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May 15, 2014

Do Braces Hurt?

Admit it: it doesn’t matter if you are young or old, male or female, if you have considered orthodontic treatment you’ve probably asked this question, or at least silently considered it. Of course, it’s a completely reasonable question; admittedly, braces are an invasive procedure. After all, they do move your teeth from one spot to another!So, if you’re one of the people wondering, the answer to the question “do braces hurt?” is…Not necessarily.There are many factors at play in determining whether your braces will “hurt”. For the most part, however, it is not a matter of pain as much as it is discomfort. And this discomfort can pale in comparison to the psychological stress caused from not having a smile you can be confident in.There may also be a difference in comfort between traditional braces and Invisalign which your orthodontist will explain in detail before you determine the best course of treatment for you. Regardless of the type of treatment you choose, any discomfort you might experience can be simply and effectively managed with a traditional over the counter medication like Tylenol or Advil.

Traditional Braces

After x-rays and pictures are taken, sometimes the treatment option chosen is traditional braces. In this case the teeth will have an adhesive applied to help cement bond to the surface of the tooth so the brackets can be applied. New technology means the orthodontist can do this quickly, with little discomfort to the patient.Sometimes traditional braces can irritate the inside of the mouth when they are first applied. The gums and cheeks may rub against the new wire and brackets. Many people find dental wax applied to the “sharp spots” helps with this temporary discomfort. Your orthodontist will be sure to tuck any wires so that you don’t get them catching on the inside of your mouth, but you can always go back in for a slight readjustment if you need one.

Invisalign

This is a system that uses clear aligners based on each individual’s mouth and unique treatment plan. These aligners are made of a smooth, comfortable, BPA-free plastic that won't irritate the wearer’s cheeks and gums like traditional metal braces often do. The aligners are worn by the patient, who only removes the aligners when they eat or brush and floss their teeth. As each set of aligners is periodically changed, the teeth gently and gradually begin to shift into the desired place.

Mild Discomfort

No matter which type of braces are applied, they all work by the same principle – exerting gentle pressure on the teeth to move them into place. As the teeth begin to shift, the braces will need to be adjusted or the Invisalign tray changed. These adjustments sometimes mean slight discomfort for a short time as the teeth are guided into their new position. These adjustment appointments may be made every few weeks or even monthly depending on need.A little discomfort is a small price to pay for improving a smile that will enhance your confidence and self-esteem, which can be truly life changing.

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