Braces are a marvel of modern orthodontic treatment, but many people considering getting braces worry about potential discomfort. Most people know someone who has suffered through the discomfort of sore gums and mouth ulcers in the name of attaining a gorgeous smile – but advancements in orthodontic treatment have ensured that getting braces nowadays is far less painful than doing so 20, or even 10, years ago.
Wondering what causes the discomfort associated with traditional braces? Interested in modern orthodontic treatments designed to significantly reduce discomfort? Here’s what you need to know.
Why Do Metal Braces Cause Discomfort?
While the process of straightening your teeth with braces is bound to cause some mild discomfort – after all, your teeth are gradually shifting into their proper alignment – it’s not so much this process itself that causes irritation, but the issues associated with having the metal braces fitted permanently to your teeth.
With traditional metal braces, small metal brackets are bonded to the surface of the teeth, connected by metal wires. These wires are gradually tightened over time, to encourage the teeth to move into their correct positions.
For most people the process of their teeth gradually shifting is itself not painful. Many describe the feeling as more of a sense of pressure and tenderness – particularly within the first day or so of having the wires in their braces tightened. What causes the most discomfort and irritation for the majority of people is the braces themselves, as they rub against the soft flesh inside the mouth. This rubbing can cause irritation, swelling, ulcers and minor bleeding, which people usually alleviate with the use of gum gels, special waxes, and medicated mouth rinses.
How Comfortable are Modern Alternatives?
Orthodontic treatment has come a long way over the past decade, and though traditional metal braces are still a popular teeth-straightening option, a number of modern alternatives are giving adults and teens another option.
Clear and invisible braces, such as Invisalign braces, revolutionise the concept of traditional braces – replacing the need for metal brackets and wires with clear and comfortable aligners. These aligners are not bonded to the teeth with dental cement, the way metal braces are, but instead can be worn comfortably and discreetly over the teeth, and even taken out during meals and brushing.
Many orthodontic treatment patients first consider Invisalign braces because they’re practically invisible, but an added benefit is that these modern aligners are far more comfortable to wear. Because Invisalign braces are custom made to fit each patient’s mouth and unique bite, and because they’re made of smooth dental plastic, they do not cause any of the irritation and swelling associated with traditional braces.
There are no metal brackets or wires to rub on your gums, lips, or the inside of your mouth. And because there are no wires to tighten (patients are simply fitted with a new custom-made aligner tray every few weeks as their teeth gently shift into their correct position), the teeth-straightening process is gentler, causing little or no discomfort at all.
I’m Getting Braces – Is Invisalign Right For Me?
If you’re getting braces and wondering if Invisalign braces are a good option for you, book an appointment with a Fresh Smiles Orthodontic specialist to have your teeth assessed, and to discuss your needs and requirements.
Wondering which orthodontic treatment is right for you? Take a look at our treatment guide.