It’s one of the most common questions orthodontists hear: “Do braces hurt?” While we wish we could tell patients for sure “no,” we prefer to use the word “uncomfortable” rather than “hurt.” The truth is, as braces shift your teeth in line, they can cause minor soreness for many patients, but this discomfort can easily be managed with the help of a few tips from the pros. Keep reading to learn how braces work, what causes the discomfort, and how to ease or even prevent braces discomfort from the experts at Razi Orthodontics!
How Braces Work
To understand what makes braces uncomfortable at times, it’s important to understand how they work. Whether you have traditional braces, clear braces, or clear aligners, each of these orthodontic tools applies gentle pressure to the teeth. It may be through a system of brackets and connective wires, like with braces. Or, it could be with the use of customized clear aligner trays, like with Invisalign.
Either way, this pressure is what makes your teeth move in the right direction, revealing a beautiful smile at the end of treatment. However, this pressure can also affect the blood flow in the gums, causing inflammation that translates into a sore mouth for many patients.
Common Reasons Your Braces Might Cause Discomfort
It’s clear that the main reason for orthodontic discomfort is inflammation due to pressure, but these scenarios are good indicators of when you may experience soreness.
You Just Got Your Braces or Invisalign
Congratulations! You started orthodontic treatment and are on the right track to success. However, this can be an especially sensitive time for your teeth, as they’re not yet used to a mouth full of brackets and wires or Invisalign clear aligners. If you just got your braces or Invisalign, you may feel sore for the next few days to a week as your cheeks, gums, and teeth adjust to the new appliance. The good news is, it won’t last forever!
You Just Had a Check-Up Appointment
If you just visited Dr. Razi for an adjustment appointment, you may feel more discomfort than usual. This is because your orthodontist has activated your braces with different wires that will apply additional pressure to your smile. For the next one to three days, you can expect to feel slight soreness – fortunately, things will return to normal very quickly.
A Bracket or Wire Is Out of Place
Although most orthodontic discomfort is caused by pressure and inflammation, this is not always the case. Sometimes, a bracket may come loose, or a wire begins to dig into your cheeks or gums. When this happens, you might feel extra sore, but using orthodontic wax or carefully cutting the poking wire with fingernail clippers can help. And if you have any questions, you can simply reach out to the Razi Orthodontics team.
How to Ease (Or Prevent) Braces Discomfort
Now that you know the most common reasons patients experience discomfort with braces, here are a few things you can do to feel better.
Using an over-the-counter pain medicine is a great way to relieve discomfort caused by your last orthodontic appointment. Medicines like Tylenol or Ibuprofen can reduce the inflammation in your mouth, helping you to feel more comfortable. Just be sure to ask your parents if it’s okay first!
Eat Soft Foods
One of the best parts about getting new braces or having an adjustment appointment is getting a free pass to eat some of your favorite foods, like ice cream! Sticking to mashed potatoes or warm soup for the next few days can help you feel better faster.
Use Orthodontic Wax
This super helpful tool for orthodontic patients is a great buffer between rough brackets or poking wires and the soft tissues in your mouth. Protect your cheeks and gums by placing a small amount of wax over the bracket or wire in question. A little goes a long way, and you’ll feel so much better!
Avoid the Wrong Foods
When you have braces, it’s your job to avoid the foods that might hurt your appliance, which could then hurt you! Broken brackets and wires are usually caused by patients eating the wrong foods. Stay away from crunchy, sticky, or chewy foods, as these are more likely to break a bracket. Following this tip can help you prevent braces discomfort before it ever happens!
Wear an Orthodontic Mouthguard
If you’re an athlete, getting an orthodontic mouthguard is essential to protecting your teeth. Mouthguards keep your teeth safe from harm during practice or performance. We offer all of our patients a free mouthguard to wear with their braces, so be sure to let us know if you need one!
Find Your Happiest Smile at Razi Orthodontics!
As long as you take care of your braces and follow these helpful tips from the Razi Orthodontics team, you won’t have to worry about uncomfortable braces. In fact, we’re here to help make your straight smile journey as smooth and comfortable as possible! If you’re ready to find your happiest smile, it’s time to schedule your free consultation at our Wheaton office today!