Braces can correct misaligned teeth to improve your smile and your dental health, but braces pain can make you uncomfortable.
Knowing a bit about how braces work can help you prepare for the braces pain you might experience. Braces place continuous pressure on the teeth to slowly move them into a different position. The key components of braces are:
- Brackets: A bracket is attached to each tooth or to a band placed around the tooth. Brackets hold the wires that actually cause the teeth to move. Braces pain associated with brackets may include pain from the band or the brackets.
- Wires: The wires used for braces are known as arch wires. They are attached to the brackets, and an orthodontist adjusts them at regular visits. Sometimes braces pain occurs soon after the braces are adjusted. (1), (2)
What Causes Braces Pain?
The exact cause of braces pain is unknown, but it may be attributed to internal or external factors.
- Internal: Some research has shown that braces pain may be caused by changes in blood flow that occur when the braces apply pressure to the teeth.
- External: The physical rubbing of the brackets and wires can cause braces pain in the soft tissue inside the mouth. This type of braces pain usually lessens with time, as the tissues become tougher. Sometimes one of the arch wires can cause braces pain by poking into the back of the mouth, but orthodontic wax can usually relieve this. (1), (2)
Products for Braces Pain
Many products are available to provide relief of braces pain. For pain associated with the pressure of the braces, try over the counter pain relieving products. Tablets or capsules such as Motrin or Advil can provide relief of braces pain, or you can use topical pain relieving products. Ask your dentist for recommendations if your braces pain persists. In addition, toothpaste, mouth rinse, and dental floss designed for sensitive teeth such as those in the Crest Pro-Health Sensitive Shield regimen can help relieve tooth pain. (1), (2)
Other Strategies to Relieve Braces Pain
Try these additional tips to relieve braces pain:
- Eat Soft: If you tend to experience braces pain after an orthodontic adjustment, stick to soft foods, such as Jello®, pasta, and soft-cooked vegetables for the first day or so.
- Brush Soft: A soft-bristled toothbrush can help ease braces pain. (2)
Protect Your Braces to Avoid Pain
If you play contact sports while wearing braces, be sure to use a mouth guard. Being hit or falling during sports can cause brackets to break or wires to come loose, which causes braces pain and adds to the expense of orthodontic care. (2)
Benefits of Braces
Braces pain can be uncomfortable, but wearing braces to improve your bite can help to eliminate other types of mouth and tooth pain caused by misaligned teeth. Other benefits of braces include:
- Easier Oral Care: Straight teeth are easier to clean, so you will be at less risk for tooth decay and gum disease.
- Increased Confidence: When braces have corrected your misaligned teeth, you’ll enjoy the improved self-confidence that comes with a healthy smile. (3)