Braces are very common in the United States, no matter your age. They can help boost self-confidence, and lead to better oral health overall. But you might be wondering, does it hurt to get braces?
This article is here to answer that question, and prepare you fully for what getting braces is actually like.
Before You Get Your Braces
If you’re curious about whether you need braces, ask your dentist for a referral. If your dentist and orthodontist work together, they communicate with one another regularly. This makes it easy to get records back and forth, and any needed x-rays.
After you choose an orthodontist to visit, you’re going to schedule your first appointment. During this appointment, the orthodontist examines your teeth and decides on a course of action.
You should expect it to be like any first doctor’s visit. This means visiting the practice, meeting your doctor, speaking with the staff, and then learning the best course of action for you to take.
Questions to Ask During Your Initial Visit
If you have questions for your orthodontist, this is the visit to ask them on. You can become acquainted with your course of treatment (or your child’s), and come to understand what you should expect from braces. Remember, the orthodontist is there to help you. Don’t be afraid to ask!
Here are a few ideas:
- What should I do to prepare for braces?
- How is my daily teeth cleaning regimen going to change?
- Do I need to do anything specific before and/or after a visit to my regular dentist?
- How long is treatment expected to last?
- Is there an alternative to metal braces that I can take?
Asking about fees is also a good idea if the information is not offered upfront. The answers to these questions are going to vary from person-to-person, but here are a few that can be built upon:
- Do you have a guarantee?
- What is the overall cost of treatment?
- Are retainers included?
- Do you offer financing or payment plans?
Does It Hurt to Get Braces?
This is the one you’ve been waiting on the answer to.
While it doesn’t hurt to get braces put on, some patients may experience soreness within the first week they’re put on, and whenever they’re tightened.
Before you get your actual braces, you’re more than likely going to need spacers. A thin band goes around your back teeth to create room for the braces themselves.
Don’t worry, this doesn’t hurt. You might experience some discomfort after though, and you might feel limited while eating crunchy foods. Take pain medicine a few hours before the procedure if you can. Stick to softer foods for a few days after, or until the soreness subsides.
On the day you get your braces, your teeth will need to be cleaned and dried. After this, a molar band is placed around your back teeth and secured into place. Then brackets are glued onto each tooth and set in place.
This part, again, does not hurt, but the glue might not taste the best. Once the brackets are on, a thin metal wire is slid between each bracket and cut to fit the length of the braces. This is the part that might cause soreness in the beginning.
After that comes the fun part—bands. You can choose your band color, but you can also opt for clear bands if you’d like. You might be given bands to attach to different brackets on your teeth. These come in colors or can stay clear as well.
Tips for Relief
For the first few days, your mouth might feel a bit sore. There’s no need to worry, it’ll go away with time. These symptoms can be relieved though.
Eat soft foods like pasta, fish, mashed potatoes, bread, bananas, oatmeal, smoothies, avocadoes, or even ice cream.
There may be parts of your braces that rub the side of your mouth, which can cause cuts or soreness. Be sure to ask your orthodontist for the wax to place over the spots that are hurting to provide relief.
Pain medicine can also aid in pain relief.
Cleaning Your Teeth With Braces
Cleaning your teeth with braces is going to be different than before. Extra steps are required, and proper cleaning can even help aid pain relief. It sounds gross, but bits of food love to hide in braces, and it’s going to be up to the patient to be sure it gets out.
First, use a small brush to remove any food in between the brackets. Then, brush your teeth like you normally would. The difference here is that two extra angles will need to be adopted. One 45-degree angle to brush the top of your brackets, and another 45-degree angle to brush below.
After brushing, you’ll need to get between each bracket with floss to prevent plaque buildup and cavities.
Taking Care of Braces Prevents Pain in the Long Run
Bottom line: The better you care for your braces, the less they’re going to hurt in the long run. You won’t have them on as long, meaning fewer adjustments and less soreness after each one. You won’t be left wondering, does it hurt to get braces?
Once they’re off, you won’t have to deal with bands and a tightened brushing regiment ever again. The same goes for wearing the retainer after they’re off. Neglecting to wear a retainer can lead to needing braces again, or even dental surgery.