For those considering embarking on a journey towards a straighter smile, it’s completely understandable to have concerns about the discomfort you may experience along the way. After all, braces bring about significant changes to your mouth in a relatively short amount of time, and with change often comes some degree of discomfort. One question that frequently comes up is whether braces can cause headaches. In this blog post, we will explore this question further and provide helpful tips so you feel more confident and comfortable during the braces treatment process.

Do Braces Cause Headaches?

Identifying the direct cause of headaches can be difficult due to various contributing factors. However, braces do have the potential to prompt headaches, especially when they are first put on or not adjusted correctly. The significant changes that braces bring to the mouth can cause varying levels of discomfort and soreness, which may occasionally result in a headache. This discomfort is generally mild and temporary. As your body adjusts to the changes, any aches should subside within 4-7 days.

It is important to note other factors like stress, dehydration, lack of sleep, or underlying medical conditions may also contribute to headaches. If persistent headaches occur while wearing braces, it is recommended to consult with an orthodontist or healthcare provider to identify the root cause and determine the appropriate treatment options.

Factors That Can Contribute to Headaches with Braces

To minimize the potential for headaches caused by braces, it’s important to have a clear understanding of the changes that take place in the mouth during treatment and take steps to minimize discomfort. Lowering discomfort levels will, in turn, reduce the likelihood of headaches occurring as a result of braces. Below are the most significant factors that lead to headaches from braces:

Pressure on Teeth and Gums

Braces are designed to gradually move teeth into their proper alignment using wires and brackets. However, as this realignment occurs, pressure is placed on the teeth and gums which can result in soreness and inflammation. With time, the mouth adapts to this pressure and discomfort typically subsides. As a result, any potential for braces to cause headaches is likely limited to the installation process or immediately following adjustments.

Changes in Bite or Jaw Alignment

Braces can alter the bite or alignment of the jaw, potentially leading to tension and strain in the jaw muscles. As these muscles are closely connected to the head and neck, this increased tension can result in the development of headaches. If you experience chronic jaw discomfort while wearing braces, it is important to consult with your orthodontist. While some discomfort is to be expected, persistent or severe symptoms may require additional attention.

Mouth Ulcers or Irritation

Wearing braces can lead to mouth irritation or sores due to constant rubbing against the soft tissues. If these sores are left untreated, they may develop into more serious mouth ulcers resulting in additional symptoms, such as fever or headaches. To prevent this, it’s important to use orthodontic wax in areas of irritation caused by braces and maintain good oral hygiene.

Pain Management for Headaches Caused By Braces

Good oral hygiene, proper pain management, and good communication with your orthodontist will all lower the risk of your braces causing headaches. However, if you do happen to experience a headache while wearing braces, there are several strategies you can try to alleviate the discomfort, such as avoiding certain foods or drinks that can exacerbate headaches, or using pain relievers as needed. The best way to avoid pain with braces is to be proactive, learn what to expect from the treatment process, and don’t be afraid to ask questions! 

While braces can cause headaches in some individuals, they are generally a safe and effective way to achieve a beautiful smile. By understanding the potential sources of headaches from braces and implementing strategies to manage and prevent them, you can minimize discomfort and ensure a successful orthodontic treatment.

Visit Frey Orthodontics for Advanced Braces Care

At Frey Orthodontics, we understand the discomfort and potential side effects associated with wearing braces, and we strive to provide the best care possible to minimize these issues. Dr. Frey will work with you to ensure your braces are adjusted properly and that any discomfort or pain is minimized. Schedule a free consultation at our Algonquin or Naperville location today to get started!