Have you put off getting braces because you worry they will be painful? Has your child found an excuse to skip every orthodontic appointment you’ve made because they are scared? Unfortunately, it has been widely accepted that braces are incredibly uncomfortable, and that misconception pushes people away from a treatment that can hugely positively impact your mental, physical, and oral well-being.
Dr. Howard is passionate about sharing orthodontic care and his knowledge with dental students, orthodontic residents, and his community! To help combat the idea that braces are miserable so that he and students-in-training can treat everyone who needs orthodontic work, Howard Orthodontics wants to give you a realistic idea of what to expect while wearing braces.
What Braces Do We Offer?
To understand if braces hurt, you must first have a general idea of how braces work.
Fixed braces are appliances Dr. Howard glues to your teeth, meaning they do not come off until he takes them off! You must modify your diet and oral hygiene routine to accommodate fixed braces. While the changes can seem challenging at first, we promise they are only temporary, and following the guidelines can quickly lead you to your new smile and guarantee better results.
Removable braces can and should be removed by the patient whenever you eat, drink, and perform oral hygiene and tray cleanings.
Fixed appliances, like our metal and ceramic braces, consist of brackets, wires, and (sometimes) ligatures. To adjust your teeth, Dr. Howard tightens the wires.
Removable appliances, like our Invisalign program, use custom-made clear aligners (trays made of a comfortable and almost invisible plastic material). Since the trays are nonadjustable, your teeth are moved by switching the trays out every two weeks.
Do They Hurt?
Now that you know how braces work, it’s time to answer the Question Of The Month: Do Braces Hurt?
Whether you get fixed or removable braces, your mouth will likely be uncomfortable initially. Your gums, teeth, cheek, and tongue will need to become accustomed to having a foreign object rubbing against them and being in the way. The friction might cause some irritation, but most patients quickly become used to it and don’t notice it after even a few days.
Without going into too much detail, the pressure these appliances put on your teeth encourages bone remodeling, which is the breaking down and reabsorption of bone. This process allows the teeth to move and helps solidify them in their new homes when treatment ends. Whenever your wires are adjusted, or you put in a new tray, your mouth will probably feel sore for a few days. After your initial installment, this will happen every few weeks to encourage further teeth movement.
Please understand that uncomfortable is not the same as pain! A little discomfort and aches are completely normal throughout treatment. We are moving your teeth, after all! Unless you have suffered from facial trauma or injury, your braces broke, or your clear aligners are deformed or ill-fitting, there should not be any pain. However, if you are feeling abnormal pain and there is no obvious cause, contact Howard Orthodontics immediately so we can schedule an appointment and get you back on track!
How To Manage Orthodontic Discomfort?
Fortunately, there are ways to help if your braces are bothering you at any point.
- Orthodontic Wax — Creates a barrier to protect your cheek and lip from friction caused by poking wires or clear aligners, loose brackets, or just getting used to your appliances
- Orajel — Numbs the area
- Ice Pack — Reduces inflammation and numbs the area
- Warm Salt Water — Removes bacteria and soothes discomfort
- Soft Food — Makes eating more comfortable while your mouth adjusts and protects your fixed appliances from damage throughout treatment
- Orthodontic Mouthguard — Helps make sporting events more comfortable and also reduces the risk of oral trauma or injury
Visit Howard Orthodontics To Begin Your Journey To A Straighter Smile!
Hopefully, you and your family are feeling better about braces and ready to start your orthodontic journey! If you’re not quite ready yet, that’s okay! Howard Orthodontics is here for you either way. We never rush you and are just a phone call or text away for any questions you may have before, during, and after your care.
To get started, schedule a free consultation with our office in Willow Street! Dr. Howard and his fantastic team have the experience, knowledge, and equipment to give you the best customer service and results possible. If knowing more about us would help ease your mind, we also have Instagram and Facebook pages! Give us a like or follow to keep us in your newsfeed and stay up-to-date with our latest happenings and news!