Is orthodontics painful?

girl with orthodontics who is suffering from pain cause by orthodontics

This is one of the most common questions by people who intend to carry out orthodontics due to thinking about wires and brackets. Parents, whose children need orthodontics treatment, often ask: “Do brackets hurt my child?” In this article, we will try to answer this question as much as possible.

Experiencing slight pain and discomfort in orthodontics treatment is normal. Pain is a mental response to stimulants during the orthodontics treatment, which is considered one of the main reasons for withdrawal from the treatment. Orthodontics treatments such as placing brackets and wires on teeth, placing fixed and removable appliances, and removing the brackets cause mild pain for the patients.

What factors can affect orthodontics pain?

Orthodontists are of the opinion that orthodontics pain depends on various factors such as age, sex, each patient’s pain threshold, amount of applied force, patient’s mental status, person’s stress, and the patient’s previous experiences of pain. In fact, forces applied on the teeth are followed by inflammatory reactions including pain in the mouth environment caused by teeth movement. This reaction results in changes in the blood flow after the application of an orthodontics force.

girl with orthodontics is having toothache

The relationship between the mental health of the patient and perceiving orthodontic pain was studied by some researchers. A person’s “physiological and psychological sensitivity” can be a major factor in the severity of the tissue discomfort caused by the physical impact of orthodontics appliances. Consequently, the perceived pain in the patients does not seem to be directly dependent on the applied orthodontics pain but it is related to the mentality of people as well.

In a study, approximately 95% of the patients reported that they experienced pain during the orthodontics treatment. Orthodontics pain starts within 4 hours and gets worse within the subsequent 24 hours, and finally, subsides within 7 days.

What causes orthodontic pain?

Most of the children undergoing orthodontics treatment use fixed orthodontics brackets to fix their teeth, which are mainly made of steel, ceramics, or porcelain. Considering that brackets can straighten teeth through the application of slight pressure, some patients might experience sensitivity or red gums. The amount of pain in each person depends on the treatment method and their physiology.

Using brackets should not cause pain during the orthodontics treatment, however, sometimes at the beginning of the process, the patient might sense a painful feeling in their mouth. Brackets of your child might create sore spots on the gums or lips at first but the pain will subside soon and the gums and lips of the patients will recover during the treatment.

Does orthodontics pain affect patients’ satisfaction & their daily activities?

A well-known proven fact is that orthodontic pain has a significant impact on the daily activities of patients. Almost all patients who underwent orthodontics treatment have a problem with chewing and eating food. Sometimes the patient might need to change their diet due to the difficulty of chewing and moving their teeth. For instance, eating hard food that requires more chewing is not recommended for a period of time.

the woman took her hand on her cheek due to toothache by orthodontic treatment

Pain is a natural part of the treatment that patients should accept for correcting the abnormalities in their jaw and teeth. Within dentistry, or in orthodontics for straight teeth; tolerating a small amount of pain is inevitable. In general, some patients experience orthodontic pain and some do not. In orthodontics, in most scenarios, soreness is due to your teeth moving toward a standard position. But of course, these are all carefully planned by your orthodontist.

What can we do in case of pain?

If you or your child felt pain for more than a few days after the orthodontics, or if you are feeling anxious or have any questions, immediately pay a visit to your physician or dentist. It is important to know that your dentist understands your pain and will try to relieve your stress and anxiety. If necessary, the dentist can find out whether your anxiety is reasonable or not by X-ray imaging.

In case of any wound on the gums or lips, the orthodontists recommend using painkillers in the first days of the treatment which is effective in fixing this problem. It is important to read the instructions of the respective medication to ensure that this drug is suitable for you or your child and its consumption has no side effects for you or your kid.

smiling girl with orthodontics is holding a slice of watermelon

In scenarios with brackets, a lot is possible. For example, if the adjustment of the brackets causes sensitivity the orthodontist can adjust the brackets for the patient’s comfort and treat the sensitivity. In most orthodontics methods, the patient must visit the dentist every 6 to 8 weeks for brackets, and for Invisalign, it may differ. The patient who receives a service might feel mild discomfort after the adjustment, however, they must be informed that all these problems are part of the process of forming new, lovely, and straight teeth. After the first adjustment or the subsequent adjustments of brackets and wires, the pain does not last more than three days.

The person undergoing orthodontics treatment should eat soft foods on the first days and avoid hard foods such as French toast or carrots. They also should cut their food into smaller pieces and then eat them. In addition, removing the brackets and wires at the end of each course of treatment causes no damage or injuries to the patient. The patients who underwent orthodontics treatment will be happy to display their new smile.

Orthodontics Pain FAQ?

1-what is the reason for orthodontic pain in the first days?

Orthodontics is a treatment in which the orthodontist intentionally applies the required forces and traction on your teeth and makes them move. During the first three to four days they can cause pain. In these cases, the orthodontist subscribes to sedatives.

2-Can we avoid brushing our teeth due to pain?

No, if you do not brush your teeth and ignore your oral hygiene in the first days on account of pain, it can easily lead to gum diseases and infection.

3-Is orthodontics pain the same in all patients?

Tolerating pain is different in each patient and depends on the following factors: Age, each patient’s pain threshold, amount of applied force, mental status, patient’s stress, and the patient’s previous experiences of pain. The force applied to teeth is the feeling of pain caused by teeth movement.

4-What types of food should we eat after orthodontics examinations and adjustment of teeth?

When the wires are changed, the teeth and gums become more sensitive. Accordingly, during this time it is better to avoid hard food and raw vegetables and eat soft foods such as soup.

5-Is saline mouth rinse effective in reducing orthodontic pain?

Yes, warm salt water mouth rinse is among the fastest ways to reduce pain. Salt possesses natural and therapeutic properties that can help to reduce your pain.

6-Is pain a bad sign in orthodontics treatment?

After changing the orthodontics wires, some patients feel pain and some do not. Feeling or not feeling any pain is neither good nor bad.

Dr Abdolreza Jamilian Orthodontist

About Dr Abdolreza Jamilian Orthodontist

Dr. Jamilian, an orthodontist, has a specialized fellowship in orthodontic surgery and maxillofacial abnormalities and is a professor in the orthodontics department of the Dentistry School of the Islamic Azad University. He is member of Iranian and European Board of Orthodontics (EBO) and is a member of the Iranian, American and European Orthodontists Association.

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