Braces are one of those necessary evils that nobody particularly wants but almost nobody regrets getting once they come off. The good news is that they usually work really well - and they don’t stay on forever (despite how it feels sometimes!). The bad news is that, unfortunately, they aren’t always the most comfortable or easy-to-clean oral appliances. If you’re hesitant about getting braces because of a fear of potential discomfort, check out this blog about what to expect when you get braces.
Do They Hurt?
For most people, yes, braces will initially hurt when they are attached to your teeth. Putting the brackets on is painless, but once the wire is placed, your teeth are essentially being pulled in a different direction than they’re accustomed to, and that often causes sensitivity. How much sensitivity depends on the mouth. Adults who have had braces as teenagers often say they hurt more as an adult. This could be because as adults our teeth are more "set" in their place. It could also just be that as adults we are more sensitive to pain, or that we have other conditions present that might intensify pain regardless of where it is.
How Do I Treat the Pain?
The good news is the pain is usually bearable, and usually goes away on its own within a few days or weeks. It's not usually so severe it causes you to miss work, but it may alter your diet for a few days. Most patients can control it well with over-the-counter pain medication like acetaminophen, aspirin or ibuprofen. For sharp wires poking your gums, you can treat them immediately with some dental wax, available at most stores in the oral care aisle, but give Dr. Abelar a call if this happens so he can trim the wire, even between appointments. DO NOT try to trim the wire yourself at home.
There is always a chance the pain will come back when your braces wires are changed out, or if you switch to a new aligner. However, the pain is usually less severe than the discomfort you had when you initially got your braces.
Clean It Up!
Another way to treat the pain that surprises many people is brushing and flossing. When teeth are moved in a new direction, they often get food and plaque stuck in new places they didn’t before. Sometimes the pain you experience has more to do with food being stuck between teeth than the teeth moving. Braces are harder to clean - and take longer to clean - than bare teeth, but they’re also very important to keep clean, because it can be easier for cavities and decay to develop if you aren’t getting around all the extra equipment in your mouth.
If you have any questions about braces, or if your braces are causing you any discomfort that isn’t going away with OTC painkillers or dental wax, please give Dr. Abelar’s office a call at 858-866-9692.