How Much Do Braces Hurt on a Scale 1-10?

If you or your child needs braces, one of the most common questions is how much do braces hurt? This is a valid concern, and the answer can vary depending on several factors. In this article, we’ll discuss the pain associated with braces, how to manage it, and what to expect during the treatment process.

Understanding the Discomfort Associated with Braces

The pain caused by braces is not the same for everyone. The level of discomfort depends on the individual, their pain tolerance, and the severity of the orthodontic issues being treated. Typically, braces will cause some discomfort for the first few days after they are installed and after every adjustment appointment.

When braces are first installed, they will cause some discomfort. This discomfort is usually caused by the brackets and wires rubbing against the cheeks and lips, and the teeth being pushed into a new position. This pain can range from a mild soreness to more intense pain that makes it difficult to eat or speak.

After each adjustment appointment, the braces will be tightened, which can cause a similar type of discomfort. The level of pain after each appointment can also vary depending on how much the braces were adjusted.

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Managing Braces Pain

While braces can cause discomfort, there are several things you can do to manage the pain:

Over-the-Counter Pain Relief Medication

Over-the-counter pain relief medication, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, can be effective in managing braces pain. It’s important to follow the dosage instructions and avoid taking more than recommended.

Orthodontic Wax

Orthodontic wax can be applied to the brackets and wires to help reduce the pain caused by rubbing against the cheeks and lips. This wax creates a barrier between the braces and the soft tissues of the mouth, reducing irritation.

Soft Foods

Eating soft foods, such as soups, yogurt, and smoothies, can help reduce the pain caused by braces. Avoid hard or crunchy foods, which can make the pain worse.

Ice Packs

Applying ice packs to the face can help reduce swelling and numb the pain. Wrap the ice pack in a towel and apply it to the affected area for 15 to 20 minutes at a time.

What to Expect During Treatment

Braces treatment can last anywhere from several months to a few years, depending on the severity of the orthodontic issues being treated. During this time, it’s essential to attend all scheduled appointments with your orthodontist, who will make adjustments to your braces.

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The frequency of these appointments will depend on your individual treatment plan, but most patients visit their orthodontist every 4 to 8 weeks. During these appointments, the orthodontist will tighten the braces, which can cause some discomfort.

It’s important to maintain good oral hygiene during treatment, as braces can make it difficult to clean teeth properly. Brush and floss regularly, and use an interdental brush to clean between the brackets and wires.


In conclusion, braces can cause some discomfort, but it is manageable. The level of pain varies depending on the individual and the severity of the orthodontic issues being treated. Over-the-counter pain relief medication, orthodontic wax, soft foods, and ice packs can all help manage the pain caused by braces.

It’s important to attend all scheduled appointments with your orthodontist and maintain good oral hygiene during treatment. By doing so, you can ensure the best possible outcome and minimize the discomfort associated with braces.

If you have any concerns about the pain associated with braces or the treatment process, speak to your orthodontist. They can provide you with more information and advice on how to manage any discomfort you may experience.