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At any given time, approximately 4 million people in the United States are wearing braces. It’s a number that highlights just how common orthodontic treatment has become in recent years.

But for those considering or currently undergoing this dental procedure, one burning question often arises: “How long does it take to get used to braces?”

Adjusting to life with braces is a significant aspect of the orthodontic journey. These devices, designed to straighten teeth and correct bite issues, require adaptation both physically and mentally.

In this blog post, we’ll look at the process of getting accustomed to braces, offering insights and tips to ease the transition.

The Initial Adjustment Period

During the initial adjustment period after getting braces, it’s common to experience discomfort and soreness. Your teeth and gums may feel a little tender as they get used to the pressure of the braces. This discomfort typically lasts for a few days to a week and can be managed with over-the-counter pain relief medication and orthodontic wax to soothe any areas of irritation.

Eating certain foods may also pose a challenge during this time. Hard, crunchy, or sticky foods can be difficult to chew and may cause discomfort or even damage to the braces. It’s best to stick to softer foods that are easier on the teeth and braces, such as yogurt, mashed potatoes, and smoothies until your mouth adjusts.

Additionally, speaking with braces may feel awkward initially. You might notice changes in your speech patterns or difficulty pronouncing certain words. This is because the braces may affect the movement of your tongue and lips.

Practicing speaking slowly and enunciating clearly can help you adjust to speaking with braces more comfortably over time. Remember, it’s all part of the process, and with patience and practice, speaking with braces will become more natural.

Tips for Managing Discomfort

Managing discomfort while wearing braces is essential for a smoother adjustment period. As noted above, one helpful tip is to use orthodontic wax to alleviate irritation caused by brackets or wires rubbing against the inside of your mouth. Simply apply a small amount of wax to the area causing discomfort to create a protective barrier.

Another effective way to soothe sore gums is by rinsing with saltwater. Mix a teaspoon of salt into a glass of warm water and swish it around your mouth for about 30 seconds. The saltwater helps reduce inflammation and promotes healing, providing relief from discomfort.

When it comes to eating with braces, opting for soft foods can significantly ease chewing discomfort. As we have highlighted, foods like mashed smoothies and yogurt are gentle on your teeth and braces, minimizing any braces pain, or pressure while eating.

Progress Over Time

As time passes, you’ll likely notice a gradual decrease in discomfort as your mouth adjusts to wearing braces. Initially, the pressure and tightness you feel after adjustments may be intense, but as your teeth begin to shift into their new positions, this discomfort will lessen. Your gums and oral tissues will also toughen up over time, becoming less sensitive to the presence of the braces.

In addition to physical changes, you’ll likely experience improvement in speech clarity as your mouth muscles adapt to the presence of the braces. As we have said, initially, you may struggle with pronunciation and speech patterns due to the added bulk of the braces, but with practice, your speech will become clearer and more natural.

Another positive change you may notice over time is an increased ability to eat a wider variety of foods. As your mouth becomes accustomed to the braces, you’ll find that you can gradually reintroduce harder, crunchier, and stickier foods into your diet.

However, it’s important to continue practicing good oral hygiene and to be mindful of avoiding foods that could damage your braces to ensure the best results from your orthodontic treatment.

Psychological Adjustment

It’s important to also note that adjusting to wearing braces isn’t just about physical discomfort. It also involves a psychological adjustment. Initially, you might feel self-conscious about the appearance of braces, especially if they’re highly visible or if you’re worried about how others will perceive them. 

It’s natural to feel this way, but remember that braces are a temporary means to a beautiful smile. Over time, you’ll likely grow accustomed to the appearance of braces.

As you become more familiar with them and see the progress they’re making in straightening your teeth, you may even come to appreciate them as a step towards achieving your desired smile.

As your orthodontic treatment progresses, you’ll likely notice a boost in confidence. As your teeth start to align and your smile improves, you’ll feel more comfortable and confident in your appearance. This newfound confidence can have a positive impact on various aspects of your life, from social interactions to professional opportunities.

Remember, wearing braces is a temporary investment in your long-term oral health and self-confidence!

Individual Variations in Adjustment Time

Individual experiences with braces can vary widely, and there are several factors that can influence how quickly one adjusts to wearing them.

These factors include the severity of the orthodontic issues being addressed, the type of braces used, and individual pain tolerance levels. Additionally, some people may find it easier to adapt to braces than others based on factors such as age and overall oral health.

It’s important to remember that personal experiences with braces may vary. While some individuals may adjust relatively quickly and experience minimal discomfort, others may require more time and patience to adapt.

Each person’s orthodontic process is unique, and there’s no one-size-fits-all timeline for getting used to braces.

How Long Does It Take to Get Used to Braces?

So, how long does it take to get used to braces? Well, as we have highlighted above, the adjustment period varies for each individual. From managing discomfort to adapting speech and building confidence, the journey is unique for everyone.

For expert guidance and care, consider reaching out to Brushin’ on Belmont, a trusted Chicago pediatric dentist with 15 years of experience. Let us help you achieve a confident smile with braces and comprehensive dental services.