When an orthodontist first applies braces to a patient, it is common to experience a little discomfort. One of the natural side effects can be headaches, but it’s not a cause for serious concern. Here’s what causes headaches and what you can do to relieve them.


What Causes Dental Brace Headaches?

Traditional metal bracesHeadaches are a common side effect of braces because the mouth isn’t used to the wires and brackets on the teeth and gums yet. The new equipment tightens and stretches the tissue and nerves in new ways, causing soreness in your teeth and gums as well as potentially giving you a headache. The minor strains on your jaw as the teeth realign can also be the root of temporary headaches.

Headaches can recur after an adjustment appointment. During the adjustment, the orthodontist may need to tighten the wires, creating renewed pressure on the teeth like when they initially put the braces on. In both instances, this feeling of tightness should subside after the first few days, alleviating any tension headaches.


Can Aligner Trays Cause Headaches?

Some patients will also get headaches from aligner solutions like Invisalign, especially at first or when it’s time to change the aligner trays. The aches can happen for the same reason as conventional dental braces: the shifting of teeth strains the jaw, causing tension pain.


What If My Headaches Last Longer Than A Few Days?

If you experience frequent headaches every time you receive an adjustment, you may want to talk to your orthodontist to make sure there isn’t another reason for your discomfort.  Often, with a slight adjustment, or visit to your physician, your headaches will lessen or leave altogether!


Can I Alleviate The Headaches?

taking medication for headache

Even though they are temporary, the headaches caused by braces are still a nuisance. A pain reliever such as aspirin or ibuprofen can help immensely with any headache caused by braces. Only take the recommended dosage of over-the-counter medication. As well, try not to irritate the teeth and jaws further. Try to avoid chewy types of food and eat softer foods while adjusting to your braces.

For some patients, braces can even relieve headaches! If you have a misaligned bite and crooked teeth, realigning your teeth can help reduce headaches caused by something called a temporomandibular joint disorder or TMJ. TMJ is a painful condition that affects the joint where the upper and lower jaws meet. A common side effect of TMJ is headaches. By aligning your teeth and jaws, you can solve one of the major causes of TMJ.

We don’t like to hear that our patients are enduring pain and headaches. If you are experiencing long-term or severe headaches from your braces, contact us right away!