This month, I’m reviewing the top 12 questions I receive as an orthodontic specialist. January is a perfect time to consider seeing the orthodontist, as new dental insurance benefits typically start at the beginning of the calendar year and most patients are making resolutions to improve their lives. Orthodontic treatment is one of the best investments my parents ever made for me.
When meeting with new patients, one of the most-common questions I’m asked relates to pain. “Do braces really hurt?” Some patients have heard from friends, parents or older siblings that braces are extremely painful. Although different patients have different pain tolerances, as a rule of thumb, I ask patients to take Tylenol or Advil one hour before their appointment to help alleviate any discomfort.
As for the reputation we’ve earned as orthodontists for causing excessive amounts of tooth pain, luckily those days are behind us. In years past, we used heavy, ugly, painful metal braces which required a lot of tightening and physical pain. Today’s braces are self-adjusting, the wires are light and comfortable and the most discomfort our patients report (on a scale of 1-10) is typically a 2 or 3 with mild cheek discomfort ranking at the top of the “irritation” category.
With adequate levels of pain control (over-the-counter pain medication like Tylenol), softer and cooler foods for the first few days, and wax placed strategically in areas of irritation; our patients report a fairly easy adjustment process to their new braces.
Still have questions? Check out my latest book “Stop Hiding Your Smile! A Parent’s Guide to Confidently Choosing an Orthodontist” or visit my website at http://www.burlesonorthodontics.com and sign up for a free report “The 10 Ten Things You Must Know Before Getting Braces or Invisalign.”
Here’s to your Spectacular Smile!
Dustin Burleson, DDS