Why Do Rubber Bands On Braces Hurt? [9 Pain Relieving Tips]

When your orthodontist suggests rubber bands for braces treatment, you may be afraid and ask, “Do rubber bands on braces hurt?”

Usually, the rubber bands on braces hurt your teeth and jaw because of the extra pressure applied by them on your teeth and the changes that occur inside the jawbones and periodontal tissue. However, the pain goes away soon as your teeth get used to them.

But, if you don’t wear the elastic bands regularly, they will keep hurting your teeth and there will also be a delay in tooth movement.

There are some other questions regarding getting hurt from rubber bands. In this article, we’ll answer all the questions including why rubber bands on braces hurt so much, and how to prevent and relieve pain from rubber bands.

When do you feel pain from rubber bands on braces?

Why Do Rubber Bands On Braces Hurt So Much

Some people are so afraid that they think it may hurt during attaching the rubber band. But, it doesn’t happen. You may feel a slight pressure at that time.

But, what happens after the attachment? Let’s look at the situation when you feel pain from the braces elastics.

1. After wearing the rubber bands

After you return home from your appointment with the orthodontist for elastic bands, you start to feel pressure and pain in your jaw and teeth.

Soreness may persist for the first few days, particularly for the first 2 to 3 days after getting the elastics. However, you may become used to it and experience no discomfort.

So, the rubber band can also be responsible for your single-tooth pain after braces.

2. Not wearing rubber bands regularly

It’s one of the most common mistakes made by braces wearers. If you stop using the elastic or do not wear it as directed by your orthodontist, the pain will last for weeks.

Moreover, the purpose of using the elastic will be failed and there will be a delay in treatment.

Check out my other article on what happens if you don’t elastic bands.

If your rubber band keeps falling off for some reason, it may also cause issues.

3. Doubling the rubber band elastics

It’s another mistake sometimes made by braces users. When someone doesn’t wear it regularly for some reason, he/she may try to overcome the effect and add more elastics to put more pressure.

Never do that because it will damage your teeth permanently and make the situation worst. The reason for that is teeth can’t bear the excess pressure. Moreover, you will feel unbearable pain.

So, always consult with your orthodontist before doing anything.

4. Wearing a rubber band without the orthodontist’s advice

The orthodontist gives you rubber bands that are perfect for your teeth and their movement. All rubber bands aren’t the same.

So, you make a great mistake if you get the bands from a dental store without consulting your orthodontist. These can hurt you more in addition to harming your teeth.

5. Not changing the rubber bands every day

One elastic lasts only a short time. So, if you don’t change it from time to time, it will stop working and slow down the entire process. This has the same impact as not wearing them or taking a break from them. So, you will experience more pain.

6. From elastic hook

Your mouth also gets hurt from rubber band hooks. The hook may poke or tear the cheek.

Check out reasons and solutions for braces hooks hurting.

Why do rubber bands on braces hurt so much?

The main cause why your rubber bands on braces hurt so much is the additional pressure applied by rubber bands on your teeth and jaw in order to shift your teeth into a specific position.

Arch wire puts pressure on your teeth through braces to create tooth movement. And, when you get rubber bands in addition to the archwire, it’ll increase the pressure and you’ll feel more pain.

A rubber band puts a force on the tooth. Because of the force, you feel pressure on your teeth. Moreover, the pressure is also transmitted to the bone that supports your tooth. As a result, chemical reactions and structural changes occur inside the bone.

In response to pressure, the bone behind the tooth begins to dissolve, while on the other side, the new bone begins to develop. As a result of this procedure, the tooth is pushed toward the pressure point and moves.

During the mechanism, some chemicals (e. g. prostaglandins) get released at the site of pressure. These chemicals cause pain and discomfort.

Another reason is getting hurt by rubber bands or their components, like the hooks, on your mouth. Elastic bands can rub against your cheek and gums and result in irritation and pain. It can also cut inside your mouth, sometimes. The elastic hook can also hurt your gums or cheek.

