Why Do My Braces Hurt So Bad I Want to Cry?

Why Do My Braces Hurt So Bad I Want to Cry?
November 1, 2023

Braces, widely utilized in orthodontics, align and correct teeth positioning, enhancing dental aesthetics and functionality. Although this treatment is instrumental in sculpting a more appealing smile, individuals often encounter some degree of discomfort or soreness as their teeth adjust to the braces over time. In fact, some individuals may find the pain so intense that they feel like crying. If you’re wondering why your braces hurt so bad and how to find relief, you’re in the right place. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the reasons behind the pain, offer tips for managing discomfort, and provide insights into the duration of braces pain.

Understanding the Initial Discomfort

When braces are first applied, there is usually little to no pain involved. Attaching braces is a meticulous procedure where each tooth receives a bracket adhered with specialized dental adhesive. Subsequently, an archwire threads through these brackets, effectively linking the apparatus. The application is generally pain-free, though it’s common to feel discomfort during adjustments as the dental professionals fine-tune the fit and tension of the braces. Additionally, the taste of the glue may be unpleasant. However, the brackets bonding to your teeth should not cause any pain. Following the bonding process, your orthodontist at a reputable dental office in Stockton, CA, will provide you with instructions for care and tools to manage any potential discomfort at home.

Coping with Discomfort After Getting Braces

After your braces are placed on your teeth, it’s common to experience some pain and discomfort. Feeling some initial discomfort is a typical reaction when your mouth acclimates to braces. These orthodontic devices exert consistent pressure to reposition your teeth, leading to a period of adjustment where your teeth, gums, lips, and tongue become accustomed to the new sensations and pressures involved. Here are some of the normal types of pain or discomfort you may experience:

  • Pressure on the teeth
  • Swollen or inflamed gums
  • Irritated cheeks, lips, and gums
  • Jaw tension
  • Headaches
  • Sensitivity to heat or cold
  • Light bleeding gums
  • Difficulty chewing food
  • A feeling of loose teeth

These sensations are part of the body’s adjustment process to the presence of the orthodontic device. Generally, such discomfort tends to subside after the initial few days as one becomes more accustomed to wearing braces.

Dealing with Pain during Braces Tightening

As you progress through your orthodontic journey, regular visits to the orthodontist for adjustments are necessary. Typically scheduled every 4 to 6 weeks, these sessions involve tightening the braces’ wires and sometimes changing the elastic bands. Adjustments are integral to guiding your teeth into their proper positions, but they can temporarily increase discomfort, akin to the initial sensations felt when the braces are applied. The sensation of tenderness following the adjustment of braces typically diminishes after a few days. To mitigate any soreness during this period, patients can find relief using over-the-counter pain medications per the recommended dosage. Additionally, the consumption of cold foods and drinks, like ice cream, frozen fruit, or a glass of cold milk, can provide a soothing effect and comfort to the affected areas in the mouth.

The Braces Removal Experience

Removing braces also referred to as de-bonding, is typically a pain-free experience that brings a sense of relief and anticipation as you get ready to see your new smile. During this appointment, the orthodontic staff will gently detach each bracket and clean away the dental adhesive from your teeth. The removal of metal bands and wires is done with care, and although it requires you to keep your mouth open for some time, discomfort is minimal. After your braces are off, you’ll begin the retention phase to preserve the alignment of your teeth. Your orthodontist might fit you with a bonded retainer cemented behind your teeth, or provide a removable retainer to wear as instructed. This step is crucial to ensure that your teeth stay in their corrected positions.

Retainers and Adjusting to New Sensations

When you start wearing a retainer after braces, it’s common to experience a bit of discomfort as your mouth gets used to the appliance. Whether your retainer is fixed or removable, your teeth and gums may need a short period to adapt. Adherence to wearing your retainer according to your orthodontist’s guidance is vital to preserve the alignment of your teeth post-treatment. If you notice discomfort that doesn’t improve, or if there is ongoing soreness, it’s important to contact your orthodontist. They can check to make sure the retainer fits correctly and isn’t applying undue pressure or causing any harm to your oral structures.

How Long Does Brace Pain Last?

The duration of braces pain varies from person to person. For most patients, the pain or discomfort associated with braces fades within a few days, whether it occurs after the initial bonding or during subsequent tightening appointments. It’s important to remember that some degree of pain is normal during orthodontic treatment because your teeth need to shift in order to achieve proper alignment. The pressure exerted on the teeth during this process can cause soreness, aching, or discomfort. However, the majority of patients report that the soreness or pain diminishes entirely within 1 to 5 days after braces are applied or tightened. If you experience persistent or worsening pain, it is advisable to contact your orthodontist to have your braces adjusted or checked for any loose components.

Treating Braces Pain at Home

For those navigating discomfort from braces, here’s a compilation of eight tried-and-true strategies to alleviate braces pain, providing you with comfort right in the sanctuary of your home:

  • Over-the-counter pain medication
  • Orthodontic wax
  • Oral analgesic
  • Cooling therapy
  • Saltwater rinse
  • Soft foods
  • Chewing to stimulate blood flow
  • Maintain good oral hygiene


Braces are an effective way to achieve a straight and beautiful smile. While they can cause discomfort and pain, especially during the initial stages and after tightening appointments, it’s important to remember that this is a normal part of the orthodontic process. By understanding the reasons behind braces pain and implementing strategies to manage discomfort, you can navigate your treatment journey with greater ease. At Morada Dental & Orthodontics, we understand that braces pain can be challenging.

If you’re looking for dental braces in Stockton, CA, we offer a range of orthodontic treatments tailored to your needs. Our skilled team is committed to guiding you on the path to a more confident and healthy smile. With customized orthodontic options, we’re ready to cater to your unique dental goals. Reach out to us to arrange a consultation where we can explore the ideal treatments for your smile transformation.