Q : Do braces hurt?


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At Cleveland Orthodontics in Middlesbrough on Teesside we fit braces to hundreds of new patients every year so we have a good idea of how most people find their “brace journey”…we ask a lot of them about it as part of our “feedback” surveys.

Whether it’s with metal braces, white braces, Damon braces or Invisalign, most people find braces a bit uncomfortable at some stage…but say that it’s well worth it in the end. Others have no problems at all whereas a small few seem to struggle a little more.

It’s like a pair of new shiny shoes…a bit tight at first, but once they are worn in, they feel fine.

Let’s go through the stages of orthodontic treatment that can sometimes be a bit uncomfortable…and what things you can do to cope easily.

1. First things first…don’t get wound up!

Some (usually younger) patients can exaggerate about how “painful” it is to have a brace if they have just had one themselves. Older siblings are particularly guilty.

Ignore all of this…it’s just talk. If it was really that bad, orthodontic practices like ours and others across the country would not be in business.

2. Impressions before braces

Impressions are taken before braces are fitted (and also after they are taken off). This allows us to make models of your teeth so that we can plan your treatment. Check out this clip of one our treatment coordinators having her impressions done.

It’s a bit of a mouthful, but the trick here is to relax, breath through your nose and think about something else! It only takes a few seconds for the stuff to set.

Read more about why we take impressions.

3. Fitting braces

Braces are glued on. No injections, no drills…just glue!

All you need to do is sit still, open wide and relax for 45 minutes. There’s a bit of water squirted around your mouth at various stages, but your dental nurse will “hoover” that up.

Some people bring in their headphones so that they can zone out of the entire experience (and that’s just the parents!).

Once the brackets (squares) are glued on, it’s a case of putting the wires on. If you’re having metal braces, you can choose your colours.

Watch this clip of one of our young patients who recently had her braces fitted. She seems pretty chilled at the end of it all!

4. The first week

Ulcers are the main problem as your lips, cheeks and tongue will be rubbing against the braces.

In your Brace Care Kit there will be some wax that you can press over the bits of the brace that are rubbing.

You can also use the fabulously named “GishyGoo” which comes in a tube and can be “glooped” onto the brace bits that are causing the bother.

All this is temporary. After a week or so, the inner lining of your mouth will thicken up (like callouses on your feet if you do loads of running) so ulcers will disappear.

5. Brace tightening visits

These are really not too bad. We may need to just tie your wires a bit tighter, or even put new wires in. Your teeth may feel a bit tender afterwards as your teeth start to move…but only for 24 hours or so usually.

6. Braces off!

The brackets (which are the squares that are glued to the teeth) are just “clicked off” …takes about a minute or so. We then polish the glue off, take more impressions and then that’s it…FINISHED!

Have you had braces yourself? How did you find it? Can you recommend any tips on how you managed to keep your braces comfortable?

About Cleveland Orthodontics

Our specialist-led practice has been established since 1996 and provides brace treatment to people of all ages from across the North East, including Middlesbrough, Yarm, Stockton-on-Tees, Billingham and Redcar.

We offer NHS orthodontic treatment for children and a range of modern white and “invisible” braces for adults of all ages such as Invisalign. FREE consultations are available… you can either telephone for an appointment on 01642 243 020 or book through our website.