Orthodontic braces are generally not painful, and you shouldn't be afraid to get them because you're worried about pain. Putting braces on doesn't require needles, sharp tools or anesthesia. An orthodontist will clip removable braces or glue fixed braces to your teeth.
The most painful part of getting braces is when your orthodontist makes room for the braces' anchors by making spaces between your molars. The orthodontist separates your molars rapidly, which causes the pain. The spacers are only in place for a couple of weeks before the orthodontist removes them and fits your braces [source: Bracesreview.com].
A little bit of discomfort is normal -- but temporary -- for the first few days after your braces have been fitted or adjusted [source: Australian Society of Orthodontists]. But just like with a pair of new shoes, your braces should be comfortable after the initial adjustment period [source: Braces.org].
Discomfort from braces varies from tenderness when biting to slightly sore or loose-feeling teeth. To ease the pain you can:
- Eat soft foods like yogurt, pudding and applesauce [source: Canadian Association of Orthodontists].
- Take a non-aspirin over-the-counter pain medication.
- Rinse your mouth with warm salt water.
- Place a heating pad or warm washcloth on your jaw.
If you find that the wires from your braces are rubbing against your cheeks, tongue or lips, you can move the wire away with a cotton swab or cover it with cotton or a piece of orthodontic wax. You might even try clipping a stray end of a wire with scissors or nail clippers that you've first washed and sterilized with alcohol.
If you are in a great deal of pain from your braces, you should discuss it with your orthodontist.