Do braces hurt?

Mild discomfort can be expected when getting on braces, but this won’t last longer than a few days.

One of the most commonly asked questions about dental braces is whether placing them causes any pain or discomfort.  The honest answer is that braces do not hurt at all when they are first applied to the teeth, so there is no reason to be anxious.

It may take a few days for the inside of your mouth to become accustomed to the brackets. The clinic will provide you with orthodontic wax to put over the brackets to help ease the discomfort.


teenager with ceramic braces having examination

What to expect when getting braces


Placement day

The placement of braces will not be painful in the slightest. It may take longer to eat meals, but this is largely because it takes some time to adjust to wearing the braces.

In some cases, the teeth may feel more sensitive than usual. Hard, difficult to chew foods should be avoided in favour of a softer, more liquid-based diet for the first few days after placement of braces.


Two days after placement

The first several days after placement of braces can be slightly uncomfortable. This is because the teeth are beginning the realignment process and are not used to the pressure of the archwire and orthodontic elastic bands.

The orthodontist will provide relief wax to apply over the braces as necessary. Wax helps provide a smooth surface and alleviates irritation on the inner cheeks and lips.  Additionally, over-the-counter mild pain medication may be taken as directed to relieve mild soreness.


Five days after placement

After five days, any initial discomfort associated with the braces is usually gone. The teeth will have gradually acclimated to the braces, and eating should be much easier.

Certain hard foods may still pose a challenge to the wearer, but normal eating may be resumed at this point.


Orthodontic appointments

Regular orthodontic appointments are necessary to allow the orthodontist to change the archwire, change the rubber or metal ties, and make adjustments to the braces. Fixed braces work by gradually moving the teeth into a new and proper alignment, so gentle pressure needs to be applied constantly.

The first several days after an orthodontic adjustment may be slightly uncomfortable, but remember that this discomfort will quickly fade.


Dealing with discomfort

Over-the-counter pain medication and orthodontic relief wax will help alleviate any mild soreness and discomfort following placement of braces and orthodontic adjustments. 

Another effective remedy is to chew sugar-free gum, as this increases blood flow which helps reduces discomfort and can also encourage the teeth to align quicker.