If you have ever asked anyone who wore braces, “Do braces hurt?” you may get a variety of answers. Some people might say, “Yes, definitely!” While others might say, “They hurt a little bit, but then it goes away.” Depending on each person and your sensitivity levels, you may feel different things. But overall, in our experience, having worked with patients for many years, we find that braces can have short-term discomfort with long-term benefits!
At Westfall Orthodontics, we like to share all of the details with our patients so they can be prepared for their own treatment. So let’s do just that and dive into some of the details of how you can handle wearing braces for yourself!
When to NOT Expect Pain With Braces
All the Time
The first important thing to know about braces is that they should not hurt all the time. There are certain moments or adjustments that will usually cause some tenderness for a day or two, but other than these brief times, you shouldn’t experience non-stop paint throughout your treatment!
Discomfort is a side-effect of your teeth shifting with the braces. This is a good sign, and as long as the pain is short-lived and manageable, then there’s nothing to worry about. If, however, you notice that the pain is getting worse or lasting longer, then it’s definitely time to call our office. Dr. Westfall may have some recommendations or want you to come into the office to get things checked out.
During Application or Removal
Another question we are asked frequently is whether braces should hurt when they are put on or taken off. The answer to this one is easy–no! The application and removal process is really simple and shouldn’t require any pain other than slight pressure as your brackets are popped off! So enjoy that relief, and know that pain won’t be a huge part of your braces experience!
When Your Teeth Might Hurt From Braces
There are a few moments when teeth tend to get sore from wearing braces. Let’s discuss what you should expect then!
When Braces First Go On
The time when you will likely experience the most discomfort is after your braces come on. For the next few days, there is a good chance that your teeth and mouth will feel sore as you adjust to the shifting power of your braces. It’s not ideal, but it’s part of the process that will guarantee your beautiful, straight smile later!
During this sore period, know that a dull ache and pain with chewing are to be expected. You shouldn’t be experiencing non-stop stabbing pains at any time, and if you are, reach out to us! We have a whole list of recommendations that we give our patients to help them cope with normal discomfort during this time, so keep reading to hear our tricks and tips for dealing with sore teeth.
When You Have Adjustments to Your Treatment
You should quickly get used to the rhythm of coming into our office every 6-10 weeks for adjustments. These are the times when Dr. Westfall will observe your progress and perform small adjustments to help your teeth continue shifting as necessary. This might result in some slight discomfort, usually on just a few teeth at a time and not your whole mouth. This discomfort might occur after some visits and not after others, so it really just depends on your unique needs and progress.
When Brackets Rub Against Your Cheeks
Sometimes, especially at the beginning of your treatment, you may notice that your brackets rub against the inside of your cheeks and create some irritation. This is normal and a little annoying, but it will usually go away quickly. We will have tips on how to cope with that below!
How to Handle Discomfort
Wax and Silicone Patches
As we just mentioned, you may experience some slight discomfort from braces rubbing against your cheeks. Dental wax is probably the easiest way to handle this. You just need to pinch off a small piece of wax, roll it between clean fingers to soften and warm it, and then press it against the bracket that is causing pain. This will create a protective barrier between your braces and your skin to help you heal and get used to the braces.
Silicone patches are also available that work in a similar way! Just be sure to remove them before eating or drinking to avoid swallowing.
Eat Soft Foods
It’s important to avoid certain food throughout your orthodontic treatment to keep your teeth and braces safe. This means not eating crunchy, sticky, chewy, or hard foods. During the first few days after getting your braces on and after adjustments, it will be even more important to avoid those foods! You will find that eating soft and supportive foods will be one of the most helpful things during the few days of discomfort.
Think about incorporating soups, smoothies, soft cheeses, eggs, bananas, oatmeal, and other similar foods for those tender days. This will guarantee that you are still nourished properly while avoiding any more pain from chewing. Don’t forget puddings and jello for a treat! Just be sure to brush after to remove the sugar from your teeth!
Dr. Westfall usually recommends that most patients take a dose of over-the-counter pain medication after braces come on to manage the pain. This can certainly help take the edge off and make it easier to adjust to your new life with braces. Be sure to follow his recommendation, and don’t take any extra without consulting the doctor! If you are finding the ache in your mouth too distracting, then consider a warm compress to help soothe those muscles in your jaw!
Find the Supportive Team You Need at Westfall Orthodontics!
At Westfall Orthodontics, we are here for all of our patients in the Abingdon, Richlands, and Bristol areas! We can help make the transition into braces a breeze and recommend other kinds of treatment as needed. Don’t hesitate to give us a call, and we hope to see you in one of our offices soon!