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Do Braces Hurt?

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Barakat Orthodontics

Dear Dr. Barakat,

We just found out my child needs braces. Do braces hurt? What kind of pain should my child expect from getting braces?

– Concerned Parent

Dear Concerned Parent,

First, welcome! You’re joining a community of “braces moms” who have all worried about this same thing with their kids. Let me reassure you that the process of getting and wearing braces is much easier than you are probably imagining. There is minimal pain, and it is usually manageable with home remedies and over-the-counter medications that you probably already have at home!

When your orthodontist places braces on their teeth, your child will feel minimal to no discomfort, although he or she will have to adjust to chewing during the first few days. I would recommend that you provide soft foods to your child during the first few days after placement for this reason. Over the first 3-4 days, your child’s teeth will start to re-align and he or she will feel some discomfort and soreness. At this point, over-the-counter pain medications can be used (following the recommended dosing directions) to alleviate the soreness. Your child can also apply dental wax to any edges that are wearing on the mouth tissue. Over time, the tissue will “toughen up,” and the wax won’t be needed as often.

After each visit to your child’s orthodontist for brace tightening, your child will again feel sore. He or she will probably need soft foods for a day or two until the soreness disappears. Saltwater rinses have also been known to help alleviate the discomfort. This will be a routine that your child adopts during braces treatment.

While the process of re-aligning the teeth is not without some discomfort, it is rarely painful. Pain medications, salt water rinses and a soft food diet will greatly reduce the discomfort your child feels during the application and tightening processes.

The benefits of your child having a straight, healthy and beautiful smile will far outweigh the minimal discomfort that will occur during the process. And remember, your orthodontist will guide your child and you every step of the process of achieving that AMAZING smile!

– Dr. Barakat


Dr. Rana Barakat, a board-certified specialist in Orthodontics, has been proudly serving Northern Virginia for 20-years! She has built her practice on a personal touch and excellent treatment. As a parent, she understands wanting the best for your children in giving them beautiful, confident smiles. She makes it a priority to ensure optimal results, but also believes that each patient’s experience during treatment is just as important as the clinical result. As the 2015-16 President of the Virginia Association of Orthodontists, Dr. Barakat’s dedication and expertise reflect why her peers continue to nominate her as a Top Dentist.

Barakat Orthodontics is located at 45745 Nokes Blvd., Ste. 175, Sterling, VA 20166. Connect with them by clicking: OnlineFacebookTwitter, and calling: (703) 433-9330. Download their free app: iTunesGoogle Play.

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