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Do Braces Hurt? What to Expect at Each Stage of the Treatment

Braces are a type of orthodontic treatment that is done by an orthodontist with two purposes: one being correcting crowded teeth as well as crooked ones. Another use would be fixing overbites which could cause other problems such as tooth decay if not fixed early on. Braces come in many different shapes and sizes.

They may be metal or plastic, clear or colored to match your mouth’s natural color. When you get braces for the first time, it can feel weird but soon enough they won’t bother you at all. The American Dental Association says that abnormal bites become apparent between the ages of 6 and 12 years, when children get their adult teeth.

Orthodontic treatment typically begins at around age 8 to 14 because this is usually the time in which adults can start considering it as an option for themselves. However, this is often an option if you have symptoms like chronic headaches or TMJ (temporomandibular joint) problems due to dental malocclusion.

Braces are uncomfortable, but they are not painful. For most people the pain lasts for a few days and then subsides after the first time you get braces tightened. Others may feel discomfort that goes away within hours of getting their teeth straightened.

Will Your Braces Hurt? Here’s What to Expect at Every Stage

Getting Braces

Some people may have to wear spacers, or separators, between their teeth for a week or two before getting braces. These spacers may feel tight and sore because they’re separating the person’s delicate new tooth buds from any potential damage that can be caused by other things in one’s mouth while waiting on braces.

The discomfort should go away after only about 2 days though. Many patients don’t even experience pain during this time period. When an orthodontist first fits the patient with braces, it will not usually cause them immediate pain either.

However if there is some “teething” happening beforehand then brace placement might be more challenging than expected due to tenderness of the gums. The orthodontist will often attach bands around the back molars and this process may be a bit uncomfortable because of the pressure. However, it is not painful.

Wearing Braces

Your teeth are going to be sore as they have never felt this way before. The gentle pressure of the braces will start taking effect, and you will begin experiencing pain or discomfort within a few hours after your first adjustment. Other things patients can expect during the first week include:

  • Sore gums
  • Sores or scrapes on the inside of the cheeks
  • Possible cuts on the tongue (if the person uses it to feel the braces)
  • Teeth may feel sore (especially when eating)

Removing the Braces

Braces typically stay on for about 1 to 3 years depending on the case. Although every individual is different, braces should be removed by a professional orthodontist when it’s time.

When removing them, they will carefully remove brackets and bands from teeth before cleaning up any leftover glue that may have been used in treatment with dental floss or water picks.

Some people may need to wear a removable retainer after having the braces removed. Retainers can either be permanent or temporary. If someone’s teeth are still gradually changing even with their orthodontics treatment complete, they will often continue wearing the retainer during certain periods for safety purposes.

Braces and retainers can make it difficult to brush your teeth adequately. A lack of proper care will lead to cavities, tooth decay or other dental problems that are painful and unpleasant.


Daniel Donn