Are braces painful?

One of the most common questions that we are asked at the practice is whether braces are painful. In short, there may be some discomfort at the beginning of treatment. When the braces are fitted, there is no pain but it just feels very strange. Over the following 24 hours, patients describe a dull ache developing, or slight rubbing of the tongue or cheeks, or teeth feeling a little tight. The good news is that by the end of the first few days, this starts to calm down and you should start to get used to your braces or aligner. Getting used to the brace once it has been fitted is the most difficult bit, the adjustments that come afterwards are usually much easier.

Many patients say that they hardly notice that their braces are there at all after they have had them a little while. There are a few things that you can do to help with any aches and pains that arise from your initial fitting (and in the case of fixed braces) after each tightening appointment.

Usually we would recommend an over-the-counter painkiller such as Paracetamol or Ibuprofen. Both are recommended for the treatment of headaches or toothaches and can bring down a temperature. Paracetamol can be suitable for all ages and in small doses to the very young. Ibuprofen can take down swelling but is not recommended to those who are pregnant or with particular conditions such as diabetes. It is always best to consult your GP or pharmacist if you are unsure which pain killer is best for you or your child. Ibuprofen can make asthma worse if you suffer from asthma.
After your six-week tightening appointment or new aligner fitting, your teeth may feel quite tight again. Some patients say that they experience a dull ache again for a short time after their appointment. If you don’t want to take a painkiller, we would recommend drinking a glass of iced water or eating some soft cool ice cream to help settle any discomfort.
Eat soft foods. We recommend that patients with fixed braces eat soft food such as soup, pasta, stews, banana and omelette. Try to avoid crusty bread and nuts. Toffee, hard sweets and chocolate will break the brace and can damage your teeth.
The last tip is quite simple; give yourself some time to get used to the brace. If you can, take it easy on the first day in order to get used to your new braces once they have been fitted.

Overall, having braces is not a painful experience and any discomfort suffered in the few days will soon wane. After a few weeks with your brace, it feels so much better. If you have any worries, our team is always here to answer any questions you may have. Many of us have also had braces ourselves and are happy to talk about our own experiences if this is of help.

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