For most people, pain is the primary fear when they think about getting braces. This is very natural as there is going to be slight pain in your mouth, gums, and teeth for a while since this directly deals with the alignment of your bones. But fear not, for there are ways to alleviate your pain while you have your braces on.
If you’re considering getting braces, then you need to understand all that you’ll encounter when getting them, and after you get them.
Brace Pain Causes
The first time you’ll experience pain is when you get your braces fastened. For this, the orthodontist places braces on your molars. This stage can prick your gums a little as well as your teeth. After the molars, you’ll then get dental cement placed over your teeth to stick the metal braces on, then have them wired together. This procedure is done to create tension amongst the teeth to ensure they get pulled into a proper formation.
The wiring procedure itself is not one that hurts and usually takes between one to two hours to complete. Afterward, you may feel slight pain in your gums and teeth, along with some strain on your mouth. Having to hold your mouth open for up to two hours is definitely a lengthy and exhausting task. The pain in your gums and teeth isn’t severe and be considered more of an annoyance. This is only happening because you now have metal wiring and braces attached to them which is bound to feel unusual.
The first week or so with your new braces is going to be the most irritating. You’ll be enduring a new experience for the first time which is never easy, and your teeth are now adjusting to their new roommates.
The most common irritation you’ll encounter within the first week are soreness along your cheeks and gums while chewing, and cuts along your tongue from rubbing it over the braces. Eventually, you’ll get used to the feeling and the cuts will stop, but it seems routine to at least investigate their feeling.
Occasionally pain will try to strike at you while your teeth are being realigned, but that can easily be managed with pain killers or alternatives provided by your orthodontist.
The next step in the braces operation is tightening them. The way braces work is they pull your teeth together through the tension in the wires. Once they’ve reached a point where the tension has settled, the braces are then useless. That’s why you must routinely have your braces tightened in order for them to continuously work.
When tightening, you’ll feel a strain on your teeth and it can pinch a little. This is much easier to get used to than the initial pain, but it will last a few days. Any painkiller can kill this tension for you to make it easier to bear through.
Finally, there’s the time when the braces are removed from your teeth. There shouldn’t be any relatively strong pain in this situation, just your teeth saying goodbye to their temporary metallic friends.
The entire process of getting and wearing braces takes about two years. The situation your teeth are in will also determine whether or not you need more time to straighten them.
Afterward, you’ll get a thorough cleaning of your teeth and retainers to keep your teeth in alignment.
Retainers aren’t a source of pain, they only ensure that your teeth don’t return to their original state. In some cases you wear retainers only at night, otherwise, you wear them the whole day until the doctor says you may remove them.
So overall, the procedure of having braces isn’t as painful as it’s made out to be. At most, you’ll be sore and irritated, but not writhing in unbearable pain. If immense amounts of pain do occur, then it’s better to consult your orthodontist to figure out what your issue is.
How Long Will Your Braces Hurt?
Obviously, just like your teeth, your braces will need tending to. Braces are high maintenance items since they’re dealing with your mouth, which is also high maintenance.
If you take care of both your mouth and braces, you shouldn’t encounter much pain besides the common annoyance that occurs to everyone. Otherwise, if there is an unusual level of pain, braces may not be for you.
The first time you get your braces placed in, you should expect the first week or two to be a nuisance. This is everyone’s case. You can feel the new weight on your teeth as well as the metal brushing on the inside of your mouth. This stage just takes some getting used to, then you’ll be fine. If this pain lasts more than two weeks, consult your orthodontist to see if your braces are on too tight.
Another episode of pain can come from you getting your braces tightened, which is not something you can avoid. Tightening your braces will apply an extra amount of pressure and tension on your teeth, and you’ll feel it. For the next few days you’ll feel that tension settle in, which is normal and will make you feel slightly uneasy.
Finally, when you remove your braces, expect no extensive pain, just extensive relief. Your retainers shouldn’t hurt either since they’re nowhere near as extreme as the braces.
This is for the most basic cases though. Some people don’t fit inside this genre of patients and rather come under special cases. There could be an individual tooth that requires extra treatment or you may be focusing on aligning the tops of your teeth rather than the front appearance.
In such cases, there can be additional strain based on your separate situation which can create other types of pain. You may feel pressure on an individual tooth or your teeth will feel as though they are being pushed down and up instead of back and forth.
Luckily, the methods to calm these kinds of pains are the same as those used to calm regular pains with braces. There is no special treatment required for different situations.
Overall, you’re looking at a few days of continuous pain before it settles down again. After the first few runs, you’ll be used to the pain and it won’t bother you as much as it did the first time.
