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Do Braces Hurt?

One of the most commonly asked questions about dental braces is whether placing them causes any pain or discomfort.  The honest answer is that braces do not hurt at all when they are applied to the teeth, so there is no reason to be anxious.  In most cases, there may be mild soreness or discomfort after the orthodontic wire is engaged into the brackets, which may last for a few days.

There are two common types of fixed dental braces used to realign the teeth: Ceramic fixed braces and metal fixed braces.  Both types of fixed appliances include brackets which are affixed to each individual tooth, and an archwire the orthodontist fits into the bracket slot to gently move the teeth into proper alignment.  Elastic or wire ties will be applied to hold the wire in place.  Some orthodontists may use self-ligating brackets which do not require a rubber or wire tie to secure the wire.

Fixed dental braces are used to treat a wide variety of malocclusions, including overbite, underbite, crossbite and overcrowding.  If the orthodontist has determined that the malocclusion has been caused by overcrowding, it is possible that teeth may need to be extracted to increase the amount of available space to properly align the teeth.

What to expect when getting braces

Here is an overview of what you can expect when getting braces:

  • Placement day – The placement of braces will not be painful in the slightest.  It may take longer to eat meals, but this is largely because it takes some time to adjust to wearing the braces.  In some cases, the teeth may feel more sensitive than usual.  Hard, difficult to chew foods should be avoided in favor of a softer, more liquid-based diet for the first few days after placement of braces.

  • Two days after placement – The first several days after placement of braces can be slightly uncomfortable.  This is because the teeth are beginning the realignment process and are not used to the pressure of the archwire and orthodontic elastic bands.  The orthodontist will provide relief wax to apply over the braces as necessary.  Wax helps provide a smooth surface and alleviates irritation on the inner cheeks and lips.  Additionally, over-the-counter pain medication (e.g., Motrin® and Advil®) may be taken as directed to relieve mild soreness.

  • Five days after placement – After five days, any initial discomfort associated with the braces should be completely gone.  The teeth will have gradually acclimated to the braces, and eating should be much easier.  Certain hard foods may still pose a challenge to the wearer, but normal eating may be resumed at this point.

  • Orthodontic appointments – Regular orthodontic appointments are necessary to allow the orthodontist to change the archwire, change the rubber or metal ties, and make adjustments to the braces.  Fixed braces work by gradually moving the teeth into a new and proper alignment, so gentle pressure needs to be applied constantly.  The first several days after an orthodontic adjustment may be slightly uncomfortable, but remember that this discomfort will quickly fade.

  • Dealing with discomfort – Over-the-counter pain medication and orthodontic relief wax will help alleviate any mild soreness and discomfort following placement o braces and orthodontic adjustments.  Another effective remedy is to chew sugar-free gum, as this increases blood flow which helps reduces discomfort and can also encourage the teeth to align quicker.

If you have any questions or concerns about orthodontic treatment, please contact our office.

Testimonials

Dr. Hernandez is, hands down, the nicest orthodontist I've ever dealt with. In fact, I don't even want to limit it to the dental profession. She is the nicest doctor I've ever met. Her smile is contagious. And that's fitting, considering she's fitting braces on people to make their smiles better.
There is not a more professional person in the field, and I'm happy to have met her.
For anyone considering where to go, this is the place. It's not only worth making the trip if you live in Escondido or the surrounding areas, but...even if you lived 100 miles away, you'd be wise to make the trip there.

Joshua B.

Dr Hernandez is the absolute best!! I cant say enough good things about her. She is a perfectionist and she is very accommodating to say the least. Even if I call the office after hours she is sure to contact me right away on her cell. She is one in a million and I highly reccommend her!!!

A. Marie D.

Dr. Hernandez is the best! Everyone in the office is fantastic! Thank you for everything!

Rachel G.

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