Getting braces for the first time is like learning to ride a bicycle. You know that you want to be able to ride a bike, but it’s hard to get started because you’re scared of getting hurt. Fortunately, once you get started, you realize two things: getting hurt is unlikely, and if you do, the outcome will never be something that can’t be fixed. It’s the same with braces! Many people want the beautiful and functional smile that orthodontic treatment can provide but are scared to get braces because they are anxious about pain. At Johnson Family Orthodontics, we don’t want the fear of the unknown or potential pain to stop anyone from getting the care they need. That is why we want to directly address the question, “Do braces hurt?”
How do braces work?
First, let’s talk about what braces do.
Fixed braces are appliances Dr. Johnson glues to your teeth, meaning you cannot remove them! While the required diet and oral hygiene changes can initially seem daunting, we promise they are only temporary. Our fixed metal and ceramic braces consist of brackets, wires, and (sometimes) ligatures. Teeth movement is created by adjusting the wire.
Our Invisalign removable braces can and should be removed by the patient whenever you eat, drink, and perform oral hygiene and tray cleanings. No diet or oral hygiene modifications are needed! Because the custom-made trays are nonadjustable, teeth move by wearing a series of trays, each slightly different than the last.
Well? Do they hurt?
The answer is both yes and no. And before you roll your eyes or call someone to complain about our unhelpful response, let us explain!
When your braces are first applied or whenever your braces are adjusted (wire tightenings or wearing a new clear aligner), you will likely feel discomfort as your mouth adjusts. The friction against your cheek might feel weird in the beginning, but you’ll quickly get used to it. Your teeth and gums will also be sore because they are starting the movement process. All this is entirely normal—we are moving your teeth, after all!
Overall, however, your braces should not cause you any eye-watering pain. Unless you have suffered from facial trauma or injury, your braces broke, or your clear aligners are deformed or ill-fitting, there should not be any extreme sensations. If you are feeling abnormal pain and there is no apparent cause, contact Johnson Family Orthodontics immediately so we can schedule an appointment and get you back on track!
Can you soothe the unpleasant feeling?
If you have suffered a facial injury that has resulted in trauma, call us or your primary dentist immediately so we can assess and minimize the damage.
Most of the time, broken or uncomfortable braces are not an emergency, and there are steps you can take at home to feel better while you wait for your appointment. Some of the following can even prevent most incidents too!
- We beg you to wear a mouthguard. — A mouthguard can prevent damage to your teeth and braces that can be very painful, time-consuming to repair, or even permanently alter your smile. Ask Dr. Johnson which mouthguard is best for you.
- Orthodontic wax is like an iPhone case. — Sure, you might be fine without it, but having one prevents unnecessary inconveniences. Orthodontic wax creates a barrier to protect your cheek and lip from standard friction during the adjustment period. Also, it covers the mouth from poking wires or clear aligners and loose brackets.
- Don’t have wax? Try Orajel. — Orajel numbs the area of irritation and helps you feel more comfortable, but it won’t prevent additional issues from arising. If you use a different numbing product, ensure it is safe for the mouth before use.
- Ice, Ice, Baby. — Ice packs can reduce swelling and inflammation and numb the area.
- Gargle warm salt water. — Maybe not the best tasting choice, but it is an easy and natural way to remove bacteria and soothe discomfort.
- Eat soft food. — Whether you are adjusting or your braces have broken, eating soft food is a great way to avoid further damage and unnecessary distress.
Brace yourself with Johnson Family Orthodontics!
Still have more questions? Johnson Family Orthodontics is like an encyclopedia of orthodontic knowledge. Call our Salem office to speak to a helpful team member and get all the answers you need.
Once you’re ready to start, schedule your free consultation to determine which treatment you qualify for. With metal braces, clear braces, and Invisalign, we have options for the whole family!