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Do Teeth Get More Sensitive With Braces?

woman with braces

Remember when you were a kid and ice cold popsicles stood no chance against your chompers? Now the thought of biting into a popsicle with your front teeth probably sends shivers down your spine. That’s because our teeth can become more sensitive as we age. This is normal!

But is it just age, or can braces make your teeth more sensitive to cold? Could tooth sensitivity be caused by any underlying issues? Let’s explore tooth sensitivity with braces.

What causes sensitive teeth?

There are a number of situations that may cause sensitive teeth, and the level of sensitivity can range from mild sensitivity to shooting pain, depending on the cause.

(Quick disclaimer before we jump in: You should not experience shooting pain at any point during your orthodontic treatment! This level of sensitivity is likely indicative of an underlying dental condition. Please let Dr. Jewett and your dentist know if you experience this type of pain.)

Here are a few reasons why your teeth might become more sensitive:

Why does my tooth hurt when I drink water with braces?

While various influences can affect teeth sensitivity, the most common causes are exposure to cold foods, hot foods, hot drinks or cold drinks. If your food or drink is considerably hot or cold, this may be causing your sensitivity.


Deep cavities can also cause this sensation. Cavities can expose the dental nerve endings, which can make your teeth uncomfortably sensitive and can be jarring when cold water passes over the exposed tubules (nerve endings).

Thinning enamel

The enamel is fundamental for strengthening the teeth to prevent plaque and bacteria from damaging the more sensitive parts of the teeth. When the enamel weakens, the tooth roots may become more exposed, which causes more sensitivity in the teeth.

Using abrasive toothpaste with excessive brushing can cause a loss of enamel. Acidic drinks will also soften enamel, making it more susceptible to damage. Use fluoride toothpaste to strengthen your enamel and rinse out your mouth after acidic foods and drinks.

Receding gum line

Brushing the teeth with too much pressure, or using a hard-bristled toothbrush can cause the gum line to recede, exposing the roots. Brush gently and use small circular motions, instead of aggressive horizontal or vertical motions to prevent damaging your gums. Always use Soft or Extra Soft bristled toothbrushes.

Sensitive teeth with braces

It’s true that your teeth may become more sensitive when you’re undergoing orthodontic treatment—but it’s temporary. As your teeth are moving into a new position, this can cause them to ‘wiggle’ or feel more sensitive.

Although, this sensitivity should be temporary. If your teeth still feel considerably sensitive after a week, it’s important to consider other causes.

As your teeth get used to the support of your braces, you may experience some unique sensations, but at no point should you have considerable tooth pain with braces.

Minimizing Teeth Sensitivity with Braces

Good oral hygiene is critical for ensuring your teeth remain healthy and strong during your braces treatment.

Taking proper care of them and your braces is the best line of defense against sensitivity or tooth pain with braces.

Brush and floss your teeth twice a day to prevent bacteria from building up, plaque from hardening on your teeth, and debris from getting stuck between teeth. Use a fluoride toothpaste day and night to strengthen your enamel and support your teeth in the battle against sensitivity.

You can also use specialized toothpastes made for sensitive teeth!

Most teeth sensitivity issues are not a direct result of your braces. If you experience any pain or teeth sensitivity issues for more than a few days, please come in and see us.

Dr. Jewett has helped plenty of patients to achieve a beautiful, healthy smile. He and our team are always here to give you tips and advice to support you through your treatment process.

Still have questions about getting sensitive teeth with braces?

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions! We love to hear from you. We’re here to guide you through your treatment process, from your very first visit, to your last appointment.

If you’re looking for the best orthodontist in Johnson City, TN, we’d love to meet you! Request a complimentary exam for you or your child today.