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Oral Health Buzz

Do Braces Hurt?

Rachael Moshman

Are you feeling anxious about getting braces? You may be wondering, "Do braces hurt?" Well, you can rest easy because discomfort experienced from braces is manageable. Here's what you can expect throughout the process:

Placement of Braces

There should be minimal pain when braces are applied to the teeth. It may take you longer to eat meals the day you have them applied to your teeth, as you'll need to adjust to chewing. It's best to stick with softer foods for the first few days, such as yogurt, soup, and macaroni and cheese. Orthodontist Dr. Albert J. Fontaine jokes that he gives patients a prescription for ice cream after having braces applied.

First Three Days After Application of Braces

You may feel some discomfort as your teeth begin to realign. You'll still be getting used to the pressure of the wires and elastic ligatures. Over-the-counter pain medication will provide relief from the discomfort, says Dr. Fontaine. You can also apply wax to the braces to keep them from rubbing against the inside of your mouth. According to Dr. Gerri Tsibel, your orthodontist should provide you with instructions on how to use the wax at your application appointment. Dr. Tsibel estimates the discomfort is typically gone by day five in most patients.

Orthodontic Appointments

You may feel the same discomfort for a few days after orthodontist appointments. Braces work by slowly moving your teeth into proper alignment. Adjustments to the braces are needed so they continue to properly move the teeth. The orthodontist will periodically need to adjust the archwires and change the elastic ligatures.

Tips for Dealing With Discomfort

Most people find the discomfort associated with braces to be inconvenient, but manageable. When it does occur, it is only for a few days following application or adjustment. Dr. Tsibel suggests over-the-counter medications, such as acetaminophin and ibuprofen, for relieving mouth soreness and headaches associated with getting used to braces. Dr. Tsibel also suggests rinsing with salt water to help alleviate discomfort and swelling.

It's normal to feel anxious about braces. Wondering, "Do braces hurt?" is something you can stop asking yourself, though. Your orthodontist will offer tools and suggestions for easing any pain or discomfort in the days following having braces installed or adjusted.

Learn more about braces in the Colgate Oral Care resources.

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