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Thinking about getting braces? Most people's concern about braces (and most orthodontic procedures) is, if it's going to hurt. If you are considering getting braces, it will be helpful you can get an overview of what it will be like when you have them on, so you won't get too surprised of how they will feel in your mouth.
Getting braces will admittedly be, not a walk in the park especially during the first few weeks. However, the discomfort will lessen in time and before you know it, it'll feel as though you never have them in the first place.
So what can be expected during the first appointment? Your orthodontist will initially clean your teeth and place the brackets with the arch wires (Invisalign an exception). The process usually last for about 1-2 hours and no pain or untoward sensation is expected. However, you will most likely start to experience a dull ache/uncomfortable feeling a few hours after the braces have been placed. This pain is due to the force exerted by the wires/brace on your teeth in order for them to start moving in their ideal positions.
Try pressing hard on your fingernail and this feeling will most likely be the same sensation you will start feeling on your mouth. Take note however, that pain tolerance and pain sensation will be different for each person and if the pain gets a little too much, you can take pain medication provided they are of the correct dosage. You will also be advised to go on a soft diet as your teeth might feel tender during the first few days.
Mouth sores can also be experienced in the next few days as your mouth is still adjusting to having brackets inside. Patients are advised not to move their lips too much to avoid rubbing of the inside of the cheek against the brackets. Some surfaces of the brackets are not exactly smooth to the touch and the areas that contact these become sore - you can place orthodontic wax (to be given by your orthodontist) on the brackets to address this.
It can be tempting to pick on your brackets after they've been placed but try to fight the urge as you might further irritate the areas that rub against them (also, it could prolong treatment if brackets get dislodged).
Most of the uncomfortable feeling will be at its peak a few hours after placement of brackets but will expectedly taper off within the first month.
Every month, your braces will be adjusted by your orthodontist to continue moving your teeth to their desired position. Unsurprisingly, you will feel some dull pain or discomfort afterwards but this sensation is relatively milder than when brackets and arch wires that were first placed. Tension caused by tightening of the wires for each adjustment is the major culprit for the discomfort but rest assured, this is tolerable and will eventually disappear.
Ideally, braces are worn for about a year or two before they are removed and you can finally rejoice in knowing that no pain is expected during removal (hooray!). If you're still squeamish about getting braces, just think about the payoff of a great smile once treatment is done and that will make it worth it.