If you need to have metal or ceramic braces there’s no need to fear. Although each patient is different, for pretty much everyone this type of orthodontic treatment is pain free, start to finish. You may experience some discomfort right after they’re put in but if an over-the-counter headache remedy doesn’t take care of it or if it lasts longer than a week contact us and we’ll correct the situation.
Having braces put in should be no more uncomfortable than a regular dental check up and cleaning. While placing the bands and brackets there should be no pain at all. The arch wires are the part that applies pressure to realign your teeth. Right after they’re installed you’re likely to experience a few days to a week or so of soreness as your teeth and gums adjust to the new situation of being gently pushed into a new position. If needed you can take ibuprofen (Advil®, a maximum of 4 times a day) or acetaminophen (Tylenol®, no more than 6 caplets per day).
When you first get your braces we’ll give you some “orthodontic wax” for you to smooth over rough areas that may be bothering your cheeks, lips, or tongue. Some people may also use an over-the-counter medicine that’s normally used for canker sores on irritated areas of your mouth. With a little help orthodontic treatment can be little more than a distraction for the first few weeks. If it’s more than that, bring it to out attention — it probably means that something needs to be adjusted.
For the first few days you’re likely to feel awkward and self-conscious. But after that your friends, schoolmates, and co-workers should stop even noticing them. And you shouldn’t be feeling any discomfort at all after a couple of weeks once your gums, teeth, cheeks, and lips have gotten used to having braces.
That discomfort may return after follow-up adjustments, but should only last a couple of days. Otherwise there shouldn’t be any problems. During those adjustment periods rinsing your mouth with warm salt water both soothes and cleanses. Some people prefer ice water, but never chew on ice even if you don’t have braces!
Don’t feel discouraged — the first few weeks are as bad it will get. Soon after that you’ll hardly ever notice that you’re even wearing braces. Look forward to that perfect smile you’ll have soon enough.
In Case of Problems
Be sure to follow our instructions on oral hygiene to avoid problems with bad breath, cavities, or gum concerns. We’ll also provide some specific advice in case you have mouth sores. Wearing braces should be pain free. If not, or if something seems loose, give us a call and everything will soon be back to the way it should be.
Stacy Poole, DMD
As a orthodontic treatment specialist, Dr. Poole has extra training and experience that makes having braces more comfortable and less worrisome. Our patients are our priority: your health and comfort are our top concerns.