How Long Do Braces Hurt?

Getting braces for teeth alignment can be both exciting and a little stressful while your mouth adjusts to the metal and wires. But we’re sure you’ll be very happy with the resulting beautiful smile, straighter teeth and healthier gums despite the possibility of some mild discomfort or pain. It’s completely normal to feel some initial pain in the cheeks, gums, teeth and jaw after getting braces.

It’s important to note that when the braces are applied to your teeth this process does not hurt at all, so beginning treatment to improve your smile should not cause you any pain or stress. But as mentioned, some possible mild discomfort may be felt in the hours or days after the braces are applied, due to the pressure of the appliance.

Why Your Braces Might Hurt at First

Orthodontic treatment using traditional braces involves a gradual process, using the innate ability of human teeth to move under steady pressure until they slowly straighten and align. The discomfort or pain of wearing braces for healthier teeth and gums doesn’t usually last long. 

In a typical case, the pain or discomfort will ease in around four days, and braces pain will rarely last any longer than one week or so. Your mouth and jaw muscles need time to become accustomed to a slightly new positioning, and your teeth and gums will feel added pressure on them which may cause some pain or discomfort. After your braces are first applied it’s common to have some jaw, cheek, teeth and gum discomfort or pain for a week which can be addressed using over-the-counter medications or orthodontic wax.

What Happens When Braces Hurt

Orthodontic treatment to improve oral health includes tightening your braces every four to eight weeks to make sure there is continual, gradual pressure applied to move your teeth and jaw into alignment. Having your braces tightened shouldn’t worsen your pain or discomfort, but in rare cases, some discomfort may arise. If you have braces and are worried about any pain, you can always ask your orthodontist at The Orthodontic Place if your braces pain is normal.

Braces Should Stop Hurting in a Short Time

Some patients experience discomfort or pain after having their braces installed but it should stop hurting in a short time. If you are distressed or worried about the pain, there are things you can do to ease it, including using over-the-counter pain relievers to reduce inflammation. 

To alleviate pain, your orthodontist may suggest orthodontic wax which is specially designed to relieve discomfort or pain from wearing braces. Braces wax is pressed onto your braces using your clean finger or a cotton swab to form a barrier between the braces and wires in your mouth. The wax protects your lips and cheeks (on the inside of your mouth) from irritation from a bracket, hook or wire.

Be sure to see your orthodontist regularly to adjust your braces and consult your GP for stronger pain relief if necessary.

Cleaning Your Teeth When You Wear Braces

Mostly a patient’s body adjusts to the constant pressure on their gums and teeth due to wearing braces, but braces may hurt for a number of other reasons. These include the kinds of food you eat, what you drink and how you clean your teeth. It’s essential to clean the top area of your teeth between your gums and brackets.

Tips For Brushing Your Teeth

  • Brush after every meal using a soft toothbrush. 
  • Brush your teeth for two minutes but don’t use too much toothpaste.
  • Use a Waterpik or floss threader.
  • At night, use mouthwash.

Tips For Easing Braces Pain

Getting braces may cause mild to moderate discomfort, braces pain or sore teeth for about a week due to the constant pressure.  If your mouth is sore afterwards, there are other things to consider apart from using pain relief either with doctor-prescribed pharmacological interventions, over-the-counter pain medications, or orthodontic wax. 

If your braces hurt, try warm salt water rinses to reduce pain and inflammation and help blood flow. To help stop braces pain while your mouth adjusts to your new braces in the first week or after your orthodontist has made an adjustment that applies additional pressure on your gums, consider this advice to help stop braces pain:

  • Use a pain reliever
  • Use an ice pack
  • Have your braces adjusted regularly
  • Avoid sticky and chewy foods 
  • Eat soft foods
  • Mashed potatoes are a good example of soft foods
  • Keep your regular orthodontic visits
  • Use dental wax

If you need more information on the topic, “how long do braces hurt?” and you’d prefer to talk to one of our expert orthodontists at The Orthodontic Place in Kent Town or Hindmarsh, contact us here, call 08 8362 6000 or email [email protected].