How much will I hurt? Is it painful to wear braces?

Most prospective orthodontics patients are scared because of the pain this treatment might bring in. Sometimes the idea of shedding hundreds or even thousands of dollars for a treatment or having to go through this for 1-2 years doesn’t scare them as the idea of a tooth ache caused by the braces.


orthodontic treatment pain“Not too much” and “so so” would be the 2 fast answers. Before you just renounce the idea of having straight teeth, let me try to explain this better. There are millions of people who treat their crooked teeth (many kids or teenagers), it shouldn’t be so painful. And it’s not.

I can tell you about my own experience in 2 systems: Damon (metal braces) and Invisalign. I got my metal braces 1 year ago. The entire process was scarier when reading about it, than the real thing. The braces got on my lateral teeth (we only braced these) on both arches and I was ready to go. With my dental wax too and the new life ahead of me. I was told to use Kethonal or any other painkiller if I couldn’t cope with the pain, prepare for few hard days and then it will be better. And it was.

After 2-3 hours I was already feeling some pressure on my teeth. It was something like my finger was in my mouth and I was pushing them a bit. Nothing too serious, sure, I didn’t take any medication. I ate with care and then went to sleep.

Morning came: I got up and accidentally clenched my teeth. AUCH! The pain almost made me scream. After getting some nice swearing done (that was the least I could do), I got to the kitchen to eat something. Yeah, sure. I wasn’t able to press my teeth against anything since it was painful. I didn’t hurt if they didn’t touch anything (so I just had my mouth slightly open as to have the teeth not touch). The pressure was still there, but the pain would appear ONLY when I clenched my teeth. So, I stopped doing this and didn’t take medication at all either. It really wasn’t the case.

I started eating mashed potatoes and all kinds of soft foods. For 2-3 days I was just like an old woman, even my grandma ate better (and you can imagine she didn’t miss the chance to observer how “old” I was).

In few days the pain wasn’t that big anymore and I started eating bread (not anything hard) and some foods that weren’t as soft as a newly born’s menu anymore. I was able to clench my teeth without kicking anyone and my brushing was more pleasant. I did try to keep a perfect hygene in the pain days and it was pretty nice.

After 1 week I was able to ditch the wax too (for few days I made my fill with dental wax and was certain I’d need some special deliveries, maybe a truck of wax, due to the huge need I had) and eat like a normal person. My doctor told me it would be a good idea to not try anything too hard (nuts or something like that) so that I don’t damage my braces, but God is my witness I could eat if I wanted to.

After each adjustment I’d have 1-2 days of some pain (not huge one, never took medication for this) and then it was all OK. The first days are the worse (when you get braced in), afterwards your teeth get adjusted to the braces so that you’d be able to “recover” faster from each adjustment.

Now I have Invisalign and still expect that pain. Maybe I got used to the metal braces that are a bit more “strong” or maybe I am just lucky. After getting the Invisalign trays on I got home and started eating fast (so that I can then eat soft foods again because of the possible pain). Waited for some hours, no pain. Just a slight pressure on my teeth. Next day: one incisor hurt. “Thank God, I’m normal.” Nothing else. In few hours the incisor stopped hurting while I was able to eat normally, even if I was prepared for another “old woman menu” for some days at least.

1 week into the treatment: I really doubt I’ll see pain anymore. I still feel that slight pressure on the teeth (more like a tickle) and nothing more. Looks like my life now will be pain-free. So .. the painkillers can remain untouched.

My conclusion would be that you should expect SOME pain. There are patients who are more sensitive and need some medication, at least in those first days, while others are “dancing” through the treatment. Just don’t fear this pain that much since it doesn’t last and in some cases it might not even appear. Just schedule that meeting with your orthodontist and DO IT. I tell you I don’t regret this, even if I was in pain for weeks. My treatments were so easy that I would be crazy not to finish this or not think that it’s too bad I didn’t do this earlier.

About dojo

My name is Ramona Iftode, I am a web designer who is still undergoing orthodontics treatment. I have created Orthodontics Today to share some of the things I learned. I also blog and take lots of travel pictures.

101 Responses to How much will I hurt? Is it painful to wear braces?

  1. Andrew says:

    Omg I an getting my braces tomorrow! I am scared and I’m wondering if I have to take a lot of pills just to get it right. What should i do?

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Disclaimer: OrthodonticsToday was created as a community to provide support and inspiration to people who are undergoing an orthodontics treatment or a prepared to do so. Our goal is to keep you informed and offer you the chance to discuss your problems and accomplishments. Our articles are NOT a substitute for any orthodontic treatment. Please see your orthodontist for anything related to your dental health.