initial appointment, which again may cause some mild discomfort. 

When you get them tightened

Tightening the brace essentially applies a small amount of pressure on the teeth, in order for them to move to where they need to be. 

Depending on your treatment plan, they will usually be adjusted every couple of months. 

In terms of how to get rid of the pain as a result of getting braces tightened, it typically goes away by itself once the teeth have got used to the “new” amount of pressure. 

When you get them taken off

Having your braces taken off and seeing your new smile for the first time is exciting, but can also cause anxiety for those worried about the pain. 

There is little cause for concern here. You can expect to experience similar sensations to when you had your braces fitted initially, only this time the process should be much quicker! 

As mentioned at the start of this article, the sensory receptors in your mouth will have got accustomed to your braces — so it might feel strange at first when they are taken off again, but shouldn’t be painful. 

How Long Do Braces Hurt?

Another common question is “when do braces stop hurting”. The answer to this is that it varies a lot from person to person. 

It is unlikely that you will experience pain the whole time you’re wearing braces, but should this be the case, you certainly shouldn’t after they’re taken off. 

Any initial discomfort or inflammation within the mouth should typically go away within a few days, along with any pain caused from the pressure applied to the teeth. 

There are some methods on how to get rid of braces pain, but it is important to know that the initial pain should subside by itself. 

It’s also worth noting that the initial strange feeling of having braces in your mouth goes away typically within the first month, too.

How to Relieve Braces Pain 

Over-the-Counter Solutions for Braces Pain

There are a number of over the counter remedies for the relief of braces pain; paracetamol and ibuprofen are among the most popular and most cost-effective. 

They are designed to relieve pain, particularly ibuprofen with its anti-inflammatory properties.

Using warm salt water is also known to be an effective remedy for some patients.

If you are struggling with pain from braces, we would recommend speaking to your orthodontist about what they recommend. 

Maintaining Oral Hygiene to Prevent Pain

Keeping your mouth clean is essential for numerous reasons, including getting rid of pain caused by your braces.

By keeping your teeth, gums and braces clean, you are preventing any form of bacteria which could lead to infections or decay, neither of which will help with your pain!

Minimising Pain When Eating with Braces

Choosing the right types of food is a great way to get rid of braces pain, and you can still enjoy most of the foods you love. Choosing hard or pointy food (e.g. tortilla crisps) can leave your mouth hurting, whereas soft foods such as mashed potatoes, soup, pasta, mac & cheese, or soft fruits will go down a treat. Cutting your food into smaller pieces may also help minimise pain, as this will reduce the amount of chewing you need to do – resulting in less use of your teeth and mouth in general. Chewing more slowly will also help reduce the pain. 

Once you have got used to having fixed braces, you should get back to being able to enjoy any foods, or at least you will learn what causes you discomfort and what doesn’t!

When to Contact Your Orthodontist

If you are experiencing excruciating pain, or it doesn’t go away after a couple of weeks of following aftercare advice, you may want to consider contacting your orthodontist. 

They may be able to advise on what you can change in your daily routine to relieve pain, or may suggest some stronger painkillers which will help keep pain manageable. 

Tips for Adjusting to Life with Braces

Making some small adjustments whilst wearing braces can be key to enjoying your life as you normally would. 

Whilst you may not be able to enjoy all of the foods you would usually be able to have, you can still enjoy the majority if you remember to cut food into smaller sizes and take smaller bites. 

Ensuring you have good oral hygiene and are drinking plenty of water to keep your mouth clean and hydrated, will help reduce irritation. 

Periodically using warm salt water and consuming cool, soft foods (e.g. yoghurt), combined with taking over the counter relief, should really minimise your pain. 

Other tips include wearing a mouth guard to protect your teeth and braces if you play a sport, not biting your nails, and not using your teeth to open things such as bottles or packets. You should also refrain from fiddling with your braces, and last but not least — keep a positive attitude and try to see the long term benefits of the temporary discomfort. 

By following these tips, you should be able to adjust to life with braces and make the period more manageable. Remember, it won’t be long until you have perfect teeth!

Interested in Booking a Consultation With Us? 

If you are interested in getting fixed braces or Invisalign and would like a consultation with our expert team of orthodontists, we would love to hear from you! 

Get in touch with us through our online contact form, and a member of our team will be back in touch to get you booked in or answer any questions you have. 

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