When you make the decision to get braces, it’s only natural to have a few — or many! — questions. Aside from what they can and cannot eat, one of the first things our Greer and Simpsonville orthodontic patients want to know is, “Do braces hurt?” First things first, we want to reassure you that braces should never be painful. We also want to be real with you, and braces can cause some discomfort in the beginning as they begin to shift your teeth into their new positions. It’s not the most fun part of orthodontic treatment, but it’s simply one step on the journey towards your perfect smile!
If you’re worried about braces hurting, Dr. Buddy and his team want to set your mind at ease. Here, Davis Orthodontics is breaking down what to expect from braces treatment, why you might have discomfort, and how to alleviate aching teeth, gums and jaw if you do experience any symptoms. Read on.
How Do Braces Work?
Let’s start with the basics and take a look at how braces work. After all, if you’re going to undergo orthodontic treatment, you should know exactly what you’re getting into! Braces are a fixed orthodontic appliance that’s bonded directly to your teeth. Using a system of brackets and wires, braces gently and steadily guide your teeth into an ideal position and align your bite.
The brackets are the part of braces that are bonded to your teeth and the wires run through them, serving as a track to guide your smile into place. Some types of braces also include elastics or metal ties (known as ligatures) to hold everything in place. However, if you wear self-ligating braces, there are no ligatures. Instead, the brackets have little doors that secure the archwire. Nowadays, there are more braces options than ever, including ceramic braces, clear braces and lingual braces, all designed with aesthetics in mind.
What to Expect When Getting Braces
Now, let’s get into the nitty gritty of what it’s like to get braces. The good news is that getting braces put on does not hurt one bit! Based on your customized treatment plan, Dr. Buddy will bond your brackets to your teeth using a special glue and then run the wire through to create your archwire. It’s a quick, painless procedure that only takes an hour or so. During treatment, you’ll visit us every four to six weeks for adjustments.
While the initial braces process doesn’t hurt, there can be mild discomfort for a few days afterwards as your teeth adjust to your new hardware. You may also experience the same sensation after each time you get your braces adjusted. Remember, your teeth go through a lot during orthodontic treatment, so some mild soreness is completely normal. That said, extreme pain is definitely not part of the deal. If you’re experiencing real pain, contact your Simpsonville or Greer orthodontist as soon as possible.
How to Alleviate Braces Pain
Sensitive teeth and irritation are, unfortunately, par for the course with braces. Orthodontic emergencies are not, but they can occasionally happen. If you do experience sensitivity with braces or an orthodontic emergency, there are ways to manage it effectively at home until you can come see us. Here are some common things that may come up and what to do about them:
- Sensitive Teeth: As we’ve said, you will likely experience some discomfort for a few days after getting braces and after adjustments. But we promise it will go away quickly! To ease sensitivity, dissolve one teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of lukewarm water. Swish and gargle the solution in your mouth for a couple of minutes and then spit it out (don’t swallow the saltwater). If the pain doesn’t go away after rinsing, you can also try taking an over-the-counter pain reliever like Advil.
- Irritation: It’s totally normal for your lips, cheeks and tongue to get irritated after getting braces put on. They’ll toughen up in a week or two as they get used to the braces, but try swishing with a saltwater rinse (as described above) in the meantime. We can also give you orthodontic wax to put over the parts of your braces that are causing irritation. Not sure how to use wax for braces? Tell us at your next appointment and we’ll be happy to teach you how to put wax on your braces.
- Broken Bracket: Broken brackets typically occur when a patient does something they’re not supposed to, like eating really hard, sticky or chewy foods, or playing sports without a mouthguard. So to avoid broken brackets, follow your orthodontist’s advice! If a bracket does break, don’t panic. Call us and we’ll let you know whether it needs to be repaired immediately or if it can wait until your next appointment. In most cases, you can simply cover the bracket with orthodontic wax in the meantime.
- Poking Wires: Sometimes, a wire can come loose and start poking the inside of your cheek. If this happens, carefully move it out of the way with a cotton swab, dry the wire with a tissue and cover it with your trusty wax. If it’s a really long piece of wire, which can happen if you break or lose a bracket, use sterilized nail clippers to very gently cut the excess and cover what’s left with wax. Then all us and we’ll schedule you for a repair appointment.
Still not sure what to expect from braces? Worried that braces will hurt? Call Davis Orthodontics and we’ll be happy to answer any questions or book your free consultation today.