Do Spacers Hurt More Than Braces [7 Pain Relieving Tips]

You may need to wear spacers before the braces. As braces cause sore mouths at different times during treatment, people want to know, do spacers for braces hurt?

Spacers for braces hurt the teeth where they are applied, therefore, you feel pain and irritation. The intensity of pain varies in individuals. The experience is like a large food particle is stuck in between teeth. Instead of pain, you may feel as if someone is pushing your teeth and gums or pressure is applied.

However, you can relieve pain and discomfort by following various methods if they hurt you more.

The next question is, what hurts worse: spacers, or braces? And, how long does it hurt?

Let’s know about it and learn how you can relieve pain from spacers or separators.

Do spacers hurt more than braces?

Spacers hurt more than braces

Usually, spacers don’t hurt more than braces as it puts pressure on a small number of teeth. You can only experience irritation and slight pain. However, it varies from person to person.

When separators are applied in between teeth that are in tight contact, you feel more pain.

On the other hand, it’s normal for people to feel pain from braces. You feel more pain for the first 2-3 days after getting braces.

Braces hurt more than spacers because you have to wear braces on so many teeth while spacers are installed on fewer teeth.

The braces put pressure on all of those teeth. So, your mouth or jaw may become sore.

However, pain from braces also goes away soon.

Another thing is you are familiar with the pain from separators.

You can compare the feeling with that moment when a hard food particle such as fiber of meat or bone gets stuck in between your teeth.

But, the pressure of braces is uncommon to you. So, you feel more uncomfortable with braces.

However, some feel much pain if teeth are in tight contact. Some people find that pain from spacers more irritating as they get spacers before braces.

They think as they have experienced the pain once with spacers, they can bear the pain from braces as well.

Spacers for braces pain relief

Here are ways to relieve pain from spacers:

1. Apply an ice pack.

Like other pain-relieving methods, apply an ice pack over the affected area of your mouth.

It reduces the sensation of pain as nerves get numb.

2. Take cold water.

You can also take cold water whenever you feel pain. It reduces inflammatory action and decreases pain from separators.

3. Take ice cream.

If you don’t have any sensitivity to cold, you can take ice cream to get rid of the pain.

4. Rinse mouth with saltwater.

Mix 1 tsp. of salt into 8 oz. lukewarm water. Rinse the mouth 2-3 times a day with it. This reduces the pain.

4. Eat softer foods.

You should eat softer and liquid foods as much as possible. To relieve pain from spacers, you need to avoid chewing hard foods.

This gives your teeth rest and allows to reduce pain

Moreover, when people have tender teeth, they can’t eat because chewing gets painful for them. So, eating soft and liquid foods is also going to help them.

Examples of these foods are mashed potatoes, soup, smoothies, or boiled vegetables.

Know more about how and what to eat with spacers.

5. Stay away from hard, sticky, and crunchy foods.

When you bite on the hard and crunchy foods, your teeth feel stress. This increases the pain.

So, avoid these foods while you are wearing separators. Examples of those foods are nuts, popcorn, gums, or hard chocolates.

Besides, you should also ignore sticky foods such as sticky candy or gums. These foods adhere to the spacers and in between teeth. This also provokes the pain.

6. Brush teeth gently.

Brushing teeth with excess pressure or using hard bristle toothbrushes puts more pressure on teeth.

Moreover, it can make the spacers fall out So, you need to brush your teeth gently with a soft-bristled toothbrush, especially on those teeth where separators are placed.

7. Take an over-the-counter pain reliever.

If you can’t tolerate pain, you can take an over-the-counter pain reliever. But, you should consult with your orthodontist before taking any medication during orthodontic treatment.

Why do spacers hurt so much?

Spacers for braces hurt your teeth for these reasons.

1. Application of force by spacers on teeth

Spacers are placed between your back teeth. They created space between those teeth which is essential to place the molar bands.

When teeth are in tight contact, the orthodontist can’t put the bands on them.

