Do Braces Hurt?
One of the most common questions that gets asked at orthodontic clinics is ‘how long do I need braces?’ and ‘do braces hurt?’ Up until only a decade ago, traditional braces was the only way to straighten someone’s teeth or fix a misaligned bite. While there are new treatment options available today such as Invisalign and lingual braces, shifting a patient’s teeth into a new position will require some pain and discomfort regardless of the technique.
Traditional braces is still one of the most popular treatment options today simply due to its effectiveness. If you have a severe orthodontic condition and you want the fastest possible treatment, then braces is the best option for you. If you’re considering getting braces to enhance your smile and improve your health, then today’s article will put your mind at ease by discussing the amount of pain involved withthe bracesprocess.
When braces are initially fixed to your teeth
When your orthodontist initially fixes braces to your teeth, it will take between one and two hours and there is very little pain involved. To begin with, your orthodontist will apply dental cement which enables the brackets to be glued to your teeth. While this process certainly doesn’t hurt, it doesn’t taste good whatsoever! Your orthodontist will then connect your brackets to the archwire and secure everything in place with elastic bands.
Once you get home, you will begin to feel some pain and discomfort in your teeth and gums. This means that your teeth are already beginning to move and it will take between five to seven days before you get used to the feeling of new braces and the pain completely subsides. During this adjustment phase, you may experience the following:
- Soreness and discomfort around your teeth and gums (particularly when eating)
- Sensitivity or sores on the insides of your cheeks
- Pain or cuts on your tongue (from your tongue rubbing against your brackets)
The best way to manage any pain and sensitivity during this adjustment phase is with over-the-counter pain medication and rinsing your mouth with warm salty water. You’ll also need to eat soft foods such as yoghurt, soup, mashed potatoes, smoothies, and ice-cream (which is ideal to relieve inflamed gums). After roughly one week, your mouth will have adjusted to your new braces and you probably won’t even notice them!
When braces are tightened
Teeth are moved into the desired position through the bone remodelling process whereby force is applied to teeth which triggers a cellular response. After your braces have been initially put on, your teeth will move as much as they can within the current configuration. To continue the teeth movement process, your braces will need to be tightened every month or so and this process is repeated until your teeth are straight and in the ideal position. These follow up appointments where your braces are tightened are called ‘adjustments’.
At each adjustment appointment, your orthodontist will examine your teeth to assess your progress and compare this to the amount of pressure being applied within the current configuration. Generally, more tension will be applied by tightening the wires, springs, or elastic bands to ensure your teeth continue moving in the right direction. In most cases, having your braces tightened will cause you some discomfort for a day or two, but nowhere near as bad as when your braces were initially fixed to your teeth! Again, some over-the-counter pain medication will help soothe any pain or sensitivity.
When braces are removed
When your teeth are finally straight, your orthodontist will remove the brackets and wires from your teeth. This process may be a little uncomfortable but there is no pain involved. In fact, most patients are so overwhelmed with excitement that they rarely even notice the discomfort! Your teeth will be thoroughly cleaned and your orthodontist will take an X-ray and impressions to complete the treatment process.
To ensure your teeth don’t relapse into their old position, you’ll need to wear a retainer for a set period of time outlined by your orthodontist. Each retainer is made from rubber or plastic and resembles a very thin mouthguard. The amount of time and frequency of wearing your retainer is dependent on a couple of factors and varies with each patient, however it will be reduced over time. Most patients need to wear their retainer every night for a couple of years, but don’t worry, it isn’t painful at all!
While you may experience some pain and discomfort throughout the braces process, there’s truly nothing sweeter than having straight teeth, a healthy mouth, and a beautiful smile! If you’d like any more information braces or you’re interested in receiving orthodontic treatment, reach out to the professionals at Clear Smiles Orthodontics by phoning their friendly team on 07 5593 3733.