Thinking about getting braces? You’re probably wondering how much they’re going to hurt. Braces can cause discomfort, but it’s usually not too bad.
When you first get them
Getting braces put on your teeth doesn’t hurt. It takes between one to two hours to have braces put on your teeth.
First, your orthodontist puts bands around your back molars. This may involve some slight pressure or pinching, but it won’t be painful.
Then, your orthodontist applies a special glue to your teeth that doesn’t taste good, but doesn’t hurt. Your orthodontist glues brackets onto each of your teeth, and then connects the brackets with wires. Finally, everything is secured with elastic bands.
Within a few hours, you will begin to develop some pain and soreness in your teeth and gums. This pain will probably last about a week. During that time, you will be getting used to the feeling of your new braces. The wires and rubber bands put pressure on your teeth to slowly straighten them. This pressure takes some time to get used to.
Sore teeth food:
- frozen yogurt
- mashed potatoes
- macaroni and cheese
- cold drinks
- soft fruit, like bananas and berries
During the first week after getting braces, you may experience:
- pressure and soreness of your teeth and gums, especially when chewing
- sores or pain on the insides of your checks
- discomfort or cuts on your tongue (from running it across the new braces)
Typically, this pain can be managed with over-the-counter pain relievers, like acetaminophen (Tylenol). Stick to soft, no-chew foods for the first week, such as soup, yogurt, and ice cream. Cold drinks and smoothies can also sooth inflamed gums.
Most people get used to their braces in about a month. After six months, you may not even notice them. Although, it is normal to experience some soreness from time to time.
When they’re tightened
Braces fix alignment problems by putting constant pressure on your teeth. Over time, your teeth move into a straighter position. How much time this takes depends on a few factors, including what type of appliance you’re using and what problems your orthodontist is trying to fix. Most people wear braces for about two years.
When you have braces, you need to visit your orthodontist every few weeks for adjustments. At these appointments, your orthodontist evaluates your teeth and checks on the amount of pressure the braces are producing. As your teeth move and the tension decreases, the braces lose effectiveness. At each visit, your orthodontist tightens the wires, springs, or elastic bands to increase the tension.
Getting your braces tightened can cause pain and soreness for a few days. The discomfort shouldn’t be as bad as when you first got your braces on. After a few days, you will get used to the increased pressure on your teeth. An over-the-counter pain reliever should be enough to control the pain.
When they’re removed
You will be so happy to see your new straight teeth that you probably won’t be too worried about pain. All dental procedures are a little uncomfortable, but removing your braces shouldn’t be painful.
After your braces come off, your teeth will be thoroughly cleaned. Your orthodontist might want to take another set of X-rays and impressions to check how well your braces worked. If you have wisdom teeth coming in, your orthodontist may recommend getting them removed. This will prevent your newly straightened teeth from being pushed out of alignment.
Getting your braces off is certainly a relief, but it doesn’t mean that your orthodontic treatment is finished. Your orthodontist will fit you for a retainer. This is a custom-made device, usually made of rubber or plastic, that prevents your teeth from moving back to their original positions. Your retainer may have metal wires that hold your teeth in alignment while the bones and gums heal. You might need to wear your retainer every day. Or you might need it only at night. Either way, it shouldn’t cause any pain.
Foods to avoid:
- hard candy
- sticky candy
Dealing with braces pain
Most braces pain can be treated with over-the-counter medications. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is a common choice. Some people use NSAIDs like ibuprofen (Advil) or naproxen (Aleve), which can also help reduce inflammation in your gums.
Your orthodontist may give you soft wax that you can use whenever your braces are rubbing against the inside of your mouth. The wax provides a protective barrier that reduces the likelihood of cuts or sores. If you have a wire or bracket out of place that is causing you pain, make an appointment with your orthodontist right away.
There are a few foods that you should avoid when you have braces. Foods like popcorn, hard candy, sticky candy, and gum can all damage braces. If you want to get creative with braces-safe foods, you can try The Braces Cookbook.
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