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.

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Testimonials


Judy A.
★★★★★ a month ago
Very impressed. Dr. Echols conducted much of the cleaning himself and thoroughly examined my teeth and gums. Staff members were friendly and professional. I'm glad I chose this practice.


Hank G.
★★★★★ 6 months ago
Swan Dental is a very friendly yet professional Dental Office with a great atmosphere, friendly staff and Doctor. This was my first visit and was called in exactly at my appointed time; I'm am very pleased so far. I'm happy I tried them. BTW, the prices they charged were a little lower than those of my previous dentist.
Update - some months later, went in for 2 fillings. Dr Echols and his assistant had them both done in about 20 minutes, and no pain. Simply a great dental office!


Bill L.
1 review
★★★★★ 8 months ago
I live in North Carolina and was in Tucson helping our daughter move. A poor choice in candy selection resulted the crown on a lower molar "popping off". I called several dentists on a Monday morning and one of the dentist's receptionist referred me to Swan Dental - her personal dentist. The folks at Swan were incredible. They were efficient, kind, friendly, professional ... the superlatives just keep coming. I was thrilled to be seen the same morning I called and the dentist cemented the crown expeditiously. The receptionist, assistant, and dentist were all extraordinary. I wish the dental professionals in my home town were as focused on providing such an exceptionally positive experience. Thanks!

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