Every year, an average of 4.5 million Americans get braces. That’s about the entire population of Kentucky! Most people with braces are between six and eighteen years old, but with Invisalign, adult braces are becoming more popular. 

No matter their age, each of those people will have a different experience when it comes to their braces hurting. If you’ve never had them and are wondering, do braces hurt? The answer is sometimes, but it depends on the person. 

We’re breaking down the process of getting braces, including: when to expect discomfort from braces, pain relief for braces, and a general idea of what to prepare you or your child for.

Do Braces Hurt? The Truth 

Yes, most people experience some level of discomfort when they first get their braces on, or after an adjustment. But there’s a reason we used the word discomfort instead of pain. Invisalign, while slightly more expensive than traditional braces, generally causes less discomfort. 

The longer you wear your braces, the better they’ll feel. 

The average orthodontic patient describes their braces pain as achy or annoying, but pain levels are rarely rated above a 5/10, even for the most sensitive patient. 

If you’re experiencing high levels of pain, then you can always contact us. We’ll go over pain relief for braces later on in the article. 

Why Does Invisalign (Generally) Hurt Less? 

First, this is a general trend. No data supports Invisalign being more comfortable (in terms of pain) than traditional braces, rather it’s a trend we hear patients report. 

Invisalign doesn’t involve fixing anything to your teeth, and they can be taken in and out for meals. Invisalign is on teeth fewer hours of the day than traditional braces, but not by much. You also have the option to take Invisalign off for a few minutes if you’re in pain, to give yourself a break. 

While we want you to be as comfortable as possible, it’s important to wear your clear braces as close to 22 hours a day as possible. Wearing them any less can prolong your treatment and impact your results. 

When Do Braces Hurt? 

Most of our braces patients are a little anxious when they come to get their braces on. It’s normal to have some apprehension when experiencing something for the first time — even with our caring and professional staff. 

The good news is, getting the braces on at the office shouldn’t hurt or be uncomfortable at all. It takes around half an hour to an hour and then you’ll be back to your normal routine.

As the braces start to work on your teeth, you can feel discomfort as early as that night or the day after. Most of our patients report this being the peak of any discomfort, with things improving over the next few days. 

To ease any nerves, here’s what the process of applying braces looks like, step by step.

The Braces Application Process

When you arrive at the office, one of our hygienists or techs will give you a dental cleaning, to make sure your teeth are as clean as possible. The brackets will stick better to your teeth if they’re clean, which reduces your risk of misplacing a bracket later on.

After your teeth are immaculate, we’ll apply the brackets themselves, using dental glue. Once the brackets are secure, we will then thread the wire through the braces and place the rubber bands that keep it in place. 

You’ll get to choose your bracket and rubber band color for ultimate customizability. 

Once the wire and bands are in place, we’ll trim the wire to size. Finally, we may add spacer rubber bands between your back molars, which allows us to place molar bands during your next visit. 

After that, we’ll give you a mirror to check out your new smile and you’ll be out the door! 

Treating Braces Pain: The Most Common Pain Relief for Braces 

If you experience aching discomfort or soreness from your braces, they’ll likely start the night or day after placement. At this time, we encourage you to use Tylenol and Ibuprofen as needed. If you need constant relief, switch between the two medications and follow the dosing directions on each bottle. 

If your teeth aren’t sensitive to temperatures, you can place an ice pack (wrapped in a towel) on the outside of your mouth to ease any aching. 

Some people find that their pain increases after eating, so try to stick to soft foods. Scrambled eggs or yogurt are the perfect day-after-placement breakfasts. 

The other symptom that braces patients complain about is the brackets rubbing against the inside of their mouth. This pain is easy to treat with orthodontic wax, which you can ball up and smear over the part of your braces that is irritating you. 

As we said above, some discomfort is normal, but we’re here for you if you’re having more pain than expected or if you have any follow-up questions. There are no stupid questions and our team is always happy to help. 

Getting Your Braces WGM Orthodontics 

While we are biased, we do believe that our orthodontists and staff are some of the best in Kentucky. The majority of our staff use our services to get braces for themselves or their children, which is a telling endorsement. 

We hope that the guide above answered all the questions you have related to “do braces hurt” and that it eased your nerves.

If you’re already scheduled for braces and are doing your research before coming in, great! We’ll see you soon. If you still need to get on the schedule, you can find the list of our locations here