Are Braces Uncomfortable?

By August 15, 2017 February 20th, 2018 Blog, FAQ's, Life with Braces

If your child is about to get braces, you are probably wondering what to expect as far as discomfort. Your son or daughter may ask, “What does it feel like to get braces? Are braces uncomfortable?” In case you’ve never had braces yourself, we’ve put together some info to help you answer these questions. Plus, get tips on how to deal with mild discomfort from braces.

What to Expect When You First Get Your Braces Put On

First, we will prep and seal your teeth. Then, we will glue on your brackets (or braces). Next, we will place a wire (called an archwire) in the slots on your brackets. These first three steps are totally painless. Last, we will secure the archwire using ligatures in the color of your choice. You may feel just a little pressure once the ligatures are on. But that’s it! Easy, right?

Around 3–4 hours later is when you’re likely to feel some discomfort. But the good news is that it’s temporary. The vast majority of patients experience only mild levels of soreness, and it goes away after about 24–48 hours.

Why Are Braces Uncomfortable?

Braces work by putting force or pressure on your teeth to help gradually move them toward their ideal positions. The force created by the wire pushes or pulls on the tooth, cutting off blood flow to the tissue on one side, therefore causing the bone to resorb and allowing the tooth to move into that space. This causes lactic acid buildup and temporary inflammation around the root of the tooth. The inflamed tissue may feel sore for a day or two. Once your mouth adapts to the new position of the tooth, the soreness goes away.

What Can I Give My Child for Discomfort?

In the first 24–48 hours after getting braces put on (or after getting them ”tightened”), you can give your child over-the-counter medicines like Tylenol.

For more tips on how to relieve mild soreness, check out our previous post: How to Reduce Pain from Braces.

If you have any more questions—like “Are braces uncomfortable?” or “What is the best age for braces?”—browse our blog or contact us. Call our office at 636.825.1000 or email