What to Eat After Getting your Braces Tightened?
There are things that you can and cannot eat when you have braces. Firstly, it’s always better to know what you cannot eat so you can work from there to develop a proper balanced diet.
What You Cannot Eat
You cannot eat anything hard in the beginning. Hard food items are going to apply pressure on your teeth and immensely risk damaging your braces. Things such as popcorn, chips, hard candy, and fried foods are completely taken off the list at least for the first few months.
Chewy foods are also not allowed since continuously chewing will definitely disturb your braces. Gum is banned completely for as long as you have your braces. Toffees and chocolates are also terrible ideas. They can get stuck inside of your braces, strain the rubber and wiring.
To make your day better, veggies are also off of the list, at least, as long as they are hard and crunchy.
What You Can Eat
Fortunately, there are fun foods you can eat even with your braces on. You can enjoy softer foods along with all your beverages.
In the start, you can enjoy soups and liquid meals since they are the lightest and least harmful to your braces. After the pain subsides, you can also try adding some softer meals into your diet such as mashed potatoes and yogurt. The first few weeks, stay away from anything relatively crunchy and hard.
After you get your braces tightened, return to completely liquid and soft foods, since you don’t want to accidentally loosen the wires.
When it comes to frozen and cold foods, try limiting consumption. It’s alright in small doses. If you have too much though, you may encounter a brain freeze which will be much more painful with metal wires attached to your teeth.
Cleaning your braces is another situation that you can make easier or harder with what you eat. Softer foods closer to a liquid form will be much simpler to clean out, but solid chunks and particles can get stuck and even ruin your braces.
Cleaning your braces does not extend beyond your previous daily routine though. Brushing your teeth, flossing and rinsing your mouth is all you need to do to keep it fresh. Having braces just means you’ll have to include your wires and rubber bands in the routine of keeping your teeth free of any gunk and food particles. This could take extra time and care.
How to Relieve Pain from Braces?
Sometimes, the pain is inevitable, but the positive side to this is that the pain is never majorly impactful.
Luckily there are ways to minimize your pain, such as simple pain relievers. These can be Tylenol, Aleve, and Advil. They’re minimal pain relievers for general cases, including pain caused by braces.
Orthodontists can also provide you with pain relievers made especially for your teeth. One of these commonly seen is a soft wax to rub over your braces. Sometimes, your braces may brush against your cheeks and internal lips. This wax helps reduce the number of cuts your braces may create when rubbing against the interior of your mouth. It makes the surface of your braces smoother and softer, better for both you and your braces.
You can also purchase prescribed oral analgesics and apply them to your gums and teeth. This can come in either a liquid or gel form. Whichever is easier for you to apply, they both function as a numbing solution to reduce pains in your mouth and along your braces. This definitely won’t taste great, but it’s helpful.
Cold foods that are soft can also help reduce the pain. Ice cream is the best option to help numb the pain and it tastes great. There’s no chewing required and you’ll experience a cool wave of subduing chills. So long as you brush your teeth afterward, there is no pain in treating yourself to something tasty and cool.
If you’re not in the mood for eating anything, then you can simply take an ice pack and keep it over the area where it hurts. This is the easier way of numbing pain and doesn’t involve anything going inside of the mouth. Some areas though, cannot be covered with an ice pack like closer to the back of your mouth and directly in the front. In these scenarios, sucking on an ice cube is an ideal solution, though keep in mind to not bite down on the ice cube. It’s not only a horrible sensation, but it can also damage your teeth and braces.
One final way to cool any burning pains in your mouth is to freeze teething toys and then suck on them over the sore area. Gnawing lightly on the toy can help soothe your teeth and cool the general area. It’s much milder than sucking on an ice cube, and it won’t melt in your hand.
If you feel as though cooling isn’t helping your teeth, you can always try warming the pained area with alternatives. Warm soup or soft foods can help your teeth. You can also take a heating pad and place it over the hurting spot. Please don’t try to heat up teething toys though, they won’t help any pains that way.
If none of these seem to help you and the pain increases, then consult your orthodontist to see what the issue is and if you should continue wearing braces. Otherwise, it’s common for the pain to pass over time. Sometimes it’s better to let your pain subdue itself rather than agitate it further.
Braces aren’t as intimidating of a commitment as you may think. Instead, it’s only a little annoying at some times and in others hard to even notice. Some irritation is inevitable when it comes to reforming your mouth’s frame, so all you need is preparation and some knowledge on the matter then you’re good to go.