Do Braces Hurt?

This is often the first question I am asked during a consultation. It is also one of the toughest to answer.

Pain is subjective in nature. It is unique to each person and there is great variation. We all have different pain thresholds and we all deal with it differently. Most people that have had braces will tell you that they experienced pain at some point in their treatment. It is true that there is always some pain associated with braces. But how much pain is difficult to predict. What I commonly tell all my patients is that they may experience some discomfort, especially the first couple of days after the braces are placed. I also point out that there is a distinction to be made between pain and discomfort. The word “pain” in my opinion is too strong for what is commonly experienced by people having braces. I rather use the word “discomfort” or “soreness” because it is a more accurate description. This discomfort is usually mild in nature and can be alleviated by simple over the counter medications like Advil or Tylenol. It is also short lasting and goes away after few days.

I like to think of the discomfort of braces as muscle aches after a long marathon or a good work out. Just like your leg muscles may get soar after a long jog or your arms after a heavy workout, so can your teeth after they are moved. The longer period of time one hasn’t exercised the more the muscles will ach. Similarly, if teeth have been stable and undisturbed in the mouth for a long period of time, it is expected that they be soar once they are moved with braces.

So to answer this difficult question in simple terms, yes there is some “discomfort” associated with braces but it is usually mild and can be dealt with by simple over the counter pain medications. The soreness typically starts the day after the braces are placed or tightened and can last anywhere from one day to a week. After about a week most orthodontic patients are back to normal.

We would like to wish you all a happy, safe, and “pain-free” holiday season from all of us at Salmassian Orthodontics!

For any questions regarding this article or to schedule your complimentary orthodontic evaluation, please contact Dr. Salmassian’s office at 661-222-7444 or visit us at www.salmassianortho.com

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