If you are going to have braces fitted, whether these are fixed braces or Invisalign, you may be wondering how much it is going to hurt, or if it is going to hurt at all. The honest answer is that compared to many other dental procedures, the fitting and wearing of braces is rarely painful, although there is a certain amount of discomfort which most people feel is manageable. Just to reassure you, we will outline the main steps in the process below.
Measuring up for braces
The orthodontist will want to know the shape of your teeth. This usually involves making a mould of your teeth in the area where the braces are needed. This is not painful at all, although it may seem a bit strange as the paste sets around your teeth.
Fitting the braces
After the braces have been made, you will have a session where they will be fitted. If you have chosen to use aligners, like Invisalign, this is a simple process where the orthodontist will show you how to fit them and remove them. If you have chosen fixed braces then they will be fixed in place using cement, which is set using a special light and then tightened using wires. This procedure is not painful, but you may feel some discomfort as the braces are fitted in place.
Immediately after the braces have been fitted, it may be best to eat soft food rather than tackle what you would normally eat, especially if this involves a lot of biting and chewing.
The first few days after fitting the braces
This is when the braces will start to do their job, which is to gently move your teeth into a healthier and more visually natural position. In a few cases, you may feel some pain which can be relieved through the use of pain killers, like aspirin, paracetamol, codeine or ibuprofen. Your orthodontist will discuss this with you before you leave the clinic with your new braces.
As well as a little pain, you may feel discomfort as the presence of wires and ligatures inside your mouth rubs up against your teeth, gums and tongue. Your orthodontist may prescribe a wax you can use and apply from time to time to relieve the pressure of the braces against other parts of your mouth. Usually, this feeling of discomfort lasts no longer than the first few days after the braces have been fitted.
You will need to visit your orthodontist from time to time to make sure that the braces are working to correct your teeth and make adjustments where necessary. As with the first appointment where the braces were fitted, there may be a little discomfort when the braces are tightened or relaxed.
Time to take the braces off
This will definitely be seen as a relief and generally it does not involve any pain at all. It does require some pressure as the braces are removed and the remaining cement detached from your teeth, but there should be no pain involved, just the feeling of pressure.
Following the removal of the braces, a removable or permanent retainer will probably be fitted. The retainer remains in your mouth and prevents the teeth that have been shifted into a better position from reverting back to where they were before.
Still worried? Talk to your orthodontist before the procedure!
If you are still worried about how you are going to cope with any discomfort, then it is sensible to discuss this fully with your orthodontist before deciding to have braces fitted. You will be pleasantly surprised about just how painless the whole procedure really is!