As much reassurance as we may provide you, it is understandable why people tend to cringe at the very sound of getting wires on their teeth. The question is, do braces actually hurt? To be completely honest- yes, a little bit. More than pain however, it is discomfort which is completely natural. To acclimatize you to the idea and process of getting braces- here are a few facts and answers to frequently asked questions!
To begin with, the amount or type of discomfort associated with braces is largely to do with the patient and type of braces involved. Braces can be wire brackets (you can pick the colors for your elastic bands!), but with newer and improved technology, ceramic braces, lingual braces, are growing increasingly popular for being less visible. The reason that braces get uncomfortable is that they are essentially metal wires creating tension on your teeth to shift, align or correct their positions. When braces are first placed, the pain may last a couple of hours and then gradually reduce through the day depending on the amount of tension and the patients’ own pain threshold. It is rare that braces are heard to be unbearably painful- so there’s nothing to worry about, especially as the orthodontist is always willing to loosen the tension slightly to ease extreme discomfort.
Upon your first few appointments when the mould of the teeth is taken and further inspections made, if any extra teeth are there that will impede treatment, they may be removed to ensure they don’t interfere with or modify the desired end result. For most patients, getting braces usually takes one to two hours as a process, which we can assure you- while bad tasting, is entirely safe.
During the procedure no pain will be encountered, but teeth tend to feel a little sore immediately afterwards, which will completely subside in a few hours at best. You’ll probably become completely comfortable with the metal in your mouth within the first two weeks. Over the regular period of 12-24 months that braces take to achieve desired orofacial changes and modifications, timely visits to the orthodontist will yield tightening of the wires and the discomfort will reduce with each sitting as you grow familiar with the sensation.
Rest assured, there are a few things that you can do to help reduce any discomfort after an appointment like trying to avoid hard, crunchy foods for the first few days and try to stick to more easily chewed, soft food. In case of pain that exceeds your tolerance, regular and advised dosages of painkillers are always readily available. Above all, the fear of braces is indeed irrational because for a little discomfort, the end results are permanent, absolutely natural and rather great- we’re talking straighter teeth, better oral health and hygiene, correction of any kind of bite or jaw alignment, a lovely smile and as a consequence, improved self esteem.
Newer braces are much smaller in profile and rarely hurt. A recent new alternative to braces provided by orthodontists referred to as clear aligners. Aligners are plastic like trays which can work as an alternative to braces applicable in situations as recommended by your orthodontist. They are extremely comfortable and do not hamper speech or eating.
It’s important to remember that your braces are only temporary and greatly beneficial, and a good orthodontist who understands the anxiety associated with the procedure and altered lifestyle will do everything to make sure you or your child go through the process in a relatively comfortable and painless way. There’s nothing to worry about, they are after all- simply braces.