Braces are a common orthodontic treatment that can help straighten teeth, fix overbites or underbites, close gaps between teeth, and otherwise improve the look of a smile. They do so by applying pressure to the teeth and jaw bones, which can cause some discomfort. Many people have questions about how much pain or soreness can be expected from having braces. This article will answer some of these questions, but keep in mind that every person’s pain tolerance is different, and what may be a 1 for one person may be a 5 or higher for another.
Typically, braces will cause some level of soreness and tenderness for the first few days after being fitted or adjusted. This is normal and can be alleviated by eating softer foods, taking over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen, using orthodontic wax to cover any sharp or irritating edges, and rinsing with warm saltwater.
Some people can get sores or ulcers in the mouth from rubbing against the inside of the lips and cheek. This is more likely to occur with bottom braces, since the tongue often pokes or prods these areas while talking and chewing. These sores will usually heal on their own, but over-the-counter oral numbing gel can help reduce the discomfort during this time.
It is also normal to have some discomfort while your braces are being tightened. This is because the wires and brackets are being forced into new positions to move the teeth or correct an alignment issue. Tightening appointments generally take place every four to six weeks, and the discomfort will last for a day or two.