Can Braces Cause Headaches?

by | Jun 5, 2023 | Dental Braces, General Orthodontics, Orthodontic Treatments | 0 comments

Alisson once thought that the only headaches she’d have to endure during her orthodontic journey were the ones caused by deciphering her insurance coverage. But little did she know that the real challenge would come from the metal device taking up residence in her mouth!

As her teeth began their slow dance towards perfection, Alisson’s head seemed determined to partake with a pulsating rhythm of its own.

If you, too, find yourself in this unending tango between dental alignment and head-throbbing discomfort, fear not! Today’s article is here to save the day, armed with practical tips and tricks to help patients find relief from those pesky headaches and migraines caused by braces.

Say goodbye to these unwanted dance partners and waltz your way to a harmonious, pain-free smile!


Are Headaches a Common Side Effect of Braces?

Headaches can be a common side effect of braces, although not all patients with braces will experience them. When first applied or adjusted, braces exert pressure on the teeth to realign them, which sometimes leads to pain and discomfort. This pressure may also strain the surrounding jaw muscles and tissues, paving the way for frequent headaches.

Several factors can contribute to the likelihood of experiencing headaches while wearing braces:

Initial Adjustment Period

Headaches are more common during the first few days or weeks after getting braces, as the mouth and sore jaw are adjusting to the new appliance. Fortunately, they typically lessen in intensity and frequency over time.

Tightening or Adjustments

Patients may experience headaches after having their braces tightened or adjusted as the teeth shift, and the pressure on the surrounding structures increases. Similar to the initial adjustment period, these headaches should subside as the mouth adapts to the changes.

Individual Sensitivity

Some patients are more prone to headaches from braces due to individual sensitivity.

Oral Hygiene

Poor oral hygiene can exacerbate discomfort and increase the likelihood of headaches. Maintaining good oral hygiene, including regular brushing and flossing, will help minimize discomfort and reduce the risk of headaches.

Braces cause headaches

Can Orthodontic Treatment Address Headaches and Migraines?

Orthodontic treatment does contribute to addressing headaches and migraines, especially when the cause is dental health-related. Misaligned teeth, malocclusions, or bite problems are the root source of muscle strain and tension in the jaw, which may lead to headaches.

Correcting these dental issues through orthodontic treatment reduces the strain on the jaw muscles and surrounding structures, thus alleviating the discomfort.

However, not all headaches and migraines are caused by dental issues. Numerous other factors, such as stress, sleep deprivation, and dehydration, can also be a headache (pun intended).

Talk to your orthodontist if you suspect your headaches or migraines are related to dental concerns. They can evaluate your symptoms, determine if orthodontic treatment is appropriate, and provide guidance on effectively addressing your headaches and migraines!


How to Alleviate Headaches Caused by Braces

The following nine tips will help you find relief from headaches caused by braces:

1. Over-the-counter painkillers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, reduce inflammation and alleviate headache pain. Always follow the recommended dosages and consult your orthodontist or healthcare provider before taking any medication.

2. Applying a cold or warm compress to the affected area will help soothe tense facial muscles and relieve headache pain. Use a cold pack or a warm towel and apply it to your forehead, temples, or the back of your neck for relief.

Braces treatment headache

3. Gently massaging your temples, jaw muscles, and neck can help alleviate tension and reduce headache pain. Use your fingertips to gently apply pressure and make small, circular motions on the affected areas.

4. Stretching exercises for the neck, shoulders, and upper back can help release tension and improve your posture, thus curbing the intensity of headaches.

5. Proper oral hygiene is essential when wearing braces, as it reduces inflammation and discomfort. Brush and floss your teeth regularly, and use mouthwash to keep your mouth sparkly clean!

6. Dehydration can contribute to headaches, so drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay properly hydrated (but not enough to reach overhydration).

7. Ensure you get enough restful sleep each night, as sleep deprivation exacerbates headaches.

8. Practice stress management techniques, such as deep breathing exercises, meditation, or engaging in relaxing activities, to help reduce the tension contributing to your headaches.

9. Speak with your orthodontist if your headaches persist or worsen. They may need to adjust your braces or recommend alternative solutions to help alleviate your discomfort.

Asian man wearing braces

Ready to Give Braces a Shot? Look No Further Than Patuxent Orthodontics!

Contact Patuxent Orthodontics if braces are the solution to your dental woes. Whether you want to learn more about the benefits of braces or have questions about the process, use our live chat or call (240) 802-7217 or send us a message through our contact us page to connect with our friendly staff today and book a complimentary orthodontic consultation! Our office, located at 44220 Airport View Dr., Hollywood, MD 20636, proudly serves Maryland’s Patuxent area, as well as the Greater Washington DC area. So, if you’re residing in Hollywood, Wildewood, or Leonardtown and are looking for one of the best orthodontists in Maryland, don’t hesitate to visit our office! We also invite you to keep up with our blog to get answers to many of the frequently asked questions about maintaining your perfect smile and follow us on Facebook and Instagram to become a part of our smiling community!



  1. “What Happens When You Drink Too Much Water?” WebMD, WebMD, Accessed 27 Apr. 2023.

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