Does treatment with braces hurt? At times – yes – your teeth will be cranky and they will let you know. Teeth basically just want to be left alone, but teeth are like the rest of us- they hate change. So it’s not pressure on your teeth that hurts but changes in pressure.
Less Discomfort with Modern Braces
When you first get your braces on, the change in pressure is most noticeable and more uncomfortable. The braces, wires and elastics we use to move your teeth place a much more steady and gentle pressure on your teeth. So there’s a lot less discomfort now than there used to be with the older style of braces. Not everyone uses this gentler system. It’s the only one I use because it feels better and steady gentle pressure moves your teeth better and faster – nature does things the same way. With this system of braces, the pressure does not have to be adjusted as often, so it’s much more comfortable.
Managing Pain After an Appointment
What can you do to make your braces feel better? Rinsing with cool water or a cool drink can relax the wires and reduce the pressure for more comfort – especially just after we’ve placed a new wire or when a tooth is hooked up for the first time.
Your teeth aren’t really bothered by pressure, but changes in pressure. So when we change the wire, the new pressure can make your teeth sore. But not always. A change in your braces may not bother you at all. At other times a tooth can become sensitive for no obvious reason.
No matter what, cool water to your teeth and Advil or Ibuprofen are the best ways to make yourself comfortable. If you can’t take aspirin-type medications, use Tylenol or acetaminophen.
Chewing a small piece of gum may help as well, as long as you keep the pressure off the brace until the gum softens.
Clean Teeth & Healthy Gums Feel Better
If a tooth is little sore, you may be tempted to avoid brushing it or do it less. Don’t give in to this! Keep brushing, especially by the gum line. If your gums bleed, that’s actually a sign that they need to be cleaned more, not less. Use a soft bristle toothbrush or a spin brush and run some hot water over the bristles to make them gentler while brushing, but don’t give up on the brushing.
Remember that normal healthy gums feel good when you brush them. Healthy gums also facilitate faster movement of the teeth into the positions we want. Don’t forget to keep seeing your dentist for regular checkups and cleanings during your braces. Your dentist is in the comfort business.
If you ever have discomfort that’s unusual or concerns you – call or text us – we’re happy to see you or give you some advice.