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Do Braces Hurt?

By January 15, 2019July 22nd, 2022Orthodontics

Patients often ask do braces hurt? Or, does Invisalign hurt? The good news is, once you get acclimated to your appliance, you won’t experience any Invisalign or braces pain. In fact, you’ll probably forget you’re even in the midst of orthodontic treatment. However, you will have some discomfort when you first get your braces put on or start wearing your aligners, as well as after adjustments or switching to a new Invisalign tray. Thankfully, sensitivity is mild and easily managed. Here is what you need to know about the temporary discomfort, as well as the tips we give our Tulsa and Claremore braces and Invisalign patients to alleviate it.

Why do Braces Hurt?

Actually getting braces put on or taken off doesn’t hurt a bit. However, it’s the few days after your bonding appointment or adjustments that you’ll feel a little aching. Why do braces hurt or why does Invisalign cause sensitivity? Both braces and Invisalign are exerting force in order to move your teeth from their current positions. This pushing and pulling of your teeth and jaw can be uncomfortable initially. However, patients today experience a lot less Invisalign and braces pain thanks to innovations in the design. These days, appliances exert a smaller amount of force over time instead of a lot of pressure in a short period, making them way more comfortable. That said, you’ll have some sensitivity, though it will subside quickly.

As the ligaments that hold the teeth in place loosen from the constant pressure and the tissue and bone breaks down (that sounds scary but bone remodeling is biological process that occurs all of the time without you realizing!), the teeth shift more freely, so you stop feeling sensitivity. How long do braces hurt when you first get them? For most patients, discomfort lasts about four days (though for some it lasts as little as a few hours and for others it can last for about a week) and then goes away. Since we move teeth in stages by tightening braces or moving through the series of aligners, when you have adjustments or start a new Invisalign tray, the pressure increases and you will feel a similar sensitivity to what you felt in the beginning of your treatment. However, it’s even more mild than that first day braces pain and generally only lasts for about a day or two.

While Invisalign discomfort is related only to the pressure from the aligners shifting the teeth, braces pain can also be related to the brackets and wires themselves. In general, it takes about a week for the inside of the mouth to get used to the parts of your braces. Once your cheeks, lips and tongue “toughen up,” you don’t really feel your braces at all anymore. The brackets we use at The Brace Place are smoother with more rounded edges, which helps tremendously in this department but you can still get a little irritation. Again, it’s easily managed.

Invisalign and Braces Pain Tips

Here are some simple ways to achieve Invisalign and braces pain relief after starting treatment and following adjustments or new aligners:

  • Opt for soft foods, liquids and cold treats for the first several days after you begin the teeth-straightening process and any time your teeth feel sensitive throughout treatment. Things like soup, yogurt, mashed potatoes and stews require minimal chewing. Cold drinks and treats, such as smoothies, pudding, Jell-O, ice cream, milk shakes and even ice water will also work wonders. Not only is there little to no chewing necessary with these, the cold will numb your mouth.
  • If your teeth feel very tender you can take an over-the-counter pain reliever like acetaminophen (Tylenol). Just be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use. If you really want to head off the first day braces pain, take it right before you come in for your bonding appointment or pick up your Invisalign aligners. It will already be working if and when sensitivity starts to kick in.
  • Use a saltwater rinse to manage any irritation. Dissolve a half of a teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of warm water. Swish the saltwater around in your mouth and then spit it out. You can repeat this as often as you need to.
  • If a bracket or piece of wire is rubbing against your cheek or lips, gently dry off the offending area with a piece of tissue or a clean cotton swab. Then, break off a tiny piece of orthodontic relief wax, warm it up by rolling it into a ball between your fingers and then place it on the bracket or wire to act as a buffer.
  • Never hesitate to give us a call! Mild tenderness, sensitivity and aching are normal and will go away without any intervention. However, you should never feel severe pain during braces or Invisalign treatment. If you do, call our office right away and we’ll get you in for an appointment. Dr. Patel will determine what’s going on and help you experience relief.

If you’re ready to kick off your smile journey or you want to learn more about our Tulsa and Claremore braces and Invisalign options, book a free consultation at The Brace Place today. We’ll help you decide on the best treatment option for your needs and answer all of your questions (including do braces hurt?)!