How Long Does Braces Pain Last?

How Long Does Braces Pain Last – Overview

Braces are an excellent option for correcting a crooked smile or misaligned teeth. If you have braces, then you know how much they can hurt!

Brace pain typically diminishes a few days after braces are applied or adjusted, with most individuals adapting within a month.

It’s normal for your gums to feel tender after braces are fitted; however, significant, prolonged swelling is uncommon and should be consulted with an orthodontist immediately.

Here is some information about why you might be hurting and what you can do to relieve the pain.

Why Do Braces Hurt

Your braces may hurt for a few reasons.

1. They Irritate Your Teeth and Gums

The first reason why braces hurt is that they irritate your teeth and gums. This will go on until your mouth gets used to it.

Your teeth are firmly embedded in your gums, so it makes sense that putting brackets and wires on them would irritate those gums a bit.

The irritation won’t last long, but it might make eating or brushing difficult while your mouth adjusts to the new hardware.

2. They are Tight

Braces tightening involves adjusting the tension of the archwire to gradually move the teeth into place, which can cause discomfort.

When your braces are tightened, the orthodontist will remove the elastics that hold the wires in place and then replace those elastics with new ones.

Doing that causes tightening, which usually causes a bit of pain.

3. Your Teeth are Moving

Teeth need to be moved to get the best possible result with braces. Braces are designed to move your teeth, and since teeth are firmly embedded in your gums, you can expect to feel some discomfort as the shift happens.

4. The Wire is Broken

Brace components are designed to be as smooth as possible to minimize irritation, with adjustments made for comfort, but they are not typically polished at subsequent visits.

If you have protruding or sharp edges causing cuts or scrapes in your mouth, see your orthodontist to have those edges smoothed out.

If you’re still having trouble with any part of the braces, ask about it at your next appointment with your orthodontist.

If the wire connecting the brackets breaks or comes loose, it can poke inside your mouth, causing pain or discomfort.

If possible, try moving the wire with a cotton swab or eraser so that it no longer irritates your mouth. If you can’t do this, place wax over the area until you can get it fixed at the orthodontist.

How can you Manage Brace Pain

There are plenty of ways to manage the pain of having braces fitted, whether in your teeth or gums.

Take Over-The-Counter Pain Relievers

Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil) can help ease the pain of sore teeth and gums or jaws.

While aspirin is an anticoagulant and may increase bleeding risk, the primary concern with orthodontic pain is effective pain management; ibuprofen or acetaminophen is preferred for their anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties.

Some braces wearers report that over-the-counter painkillers (like ibuprofen or acetaminophen) help manage their discomfort, especially during the first few days of wearing new or adjusted braces.

Use Wax for Gum Irritation

Your orthodontist will give you wax that you place over the sharp edges of metal braces that irritate your lips or gums.

If you find yourself chewing on the inside of your lip, place a small amount of wax on the brackets where they contact your inner lip so it doesn’t rub against them as much.

Eat Soft Foods

Eating softer foods (like soup and mashed potatoes) while avoiding harder foods (like meat and raw vegetables) will help you avoid getting food stuck in your brace wires and brackets, which can cause discomfort and exacerbate inflammation.

If you eat hard food, try to chew with your back teeth instead of your front teeth to avoid accidentally biting down on your brackets or wires!

Cold Compresses

A cold compress on sore areas may help reduce pain and swelling in the mouth. Cold foods (like yogurt, pudding, or applesauce) can also have a similar effect.

Final Thoughts

Braces hurt because they’re adjusting your teeth. During an appointment, the orthodontist will adjust the wires and bands of your braces.

These adjustments cause pressure on your teeth, which can cause pain for several days afterward.

After a few days, the pressure will subside, but it could continue for a week.

Dental Grants by State

See Also

How Long Do Braces Last?

Does Medicare Cover Braces?

Does Medicaid Cover Braces?

Grants for Braces

Dental Grants for Low Income Adults

Grants for Dental Implants

Current Version
April 20, 2022
Written By
Shubham Grover
March 24, 2024
Updated By
Daniyal Haider, MD

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