Last Updated on June 8, 2023 by Beth Skwarecki
If you are considering getting braces, one of the questions that may be on your mind is, “How much do braces hurt?” It’s important to know what to expect when it comes to pain levels during braces treatment so that you can prepare yourself accordingly.
This article aims to provide a comprehensive guide on how much do braces hurt on a scale 1-10. We will cover the different stages of pain during braces treatment, factors that can affect the amount of pain experienced, and tips for managing the pain. By the end of this article, you will have a better understanding of what to expect in terms of pain during braces treatment and how to cope with it.
What Are Braces?
Braces are orthodontic devices used to align and straighten teeth, correct misaligned bites, and improve overall dental health. They consist of brackets, wires, and bands that are attached to the teeth and adjusted over time to gradually shift them into the correct position.
Braces can be made from different materials, such as metal, ceramic, or plastic, and come in different types, including traditional metal braces, ceramic braces, lingual braces, and clear aligners. Braces are commonly recommended for children and teenagers, but adults can also benefit from them. The length of braces treatment varies depending on the individual case and can range from several months to several years.
The Pain Associated With Braces
While braces are effective in correcting dental issues, they can also cause some discomfort and pain during the treatment process. This pain is mainly due to the pressure exerted on the teeth and the movement of teeth into new positions. Here are some factors that contribute to the pain associated with braces:
- Tightening: During the course of braces treatment, the orthodontist will need to adjust the wires and brackets periodically to gradually shift the teeth into the desired position. These adjustments can cause some pain, especially during the first few days after tightening.
- Soreness: As the teeth move into new positions, the ligaments and tissues supporting them can become sore and tender. This soreness can make it uncomfortable to eat or speak.
- Irritation: The brackets and wires of braces can rub against the inside of the cheeks, causing irritation and discomfort.
- Ulcers: In some cases, the brackets or wires of the braces can cause ulcers or sores on the gums or inner cheeks.
- Difficulty Eating: Braces can make it challenging to eat certain types of food, leading to discomfort and pain.
How Much Do Braces Hurt On A Scale 1-10?
The level of pain associated with braces varies depending on the individual case and the stage of treatment. However, on average, the pain associated with braces can range from mild to moderate, with occasional instances of severe pain. Here is an overview of how much do braces hurt on a scale of 1-10:
- 1. Minimal pain: Some patients may not experience any pain or discomfort associated with braces treatment, and their pain level would be at the lowest end of the scale.
- 2-3. Mild pain: This is the most common level of pain associated with braces. Patients may experience some soreness or discomfort after getting braces or during tightening appointments. The pain can be managed with over-the-counter pain relievers or home remedies, and it typically subsides within a few days.
- 4-6. Moderate pain: At this level, the pain is more significant, and patients may experience difficulty eating or speaking. The pain can last for several days, but it can still be managed with over-the-counter pain relievers or stronger pain medications prescribed by an orthodontist.
- 7-8. Severe pain: In rare cases, patients may experience severe pain, especially if they develop an infection or severe inflammation. This level of pain may require immediate attention from an orthodontist or dentist.
- 9-10. Excruciating pain: This level of pain is very rare and is usually associated with complications, such as severe infections or injuries.
How Long Do Your Teeth Hurt After Getting Braces?
The amount of time that teeth hurt after getting braces can vary from person to person, and it depends on several factors, including the individual’s pain tolerance, the type of braces, and the stage of treatment. However, on average, the pain associated with braces usually lasts for a few days to a week after getting braces or during tightening appointments.
After getting braces, the teeth may feel sore or sensitive to pressure for the first few days. This is because the braces are applying gentle pressure to the teeth, which encourages them to shift into their correct positions. During this process, the roots of the teeth are also repositioning themselves, which can cause some discomfort. Additionally, the mouth may feel irritated as it adjusts to the new hardware, leading to some soreness and discomfort.
The amount of pain can vary depending on the individual’s case and pain tolerance. However, most patients report that the pain is manageable and can be relieved with over-the-counter pain medications or home remedies, such as warm salt water rinses or ice packs. It’s essential to follow the orthodontist’s instructions on how to care for the braces and maintain good oral hygiene to minimize discomfort.
After the first few days, the pain associated with braces typically subsides, and patients can return to their normal eating and speaking habits.
Tips For Managing Pain During Braces Treatment
Here are some tips for managing pain during braces treatment:
- Over-The-Counter Pain Relievers: Ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help relieve the pain and discomfort associated with braces. It’s essential to follow the recommended dosage and consult with a healthcare provider if you have any concerns or allergies.
- Ice Packs: Applying an ice pack to the affected area can help numb the pain and reduce swelling. Use a cloth to cover the ice pack and apply it to the cheeks for 10-15 minutes at a time.
- Warm Salt Water Rinses: Rinsing your mouth with warm saltwater can help soothe sore gums and promote healing. Mix 1 teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of warm water and swish it around in your mouth for 30 seconds before spitting it out.
- Soft Foods: Eating soft foods, such as soup, yogurt, or mashed potatoes, can help minimize discomfort during braces treatment. Avoid hard or crunchy foods that can cause additional pain or damage to the braces.
- Orthodontic Wax: Applying orthodontic wax to the braces can help reduce irritation and soreness in the mouth. Place a small piece of wax on any area that feels rough or is causing discomfort.
- Proper Oral Hygiene: Keeping your teeth and braces clean can help minimize discomfort and prevent infections. Brush and floss regularly and use a soft-bristled toothbrush to avoid damaging the braces.
Braces can be uncomfortable and cause soreness or tenderness in the teeth and gums, especially during the first few days of treatment. However, the level of pain varies from person to person, and there are several ways to manage discomfort, such as over-the-counter pain medications, ice packs, and soft foods. It’s essential to communicate with your orthodontist if you are experiencing severe or persistent pain. With proper care and patience, the discomfort associated with braces typically subsides, and patients can enjoy a healthy, beautiful smile.
Beth is Cloudmineinc’s senior health editor and a certified personal trainer. She has over 10 years experience as a science journalist and is the author of two books. She deadlifts over 315 lbs.