Cavities, Bad Breath and Other Embarrassing Topics

Why You Shouldn't Have to Brace for Pain When Your Braces Are Adjusted

As the saying goes, "no pain, no gain." While braces allow you to get teeth that are straight and aligned, this process should not go hand in hand with pain. Having said that, there are some brief instances when your braces might give you a slight feeling of discomfort. But what causes this? And what can you do to overcome this discomfort?

Getting Used to the Sensation

The sheer physical presence of the braces can feel a little bit odd when they are first installed in your mouth. This shouldn't really be that much of a surprise, and the addition of metallic components in your mouth takes a little bit of getting used to. Before too long, you will largely forget that they're there. And yet there can be instances when your braces make their presence known once again.

Gentle Adjustment

The process of having your teeth straightened by braces is one of gentle manipulation. Each periodic adjustment of the archwire results in the wire being shortened, delicately manipulating your teeth into the correct position. This new positioning can cause the nerves in your teeth and jaw to complain, albeit briefly, as they adjust to their new alignment. Any discomfort should be mild and should subside relatively quickly.


During this brief period of adjustment, you might experience sensitivity when using your teeth for their primary function, namely eating. Avoid hard foods or anything that might require too much chewing. Stick to soft foods during this period so that you don't aggravate your teeth as they are getting used to their new position. A cold compress applied to your jaw can be of benefit, and the same goes for over the counter pain relief. But what if this discomfort lingers?

An Additional Adjustment

If your teeth still feel sensitive with the corresponding discomfort for an extended period after having your braces adjusted, it can be wise to visit your dentist or orthodontist again. While the utmost care is taken when adjusting the archwire, it might be that it has been shortened too much in a single session. This is not always possible to foresee, since everyone's teeth can react differently to the process. An additional adjustment to archwire, giving it a small amount of extra length can overcome this. A new schedule for the adjustment of the archwire might be necessary for the remainder of your time with the braces to prevent this excessive discomfort from recurring.

Some minor discomfort might be experienced when your braces are adjusted, but be sure to seek professional assistance if this sensation doesn't quickly subside.