In addition to straightening your teeth, braces can provide a host of health benefits like improved biting, chewing, and speaking. Though braces don’t usually hurt, the structural changes they make to your jaw and teeth can cause tension that can make one tooth hurt with braces.
If you are experiencing tooth pain while wearing braces or just want to learn more about how to ease general discomfort during treatment, continue reading for a breakdown of why teeth can sometimes hurt with braces and what you can do about it.
Want to find out if you or your child needs braces? Visit Reese Orthodontics in Charleston, SC for leading orthodontic care.
What Do Braces Feel Like?
Normally, braces feel like a sense of sustained pressure along the teeth being treated. This comes from the archwire, which connects the teeth via a series of brackets attached to each one.
This gradual pressure is what shifts the positions of the teeth over time by loosening the ligaments that hold them in place and gradually allows them to move in the healthier direction. Since the roots have to move for the teeth to shift, mild discomfort or a feeling of pressure is common with braces.
This is equally true for all types of braces, including metal, ceramic, lingual, and even Invisalign. They all share a sensation of “pressure,” which means they are doing their job to straighten your smile. In addition to this sensation, braces can also cause soreness in the gums and lips surrounding the brackets, but this should improve within a week or less.
Over time, patients get used to these new sensations. They are generally worse in the first week of treatment as well as a few days after each adjustment appointment.
Why Do Braces Sometimes Hurt?
Sometimes, braces feel like more than a gentle sense of pressure. A particular tooth or arch could hurt for a number of reasons. The solution to the pain largely depends on the cause.
The most likely cause of greater-than-normal discomfort after having braces put on or tightened is heightened tooth sensitivity. This can have several causes related to your oral hygiene habits.
Failing to remove buildups of plaque and tartar can wear down your tooth enamel. Over time, this can cause teeth to weaken and feel more sensitive to the pressure caused by braces. On the other hand, if you brush too vigorously, you may wear down your gums, exposing parts of your teeth that are more sensitive.
Whatever the cause of sensitivity, it is the primary reason that braces hurt some patients more than normal. Thankfully, there are several things you can do to cope with this pain.
What To Do If One Tooth Hurts With Braces
The first line of defense against braces pain is an OTC pain reliever like Advil. Taken before an appointment, you may get ahead of the discomfort and make it through the rough patch. The day after regular adjustments is typically the most uncomfortable. Remember not to over-supplement with pain medication, which can come with its own side effects.
As an alternative to pain pills, an oral pain gel, like Anbesol, can be used to relieve discomfort on the days when braces hurt the most. As an alternative, you can ask your orthodontist about dental wax as well, which can protect your lips from the edges of your brackets.
Ice is another conservative treatment for braces pain. Drinking ice water or using a cold pack on the outside of your mouth can relieve soreness and inflammation related to getting your braces tightened.
Finally, your diet can influence how painful your treatment feels. Eating hard, crunchy, or stringy foods with braces can cause them to warp or even break, which can hurt. Additionally, foods that require a strong bite can be uncomfortable for patients with sensitive teeth. Since the braces are already loosening the roots of your teeth, the added force of the bite into something hard, like a pretzel, can make the pain worse.
Prioritize soft foods on the day after each appointment to ease your discomfort as you get used to the new level of tightness.
Choose Reese Orthodontics
If you’re an adult who is considering braces, you need professional advice on your treatment and payment options. For orthodontic treatments in Charleston, SC, Reese Orthodontics offers the latest technology and treatment plans. Our advanced and comfortable orthodontic treatments can be customized to suit your needs. A consultation with Reese Orthodontics includes scans, a comprehensive exam, and a conversation with the orthodontist to discover which treatment options are right for you.
Schedule an appointment with us today to stay ahead of your oral health and receive the best possible treatment in your area.