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Bone and Dental Glossary Pain Management

Tooth Pain and Braces: Here's Everything You Need to Know

2 years ago

12753  0
Posted on May 24, 2022, 12 p.m.

Whenever a person wants to straighten their teeth or fix an issue that affects their smile, the orthodontist always suggests that they go with braces. Braces have been popular for a while because they apply pressure to your teeth, which helps them align properly. 

This also results in correcting overbite, underbite, and more such issues. However, braces can also sometimes result in tooth pain, especially when you get them tightened.

1. Do braces hurt?

The answer to this question differs for every person because some people don't feel any pain while wearing their braces, whereas others might feel mild discomfort during their treatment.  

Wearing braces

When you first start wearing braces, you will not feel any pain or discomfort in your teeth. It usually takes a few hours before the pressure that's being applied to your teeth starts to take effect, and hence when that happens, you might feel mild discomfort and pain. 

This pain usually lasts for a week, and you can expect the following during that period: 

  •       Pain inside your cheeks
  •       Discomfort on your tongue
  •       Feeling of sore teeth, especially while chewing or eating food
  •       sore gums


Getting your braces tightened

After getting your braces, it becomes important for you to visit your orthodontist every few weeks to get a dental checkup and a few adjustments. During this visit, your orthodontist evaluates the amount of pressure that's being applied to your teeth. 

In most cases, the orthodontist will find that the braces are loosened up, and hence to fix that, they proceed with tightening your braces. Your orthodontist will tighten the springs, wires, or elastic bands to increase the pressure applied to your teeth, which will cause pain and soreness for the first few days. However, the pain you feel during this period is lesser when compared to the pain that you go through when you get braces for the first time, so it's bearable for a lot of people. 

Removing braces

Braces are usually removed when you get perfectly straight teeth. While removing braces can be uncomfortable, it doesn't cause any pain. Your orthodontist performs a teeth cleaning after removing your braces, and then he proceeds with giving you a retainer. A retainer is a custom-made device for your teeth that helps to hold them in position once your braces come off. Wearing a retainer doesn't cause you any pain. 

2. Dealing with braces pain

Many people think that wearing braces is painful; however, you don't feel any pain or discomfort when you get used to wearing them. People usually feel pain when their orthodontist tightens their braces or puts them on, but that shouldn't stop you from getting braces or fixing your teeth. There are multiple ways to get pain relief from your braces, and they are listed below: 

Good dental hygiene

Dental Hygiene is one of the most critical factors that make a difference in how much pain you go through. The pain will be minimal when you follow a proper dental hygiene routine. Hence it is recommended that you take care of your teeth and braces and keep them sparkling clean. It would help if you brush your teeth twice a day and use dental floss to eliminate all the food particles that get stuck in your braces and teeth. 

Eat Soft Foods 

When people get their braces tightened, they usually feel pain and soreness, and hence consuming food in which more teeth strength is required isn't recommended. When you are dealing with braces pain, you can eat soft foods like: 

  •       Frozen Yoghurt
  •       Mashed Potato
  •       Soup
  •       Scrambled Eggs
  •       Pasta
  •       Oatmeal
  •       Cooked or Boiled Vegetables 
  •       Smoothies
  •       Banana and Berries
  •       Fruit Juices 
  •       Ice Cream


While these are some of the recommended items, you must ensure that whatever you eat doesn't pressure your teeth. 

A gum massage 

Many people aren't aware of how a gum massage works, but it's easy to do. When your gums feel sore, you can start massaging them by rubbing your fingers in a circular motion. For more effective results, it is recommended that you use an icepack before you massage them with your fingers. 

Orthodontic wax 

Orthodontic wax helps you reduce friction and protects the areas of the mouth that might feel sore. This includes the inside of your lips, cheeks, and gums. Some orthodontists give this to you without charging anything extra, and you may apply orthodontic wax on the brackets to relieve braces pain. 

Over-the-counter pain medicine

Over-the-counter pain medicines can also help you to relieve braces pain. If you know that you feel pain during or after your appointment, you can take these medicines after getting information on the dosage from your doctor.  

Try Cold Drinks or Food 

When an ice pack isn't available, you can try drinking ice-chilled water or consume foods like popsicles, slushies, and ice cream to feel better. Since most of these things are chilled, they can help you with numbing your pain in the gums. 

Clean Teeth

Having braces pain can be challenging, but it can get more complicated when you have cavities in your teeth. Hence as mentioned earlier, it is recommended that you brush your teeth twice a day and use dental floss regularly to keep your teeth sparkly white and shiny. 

3. When to see the orthodontist

In most cases, people usually visit an Orthodontist when their braces loosen up and require tightening. You must also see your orthodontist if you feel constant pain even after one week of your treatment or if your braces get damaged.


Braces can cause pain when you get them for the first time or when you get them tightened later. In both cases, an adult can bear the pain easily when he follows the right tips. So it is recommended that you go with braces when you want to fix problems with the alignment of your teeth. 

Author Bio: Dr. Satish Pai is an orthodontist and Ivy League trained dentist who has served as a faculty at Columbia University. He believes a perfect smile not only makes a person look great but feel great. As the founder of Putnam Orthodontics and a Partner at Brite Orthodontics, he is dedicated to providing the best orthodontic treatments to his patients. He also writes to educate people about everything orthodontics and the importance of correctly aligned teeth along with good oral health. In his free time, you can find him golfing, doing yoga or surfing, and spending time with his family.

As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before changing your wellness routine.

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