But, how do spacers hurt?

When a spacer sits between two teeth, they apply a force on both teeth because of the elasticity.

As the separator gets squeezed between the teeth, it tries to get back to its normal position.

It’s the nature of any elastic material.

This provides pressure on the teeth as well as the bones that support the teeth.

As a result, changes occur within the bone. Moreover, nerve fibers presenting in teeth, bone, and gums get stimulated.

Because of these mechanisms, you feel pain and discomfort from spacers for braces.

When bone changes its structure, teeth start to move from their position.

Therefore, a gap is created between the two teeth.

2. Chewing hard and crunchy foods

Hard and crunchy foods transmit pressure on teeth as well as nerve fibers.

That may trigger the pain because teeth are already under stress for spacers.

3. Forceful toothbrushing

As teeth remain tender after getting separators, forceful toothbrushing puts more pressure on teeth. This increases the pain.

How long do spacers for braces hurt?

After getting spacers, teeth become sore and painful. It seems like food debris getting stuck between teeth and putting pressure. But, how long do spacers for braces hurt?

You feel the most pain during the 4 to 6 hours after getting the spacer between teeth. After that, your teeth and gums may feel mild soreness or discomfort that lasts for the first 2-3 days.

Then, it starts to get reduced over time. As it’s removed within one to two weeks, you don’t have to experience the discomfort for a long time.

The study says people experience the most pain for the first two days after getting spacers.

When do spacers stop hurting?

Spacers stop hurting your teeth and gums after a week. You don’t notice any pain after that.

However, it may cause less pain and discomfort after 2-3 days of getting them on.

Let’s take a look at the day-by-day experience after getting spacers and know when spacers stop hurting.

First 4-6 hours

Pain may be worse during that time as the spacer starts to put pressure on teeth. You feel irritated like a large food particle getting stuck between the teeth.

First day

The intensity of the pain depends on the person’s pain threshold and the sensitivity of the gums.

That means someone can tolerate the pain and others feel more pain.

Your mouth gets irritated and sensitive during the first 24 hours.

Those who have tight contact between teeth normally experience more discomfort.

People who have gaps between teeth before placing the spacers feel less pain.

This is the time when you may need to take over the counter pain reliever that your orthodontist prescribed.

2nd day

Your teeth still feel tender and sensitive. Chewing foods or brushing teeth may become very painful.

2 days later

Pain starts to reduce from the 3rd of after getting spacers. However, it may vary from person to person.

Gradually, pain becomes more unnoticeable.

7 days later

After a week later, you have little to no pain. This is due to space created by the spacers which put less pressure on teeth over time.

Do spacers hurt when you get them on?

The process of getting spacers is normally painless. You may feel slight discomfort during the procedure as if something is caught in between teeth.

Pain starts gradually after coming back home from the appointment.

Your orthodontist uses simple dental tools like a tweezer to place the spacers between teeth.

The process is so simple that you feel almost nothing about that.

Do spacers hurt when you get them off?

You don’t feel any pain when spacers are removed. In fact, you feel no or least pain on the last day of spacers.

After opening up space, the separators sometimes get loose or come off on their own.

So, you feel no pressure from them.

When your orthodontist removes the spacers, he takes the same instrument as the first day and takes off the spacers gently.

Can spacers make your teeth loose

Spacers don’t make your teeth loose. However, some people experience slight loosening of teeth when spacers start to move the tooth.

But, it doesn’t cause actual loosening of teeth. Besides, you may feel that due to sore and tender teeth

On the other hand, the spacer itself gets loose after a few days.


Spacers for braces are painful during the first few days. They hurt more when you eat or brush your teeth.

But, you can manage the pain and reduce discomfort by following various pain relieving techniques such as taking over-the-counter pain relievers, taking cold water, or rinsing with saltwater.

You must follow all the instructions given by your orthodontist to stop spacers from hurting more or falling out early.