If you’re thinking about getting braces, you may be wondering if they’ll hurt. The short answer: while they can cause some discomfort, wearing braces is not usually painful.
Getting Your Braces Put On
When you first get your braces, the process won’t hurt other than some slight feelings of discomfort and pressure. It takes about one to two hours to position your braces. Here’s what happens:
- Bands are placed on your back molars
- A special glue is placed on your teeth
- Brackets are glued on to your teeth
- Brackets are connected with wires
- Braces are secured with elastic bands
Initial Tooth Discomfort
You may feel some soreness and slight pain in your teeth and gums for a week or so while you get used to your new braces. During that time you may want to eat soft food such as yogurt, soup, mashed potatoes, soft fruits and smoothies.
Usually you can manage the discomfort fairly easily with over-the-counter pain relief products, and by eating soft foods. Cold foods and drinks can also help, soothing your teeth and gums.
Within a month, most people will get used to their braces, and soon, you’ll hardly even notice them. Still, there may be some soreness from time to time, as the pressure of the braces pulls your teeth into alignment.
Initially, your gums may feel sore from the metal until they adjust to the placement of the braces.
Tightening of Braces
Braces do need to be tightened, often every month or so. When your orthodontist tightens your braces, the current wires may be replaced, springs tightened, and bands tightened to put additional pressure on your teeth.
You may experience discomfort during this process, not dissimilar to what you felt when you first got your braces.
Removing Your Braces
Most patients will wear braces for 1 to 3 years. Again, some discomfort may be experienced when your braces are removed, but the process is not painful.
Alternatives to Standard Braces
For many patients, rather than traditional metal braces, an alternative method of teeth straightening can be employed. Invisalign, which uses a series of clear plastic aligner trays rather than metal braces, is often a good choice for orthodontic treatment to correctly align your teeth in their most optimal position.
With Invisalign, these aligners position your teeth incrementally over time, exerting a less uncomfortable pressure on your teeth than metal braces. They’re shaped from computer-generated images and impressions that your dentist takes.
The process is definitely more comfortable than standard braces, although the Invisalign system isn’t always appropriate for all patients. Aligners are changed every few weeks, so that each time you place a new aligner in your mouth, your teeth are just a little bit straighter. Every tray that follows is shaped to move your teeth gradually, so they’re slowly straighter and straighter as a result. The gentle pressure of the aligners moves your teeth into position until they match up with each aligner over time.
Ready to Learn More about Braces and Aligners?
No matter what straightening method is best for you and your teeth, we’re here to help you achieve the smile you want to share with the world. Reach out to us today with any questions or to schedule a consultation!