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Do Braces Hurt?

Dentist with Smiling Patient

“Do braces hurt?” This is one of the most common questions that patients have when they come to the orthodontist. Whether the patient is an adult or a child, this can be a nerve-inducing concern for them as they consider their orthodontic options.


As a crewmember at the Orthospaceship, I have seen hundreds of patients get braces and proceed with their journey through orthodontics, but in addition, I was also fortunate enough to be a patient of Dr. Hakim’s. This gave me the experience of empathizing with our patients as I became an adult with braces and, I have to say, it wasn’t that bad.

I too had some concerns about what level of pain might be involved, but to be honest it wasn’t a huge concern to me because I knew I wanted to get braces regardless. I was willing to do anything to get a straight, beautiful, healthy smile. With that said, I think the attitude a patient approaches orthodontics with goes a long way in helping them through the process.

In the spirit of honesty, I will say there is some discomfort involved with having braces, we are moving teeth after all. The level of that discomfort is going to vary from patient to patient depending on the treatment involved and the individual’s pain tolerance. This being the case, I can’t say exactly what your experience will be, but I can share with you the complete truth about my own experience.

Girl Admiring Braces in a Mirror
Girl Admiring Braces in a Mirror ca. 2000

When my braces were first put on, I was sore for about the first week. I would say it felt like having a toothache. By sticking with soft foods, cold foods, and taking pain relievers as needed, it was completely tolerable. Each time I would have a wire changed or an adjustment, there will be a similar discomfort for a few days after, but with these appointments being an average of every 8-10 weeks, it wasn’t that often. I’d have a few days of annoyance, but then it was easy-going for two months!

The most uncomfortable experience I had with my braces was when I first received my rubber bands about halfway through my treatment. The first 36 hours were quite unpleasant, but I kept wearing them and didn’t take them off (other than to eat or brush) because I knew they were required in order to correct my bite. However, after that first day and a half, I got used to them and it was no problem wearing them. In fact, I got so used to the rubber bands that I’d often start to eat lunch and forget I was wearing them!


All in all, the answer to the question “Do braces hurt?” is yes…sometimes they do hurt. Unfortunately, a little discomfort is part of the process, but it’s not unbearable and it’s definitely worth it in the end. If I had to do it all over again, I would do it in a heartbeat because there is nothing better than finally being proud of my teeth and smile!

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