Unfortunately, braces hurt & that’s a fact. But many don’t understand the real reasons they cause discomfort.
For most of the patients, the process looks simple. This orthodontic device applies a gentle force that moves your teeth to a more desirable position.
But when scientists looked into what was really happening when people wear braces, they found something surprising.
Braces don’t move your teeth through your gums like a spoon through thick, cold treacle. Instead, they break down your jawbone to make way for your teeth and rely on the immune system to pick up the pieces.
It works something like this. The dentist fits an orthodontic device, like a brace, which then transmits force down to the roots of the teeth. The roots then press against the gum and bone socket, cutting off the blood flow to the surrounding cells.
The immune system does not like this, so it rushes to the site to restore the flow of blood and fix the problem. To conduct repairs, though, the immune cells have to remove calcium from the surrounding jawbone which creates the space for the teeth to move.
How Much Does Teeth Straightening Hurt?
Like most things, it depends on who you ask.
When you first have traditional wire braces fitted, it usually doesn’t hurt at all. The orthodontist fixes the posts to your teeth, threads a wire through, and then tightens it to some predefined level.
Pain starts to emerge after a few days as the immune system gets to work, trying to repair the damage being done at the interface between the root of the tooth and the gum.
Most people who wear braces experience a little soreness after one or two days, especially when chewing. You can also experience discomfort on your cheeks if you’re wearing a wire brace. The wire and the rest of the apparatus can rub, causing soreness.
Finally, you can also get a sore tongue, depending on how you chew. Your tongue can rub against the braces, damaging the surface.
Does Tightening Hurt Your Teeth?
After a few weeks, your orthodontist will ask you to return to the clinic for a tightening session. Here, he or she winds up the wire, increasing the tension again.
Most people go through a similar process as before. The initial tightening doesn’t hurt, but then after a couple of days, soreness can creep in – something that can last a couple of weeks.
Are There Any Pain-Free Teeth Straightening Methods?
While there are no pain-free straightening methods, there are orthodontic devices that arguably cause LESS pain than regular wire braces. Modern, custom-made invisible aligners are, in many ways, state of the art. While they apply force to your teeth in much the same way as traditional braces, they do so in a way that generates less pain. For one, the alignment process is more graduated. Every 10 days, you change your alignment to a new one. And second, there are no wires and posts to cause soreness on the cheeks or tongue – just smooth material covering the teeth.