Orthodontic treatment aims to successfully align teeth and restore occlusal issues, enhancing both aesthetics and oral function. However, a common occurrence during orthodontic treatment is dental pain, which can range from mild discomfort to severe pain. Mild tooth discomfort during orthodontic treatment is usually normal and not a cause for concern, however severe pain warrants immediate investigation to identify or rule out any underlying dental issues.

Dental pain: Causes of occurrence during orthodontic treatment

The main cause of dental pain during orthodontic treatment is the application of force in order to move the teeth into their correct position. This force stimulates the surrounding tissues, including the periodontal ligament, causing discomfort or pain. Also, during the initial stages of orthodontic treatment, which can be performed with fixed appliances such as metal braces or with removable appliances such as Invisalign aligners, patients often experience mild to moderate discomfort. This occurs as the teeth and gums adapt to the pressure exerted by the orthodontic appliances. As the teeth begin to move and align, the pressure applied can cause pain and discomfort in the surrounding tissues. This discomfort is often perceived as dental pain. Finally, the components that make up braces can rub against the soft tissues of the mouth, causing irritation or sores that can lead to localized pain.

How normal is dental pain during orthodontic treatment?

Experiencing some degree of tooth pain or discomfort during orthodontic treatment is normal and expected. This discomfort usually appears within the first few days after the application of the orthodontic appliances. The pain is often described as dull and tends to subside within a week as the teeth and surrounding tissues adjust to the controlled pressure placed on them. Additionally, after adjustments, there may be periods of discomfort, especially when the orthodontist tightens the brace wires or the patient is asked to fit the next pair of Invisalign treatment aligners in order for orthodontic treatment to proceed. This temporary discomfort should gradually subside as the teeth adjust to the new appliance. More generally, traditional metal or ceramic braces are accompanied by more intense discomfort than Invisalign transparent braces, as the removable and easily tolerated nature of the latter prevents irritation within the oral cavity.

When is a medical evaluation necessary?

While mild to moderate discomfort is considered normal during orthodontic treatment, there are instances where severe tooth pain may indicate an issue that requires medical evaluation. First of all, severe, persistent pain that lasts more than a week after fitting or fitting orthodontic appliances often indicates another problem. This problem can be an inflammation or a protruding wire causing irritation on a particular tooth.

Also, any swelling, bleeding or presence of pus around the gums or teeth should not be ignored. These symptoms may indicate an infection or injury that requires immediate attention. If the patient experiences trauma to the mouth, such as a hit to the face or a fall, resulting in a severe dental pain or tooth damage, seeking immediate dental care is vital. Patients experiencing any of the above symptoms or who are concerned about the intensity or duration of dental pain they are experiencing is important to contact their orthodontist or dentist immediately in order to find the problem and facilitate targeted treatment. Most of the time, taking an analgesic, such as depon or algofren, immediately relieves the symptoms. The Invisalign Orthodontist in Athens, Dr. Angeliki Nikolopoulou, closely monitors each patient, in order to ensure a smooth and successful orthodontic treatment experience.