Do Braces Hurt?

One of the most commonly asked questions about dental braces is whether placing them causes any pain or discomfort.  The honest answer is that braces do not hurt at all when they are applied to the teeth, so there is no reason to be anxious.  In most cases, there may be mild soreness or discomfort after the orthodontic wire is engaged into the brackets, which may last for a few days.

There are two common types of fixed dental braces used to realign the teeth: Ceramic fixed braces and metal fixed braces.  Both types of fixed appliances include brackets which are affixed to each individual tooth, and an archwire the orthodontist fits into the bracket slot to gently move the teeth into proper alignment.  Elastic or wire ties will be applied to hold the wire in place.  Some orthodontists may use self-ligating brackets which do not require a rubber or wire tie to secure the wire.

Fixed dental braces are used to treat a wide variety of malocclusions, including overbite, underbite, crossbite and overcrowding.  If the orthodontist has determined that the malocclusion has been caused by overcrowding, it is possible that teeth may need to be extracted to increase the amount of available space to properly align the teeth.

What to expect when getting braces

Here is an overview of what you can expect when getting braces:

  • Placement day – The placement of braces will not be painful in the slightest.  It may take longer to eat meals, but this is largely because it takes some time to adjust to wearing the braces.  In some cases, the teeth may feel more sensitive than usual.  Hard, difficult to chew foods should be avoided in favor of a softer, more liquid-based diet for the first few days after placement of braces.

  • Two days after placement – The first several days after placement of braces can be slightly uncomfortable.  This is because the teeth are beginning the realignment process and are not used to the pressure of the archwire and orthodontic elastic bands.  The orthodontist will provide relief wax to apply over the braces as necessary.  Wax helps provide a smooth surface and alleviates irritation on the inner cheeks and lips.  Additionally, over-the-counter pain medication (e.g., Motrin® and Advil®) may be taken as directed to relieve mild soreness.

  • Five days after placement – After five days, any initial discomfort associated with the braces should be completely gone.  The teeth will have gradually acclimated to the braces, and eating should be much easier.  Certain hard foods may still pose a challenge to the wearer, but normal eating may be resumed at this point.

  • Orthodontic appointments – Regular orthodontic appointments are necessary to allow the orthodontist to change the archwire, change the rubber or metal ties, and make adjustments to the braces.  Fixed braces work by gradually moving the teeth into a new and proper alignment, so gentle pressure needs to be applied constantly.  The first several days after an orthodontic adjustment may be slightly uncomfortable, but remember that this discomfort will quickly fade.

  • Dealing with discomfort – Over-the-counter pain medication and orthodontic relief wax will help alleviate any mild soreness and discomfort following placement o braces and orthodontic adjustments.  Another effective remedy is to chew sugar-free gum, as this increases blood flow which helps reduces discomfort and can also encourage the teeth to align quicker.

If you have any questions or concerns about orthodontic treatment, please contact our office.

Testimonials.

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Testimonials

Dr. Leong is an amazing dental professional. I've been seeing her for a number of years and she has always been effective, responsive, personable and caring. She managed my Invisalign process and did a great job from start to finish. She's very gentle so pain is never in the equation during my visits with her. She's also just a wonderful person. I consider her both my dentist and my friend. I would recommend her to anyone who's looking for a skilled dental professional.

Linda S. June 10, '17

I have been consistently happy with how Dr. Leong and her staff have cared for my teeth. AND, I've had A Lot of Work for Dr. Leong to do with my teeth! Shortly after my first cleanings, I had cavities to fill, then a molar cracked and I had to get a crown, which Dr. Leong did really well (better than my last dentist for sure!)... Given these positive experiences, I trusted Dr Leong to create Veneers for 8 of my upper front teeth, to totally transform my smile! I am very happy with my smile, get lots of compliments, and have confidence that the work will last me a long time (probably longer than my teeth would on their own... She not only did expert work to prepare my veneers and my teeth, but she also went above and beyond to make sure everything fit and felt right for me.

Matt Apr. 9, '15

Dr. Leong is hands down the best dentist I've ever had. She is extremely friendly and knowledgeable. She educated me about the right way to take care of my teeth without being pushy or judgmental. She explained everything she was doing very thoroughly so that I understood my own health better. She never made me feel rushed and she was never pushy trying to sell me dental work I didn't need, which has happened to me many times with other dentists. She and her staff were top notch.

My appointment was exactly on time and Anna at the front desk had already gotten my insurance information without me having to fill out anything. Everything was very well organized and we started my exam right away.

S. Wang Jan. 06, 15

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Wanda S. Leong, DDS 291 Geary Street, Suite 300 San Francisco, CA. 94102 Phone: 415-433-6825
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