For many people, the idea of getting braces can be intimidating. You may be worried that they’ll hurt constantly, or that you won’t be able to enjoy any of your favorite foods. Although braces can cause slight discomfort and inconvenience at first, most patients find that their braces don’t significantly interfere with their quality of life and improve it dramatically upon their removal.
The procedure itself is pain-free and easy. While the days following the initial procedure and subsequent adjustments can be uncomfortable or unpleasant, there are many different strategies you can use to minimize and alleviate your pain. While having braces may not always be easy, a lifetime of beautiful, radiant teeth makes up for the short periods of discomfort experienced.
You won’t feel any pain while your braces are being placed, and the process itself takes anywhere from 1 to 2 hours. Doctor Brodie Bowman will begin by thoroughly cleaning and drying your teeth. Following this, he will apply a bonding glue, and then secure the brackets in place. Once the brackets have been secured, the archwire is inserted, and the process is complete.
The Days Following the Procedure
In the days following the initial procedure, you will experience minor discomfort, as your teeth are in the process of realignment and are unaccustomed to the pressure exerted by your braces. Eating will feel strange and take longer than usual. During this time, it is important that you eat slowly and carefully and stick to soft or liquid foods, such as soup, mashed potatoes, and cooked fruit.
The pain experienced initially will lessen each successive day following the procedure. After about a week, the pain and discomfort brought on by your new braces should be completely gone. Even though eating will be easy again, it is still important to avoid foods that could damage your new braces. These include foods that are particularly hard or particularly soft, as they can either break or rip off the brackets of your braces. Speak to your orthodontist for a complete list of foods to avoid while you have braces.
It will be necessary to go in for routine orthodontic checkups to change wires, elastic bands, and metal ties, as well as to monitor your progress. Braces work by slowly moving your teeth into the desired positions, so you should also expect to receive adjustments during these visits. Following an adjustment or wire replacement, you may experience mild discomfort for up to a few days afterward. This should disappear quickly as your teeth settle into their new positions.
There are several things you can do to manage the discomfort brought on by your braces.
- Take over-the-counter pain relievers: These include medications like aspirin, Tylenol, and ibuprofen that help relieve swelling and ease discomfort. However, be sure not to take more than one of these pain relievers at the time and check packaging for dosage instructions.
- Rinse daily with warm salt water