Do Braces Hurt?

One of the most commonly asked questions about dental braces is whether there is any pain or discomfort.

The honest answer is braces do not hurt at all when they are applied to the teeth. In most cases, the only discomfort experiences is mild soreness after the orthodontic wire is engaged into the brackets, which could last for a few days.

What to expect when getting braces

  • Placement day – The placement of braces will not be painful at all. It may take longer to eat meals, but this is largely because it takes 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.
  • 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 which 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 and eating should be much easier.
  • Regular appointments – Regular 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.
  • 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.