One of the most commonly asked questions about braces is whether placing them causes any pain or discomfort. The honest answer is that braces do not hurt at all when they are applied to the teeth, so there is no reason to be anxious about the placement appointment. The placement of braces will not be painful in the slightest. There will be mild soreness or discomfort after the orthodontic wire is engaged into the newly placed brackets. In the first few hours after the braces are placed it may take longer to eat meals, but this is largely because it takes some time to adjust to wearing the braces and to learn to chew with them. In some cases, the teeth may feel more sensitive than usual. Hard, difficult to chew foods should be avoided in favor of a softer, more liquid-based diet (shakes, soups, yogurt, mashed potatoes, Mac and cheese, etc..) for the first few days after placement of braces. As the day progresses you may begin to feel slight discomfort as the teeth begin to move.
Most patients experience some discomfort the first 4 days to a week after their braces, expanders, and/or wires are placed and after a wire adjustment and/or an activation appointment. Your lips and cheeks may need one to two weeks to get used to the braces on your teeth. The appliances and wires that we use are cutting-edge, and exert very light, continuous, and biologically sound forces that greatly decrease any soreness associated with orthodontic treatment. But, some mild, and rarely moderate, discomfort is still to be expected. Each person will gradually adapt to the discomfort associated with the orthodontic tooth movement. Over the counter pain relievers (Advil/Motrin work well) normally taken for headaches plus salt water rinses can be used to greatly ease the discomfort.
All orthodontic discomfort can be effectively managed with the use of Ibuprofen (Motrin and Advil work best) as long as no allergies exist. Orthodontic wax or silicone will help alleviate any soreness and discomfort coming from the braces rubbing on the lips and cheeks. Other effective and useful remedies are salt-water rinses (warm water combined with a teaspoon of salt, rinsing four to six times a day) and to chew sugar-free gum or Twizzlers. The chewing increases blood flow to the supportive structures surrounding the teeth which helps to reduce orthodontic soreness or discomfort. The end result is well worth any soreness that is encountered during treatment.