On the rare occasions that people notice you have braces and are willing to talk to you about them, one of the top three questions that get’s asked is “do your braces hurt?” This is a very subjective question as, if you were to ask ten people undertaking exactly the same treatment, you would likely get ten completely different and conflicting answers. It’s easy to forget every stage of your treatment and as mine were taken off earlier this year, I have reviewed my blog which detailed my entire journey from start to finish and I can honestly say that I had very little discomfort throughout so my answer to the question is, no, they did not hurt.
I think I should clarify that response as there were times when wearing my brace was more noticeable during my treatment and this was right at the beginning and just after an adjustment that involved changing to a thicker wire. When you first get braces, the forces on the teeth are very light as a very thin arch wire is used but there is still a feeling of pressure but at no time was this painful. I did not need to adjust my diet, stick to soft food or anything else drastic that you may read elsewhere and although my brace felt slightly tight, there was certainly no pain. I did notice some soreness on the side of my cheeks as they rubbed against the brackets but did not need to use wax and found this soon went away.
When getting a thicker, stronger wire, there was an immediate feeling of pressure right after the wire was fitted but this went away after an hour or so and then, on occasion, for the day or two afterwards, my teeth became more tender and I was wary about biting into anything too hard. I didn’t particularly avoid any foods, but became more aware of what I was eating and actively sought a more sensible diet for a few days. I had both power chain elastics closing spaces on each arch and various elastic configurations to align my bite and again, I found no pain or discomfort from this at any point in my treatment.
Reading through the posts of other adult brace wearers I’m aware that some write extensively about the huge amount of pain they are in throughout treatment and the need to take pain relief medication and to drastically alter their diet. I guess not only is everyone’s perception of pain different but the treatment regimes they are going through can lead to more discomfort particularly if they move quickly to thicker wires rather than progressing slowly as was the case with my treatment. I also found that the braces forums and blog comments appeared to indulge those who were having a hard time of it compared to those who reported a positive experience and maybe this also helped to perpetuate the opinion that having braces will result in a painful experience?
It is fair to say that any orthodontic experience is likely to cause some discomfort at some point during treatment and soreness, head aches and increased sensitivity are to be expected but by working with your orthodontist, taking their advice and being sensible, you should find it to be a remarkably pain free experience.