Should Severe Mouth Pain and Headaches Be Expected with Braces?

For how long after the installation of dental braces severe mouth pain and headaches be expected? Is it common to always have pain the entire duration of wearing braces?

Doctor Answers 3

Chewing Gum Shortens the Duration of Orthodontic Pain

Feeling sore after an orthodontic adjustment is not only normal, it is expected! Putting pressure on the teeth creates a kind of "Charlie Horse" (caused by lactic acid buildup) next to the teeth being moved that takes a day or two to go away. Just as massaging a Charlie Horse in a sore muscle will help it to go away fast (by increasing the circulation to the area), massaging or working the sore teeth can also shorten the length of time you'll be sore. A really great way to do this is chewing soft, sugarless chewing gum. Although the teeth are tender when you first start chewing, you'll notice that they'll start feeling better faster than if you just grin and bear it! :)

Albuquerque Orthodontist

There can be discomfort

There is usually no pain as the braces are attached to the teeth. However, in about three hours there can be discomfort, especially as one is chewing. It becomes worse the following day. The teeth are feeling back to normal in about three days. The subsequent appointments are not as noticeable.

The teeth can feel a lot better by chewing sugarless gum for about ten minutes right after the appointment. Taking some aspirin, Tylenol, or what ever one uses for pain right after the appointment helps. This is called pre-loading. Preloading often reduces the discomfort the next day even though the analgesic was taken the day before.

Gilbert H. Snow, DDS
Encino Orthodontist
3.7 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

Pain associated with braces

As a general rule, the discomfort associated with braces is of limited duration and associated with actually chewing.  This means that when you first get your braces you may feel pain for several days after the appointment mostly when you chew.  That is why we recommend soft foods after getting braces, and also after routine appointments, because avoiding hard or chewy foods at these times really does reduce the discomfort.  Most of the time with braces you should not feel pain at all.  Many patients report that the most noticeable discomfort they experienced when getting braces was irritation to their lips and cheek tissue.  This can be minimized by placing wax over the part of the braces that impinge on the tissue.  After several weeks the tissue will toughen up and the wax is often unnecessary thereafter.

Brian Povolny, DDS, PhD
Seattle Orthodontist
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.