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Are braces painful – what can I expect?

For those who haven’t experienced braces, one of the most common questions is: “Will they cause discomfort?” It’s only natural people want to know what they can expect or how braces may impact their life.

The good news is braces are a lot less intrusive than many believe and any discomfort tends to be temporary. So here’s a quick run down of exactly what to expect.

The planning stages

Before any orthodontic appliance is fitted, your orthodontist will assess the position and condition of your teeth. This involves taking moulds and X-rays to gain a thorough knowledge of where your teeth and bite are now and where they need to go.

This process is fairly simple and comfortable.

Fitting the braces

Fitting traditional braces is a process that usually up to half an hour. During the fitting, your teeth will be cleaned and the brackets will be affixed to teeth using a special adhesive. The brackets are then connected to an archwire, and the process of teeth straightening begins.

Most people do not find the process of fitting of braces uncomfortable or painful.

A couple of hours after your braces have been fitted you may begin to feel a dull ache in your teeth and your teeth may be tender.

We recommend a soft diet and over the counter analgesics to relieve the pain.

The first weeks

The first week with the braces on can be an adjustment as your mouth adapts to having the brackets and archwires and you get comfortable with having the braces on.  

You may find your mouth or lips rub against the brackets. This is temporary and can be reduced by using orthodontic wax to cover brackets and by rinsing with warm salty water to help any ulcers heal.

By the end of the first week or so any discomfort should subside.   

Will my speech be affected?

Having braced can take a little getting used to, and during the first couple of weeks you may find you need to move your lips more to properly enunciate speech, or that they naturally move differently to accommodate this new fixture in your mouth. This also subsides quickly and soon you’ll almost forget you have them.


Adjustments, which can involve the insertion of stronger archwires, may cause a similar sensation to the period after you first had your braces fitted, but any discomfort tends to last for a much shorter period of time.

The good news is this means the braces are doing their job, shifting teeth into the right position and altering the bite.

Removing your braces

Just like the application of braces, there is very little discomfort associated with their removal. Meanwhile, excitement tends to make this appointment an enjoyable affair. Your teeth will then be cleaned of any residual adhesive and a beautiful smile will be revealed.


For many people the final stage of braces involves having fixed retainers and/or wearing a removable retainer. Moulds of the teeth will again be taken to create the best fit of the fixed and/or removable retainer. As retainers are used to keep teeth in position, rather than applying any pressure to move them, they are not uncomfortable at all.

About Norwest

Norwest Orthodontics specialises in helping you achieve a great smile, no matter your age. We

Work with you throughout the orthodontic process to ensure your treatment is comfortable, and you always know what to expect.

We have a range of treatment options available for adults and teens that includes traditional braces and extends to the discrete, removeable Invisalign. You can learn more about our services, or contact us here to make an appointment here.

Are braces painful – what can I expect?

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