How long do rubber bands on braces hurt?

After getting the rubber bands for the first time, you feel more pain or discomfort for 2 to 3 days because they start putting extra pressure on your teeth and moving them for alignment. However, if you don’t wear them properly, they might hurt you for a longer period.

In case, you are not using the elastic regularly, you will feel more pain as it takes more time to get used to them.

In addition, if you double the elastics, you may feel severe pain. This can also damage your teeth.

You can also learn how long you have to wear them.

However, you can also know about some other important things from my other article – Are rubber bands the last steps to braces?

How to relieve pain from rubber bands on braces?

Follow these to prevent or relieve pain from rubber bands for braces

1. Wear rubber bands regularly to prevent pain.

You should continue wearing it even if rubber bands hurt. You might be wondering, why?

The reason for that is the structures that support your teeth undergo a number of changes and you need to favor the rubber band and the mechanism. This will eventually work in your favor as well.

By doing this, the discomfort reduces over time and you get used to it.

Usually, we suggest wearing the elastics about 22 hours a day. That excludes the time when you brush and floss your teeth. You can also remove it when you eat.

However, if you take a break at other times to get rid of the pain, it’ll continuously hurt you and they won’t align your teeth as planned.

As a result, the pain will persist even after a week. So, be careful.

2. Take over-the-counter pain relievers.

If rubber bands hurt you so bad, you can take over-the-counter painkillers. However, always consult with your orthodontist before taking any medicine as it can interfere with tooth movement.

Usually, you don’t have to take medication for rubber bands.

But, if you take other medications or have other health problems, follow your doctor’s advice.

3. Apply orthodontic wax.

Orthodontic wax can solve any kind of problem with braces and even help relieve pain. So, if the rubber bands or elastic hooks rub your cheek and gums, you can place orthodontic wax in your mouth.

If you think any part of the brackets or wire gets broken after getting rubber bands, you can also apply dental wax to fix the issue. This may relieve pain and discomfort.

However, if you see, you need to repair it, consult your orthodontist, and make an appointment. Till then use the wax to solve the issue temporarily.

4. Use a topical anesthetic.

You can apply topical anesthetic to those areas on your gums when you feel too much pain. This can provide you with temporarily relieve from elastic pain.

5. Apply ice packs.

You can apply an ice pack to the painful part of your face. If you don’t have an ice pack, a bag of frozen peas will suffice. Do not apply the ice pack or frozen peas straight to your face. Wrap them in a towel.

6. Don’t use extra bands.

Sometimes people believe that the band will work more rapidly if the number is increased. But, it is entirely wrong.

Tooth movement works best when we use an optimum force. It means that providing more or less force causes less or no teeth movement.

Moreover, putting excess force destroys teeth as well as their supporting periodontal tissue and bones. As a result, you have to face serious problems. So, don’t try to double the number of bands.

7. Use the rubber bands for braces that the orthodontist provided.

As I mentioned earlier, an orthodontist gives the elastics which are appropriate for you. If you buy rubber bands from a dental store, they won’t work properly. You may feel pain and it may damage your teeth as well.

But, what happens if you have long-term travel plans? In that case, get as many rubber bands as you can from your orthodontist.

Don’t panic even if you run out of rubber bands and are unable to visit your orthodontist. You still shouldn’t buy it from the outside in this situation.

8. Change the elastics regularly.

Change the elastics at the right time. You have to change rubber bands 3 to 4 times a day, especially after every meal, as they lose their elasticity fast.

9. Keep up good oral hygiene.

Always keep your mouth clean to prevent the rubber bands from being damaged and losing their effectiveness.

Also, know how to relieve pain from braces at home.


Due to the pressure applied by rubber bands to teeth, you feel sore or mild pain for the first few days after getting rubber bands for braces. You have to keep wearing them continuously and follow the instructions of your orthodontists to get rid of the pain. However, if you have any serious problems regarding it, consult with your orthodontist.