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!
Braces hurt because your teeth have to move from their original position, which involves applying a lot of pressure. It might hurt for a few days, but you will get used to it after a week or so.
It’s also normal for your gums to be swollen, especially after the braces are first fitted. If your gums don’t settle down after a few weeks, ask your orthodontist for advice.
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
Getting your braces tightened has little to do with how tight the braces are on your teeth but rather with how tight they are tied together behind the archwire.
When you get your braces 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
Braces have rough edges that will be polished and smoothed out during subsequent visits to the orthodontist.
If you have protruding or sharp edges causing cuts or scrapes in your mouth, see your orthodontist 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 has broken or come loose, this can poke into the inside of your mouth, causing pain or discomfort.
If possible, try to move the wire with a cotton swab or eraser so that it’s no longer irritating 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 that comes with having braces fitted, whether it’s in your teeth or your gums.
Take Over-The-Counter Pain Relievers
Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil) can help ease the pain of sore teeth and gums or jaws.
You shouldn’t take aspirin because it is an anticoagulant and could worsen bleeding if you have any cuts in your mouth from braces.
Some braces wearers report that over-the-counter painkillers (like ibuprofen or acetaminophen) help manages 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!
Using 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 in reducing pain and swelling.
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 to be put 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.