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Do Braces Hurt? What to Expect When Getting Braces


March 17th, 2022

Getting braces can be exciting and a little scary. Most people wonder, “Do braces hurt?” Braces do hurt a little, but we give you the resources to easily manage with over-the-counter pain relievers and other tricks. In addition, the braces only hurt at specific times, so you don’t have to worry about being in pain all the time.  

Choosing Braces  

We have four different types of braces to choose from. We offer:  

  • Invisalign
  • Traditional metal braces  
  • Ormco Symetri Clear ceramic braces   
  • Iconix gold braces  

All of these types of braces have their own pros and cons. Here is a description of each.  

Getting Braces On  

According to Healthline, getting the braces doesn’t hurt. The process of getting your braces put on takes less than an hour and may feel weird, but it isn’t painful. On that visit, our orthodontist will:  

  • Use a special solution to clean your teeth   
  • Glue brackets on your teeth  
  • Attach a wire to the brackets and anchor the wire to the bands around your back molars  
  • Attach elastic color bands to the bracket to keep the wire in place  

The solution and glue taste bad but do not hurt. However, most people feel some pain starting two or three hours after leaving the office. Why do braces hurt? Because the wire is pushing the teeth into alignment and it takes your teeth and gums about a week to get used to the sensation. Your gums, lips, and tongue also have to get used to the braces, which takes a few days.  

Getting Wires Tightened  

Every few weeks, you will visit our office to get your braces adjusted. We may:  

  • Tighten the wire by changing the color bands  
  • Place or tighten springs  
  • Replace the wire  

After each visit, you will probably feel 1-3 days of pain as your mouth gets used to the new tension on the braces’ wire. Fortunately, according to Medical News Today, only your teeth and gums will hurt. Your tongue and cheeks will have adjusted to the braces by now.  

Getting Braces Off  

You usually wear braces for 1-3 years. Then, when it is time to take them off, we will remove them and clean the glue off the teeth. This process can be uncomfortable, but you should not experience pain after the braces are gone. 

You will be fitted with a retainer to wear after the braces are removed. Your retainer may be a removable retainer or a permanent one. In either case, we will use iTero Element 2 Technology to create a 3D map of your mouth on which to mold your retainer or other hardware. This is light years better than the old process of putting clunky molds in your mouth to get a map of your mouth. The iTero element 2 technology takes about five minutes to do its work, so it is faster than the old way, too.  

What To Do When Your Braces Hurt  

There are several things you can do when your braces hurt. According to Medical News Today, these include:  

  • Take an over-the-counter pain reliever such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen  (ie Tylenol or Motrin)
  • Eat soft foods that do not require much chewing  
  • Gargle warm salt water (1 teaspoon salt to eight ounces of warm water)  
  • Use topical anesthetics on your gums and cheek  
  • Drink cold beverages  
  • Eat cold foods  
  • Use a cloth-covered ice pack on your cheeks  
  • Use soft wax to cover places that are causing sores  

Contact Us For Help  

Still have questions about braces? Our FAQ page has answers. But, of course, if you don’t see your question here, give us a call, and we will answer it for you.  

Do braces hurt? Yes, but we can walk you through the process of dealing with the temporary pain so that your teeth are aligned and functional for the rest of your life. We will also teach you what to do when your braces hurt so you can get through the pain as quickly as possible. 

Contact Urban Orthodontics to schedule an appointment if you want a perfect smile!

Dr. Chelian is an orthodontist in Union City New Jersey. After completing his orthodontic specialty residency at Roseman University, he practiced orthodontics in Nevada and Arizona before ultimately settling in New Jersey. Dr. Chelian is passionate about all things ortho!

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