Why Braces Cause Headaches And How To Get Rid Of Them

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Medically reviewed by Othman Lahmaydi, RDH

Braces are an amazing treatment option for a range of dental issues such as crowding, crooked teeth, and misalignment. But despite their effectiveness, braces come with some frustrating side effects, including headaches. Why do headaches occur, and what can you do to treat them?

Braces can cause headaches due to the constant force on your teeth. The pressure is what moves the teeth to the desired placement, but the jaw and teeth can get sore in the process, causing headaches. You can treat the headaches by using normal painkillers, staying hydrated, and avoiding hard foods.

In order to better understand why headaches are a side effect of braces, let’s take a closer look at how braces work. Then, we’ll review some treatment methods that you can use to cope with any headaches you might experience.

How Do Braces Work?

Cute brunette with long hair grabs her head with her hands out of pain after installing braces

Braces are metal wires with brackets that are placed on tooth enamel to fix issues like bite problems, crowding, protruding teeth, etc. The main purpose of having braces is to align the teeth to a more normal position. 

Braces apply constant pressure on the teeth and jaw, causing them to shift to the desired positioning. The movement of teeth causes the surrounding tissues to compress.

Periodontal ligaments (ligaments holding the teeth in place) are also affected. In the empty spaces formed by the shifting of teeth, new bones develop to cover any space. 

Why Do Braces Cause Headaches?

Braces can indeed cause headaches and migraines, but not everyone will get them. The main reason why people get headaches while wearing braces is because of the pressure the braces put on the teeth.

There is constant pressure on your teeth from braces to make them shift. This pressure is more intense in the initial days. Because the patient isn’t used to the constant pressure, it can make their mouth sore and hurt their jaw and head.

The headaches should go away after some time when the teeth have started to shift and there is less pressure on them. 

Headaches can also occur when you visit your orthodontist and they tighten your braces. You can discuss this issue with your orthodontist and they can suggest the best way to address it.  

Another thing that can cause headaches or migraines in those with braces is dehydration. Some people with braces start to breathe through their mouths more often. This causes dehydration of the mouth, and dehydration is a major cause of migraines. 

How Do You Get Rid of a Headache From Braces?

If you’re facing frequent headaches due to braces, you should try of the following some tips and tricks to get rid of them. Headaches can disrupt your daily routine and are generally a real drag to deal with.

Luckily, we have some good solutions for your headaches induced by braces.


The best method to get rid of a headache is to use a pain reliever like Aspirin, Tylenol, or ibuprofen (on Amazon). Pain killers should ease the headache in no time. Especially during the initial days of your braces, painkillers can be very helpful.

Remember to not take too many pain relievers in a day as it can be damaging to your health. 

Soft Food

Sticking to softer food during the initial days of your braces is a good choice. It will put less stress on other parts of your face and your teeth and thereby limit the likelihood of headaches. The chances of disturbing your teeth are much less with soft food. 

Soft food is also less likely to get stuck in your braces — and removing food particles from your braces can be quite difficult.


Staying hydrated is not only important for headaches and migraines but also for the health of your teeth. Keep a water bottle with you at all times. You can get one like the Ello Cooper Stainless Steel Water Bottle (on Amazon). 

Other Braces Side Effects You Can Expect

Applying orthodoentic wax on the dental braces

Headaches and migraines aren’t the only normal side effects of braces. There are many more. Let’s take a look at a few more so that you have an idea of what to expect.

Discomfort and Irritation

During the first few days, your mouth will feel a bit weird and uncomfortable. This is because even a slight change in the mouth can make us feel very different, and getting braces is a big change in your mouth. 

The pressure from braces can make your teeth and jaw feel tight and pressured. Even your lips and inside of your cheeks will have a hard time adjusting to this big change in your mouth. Irritation of the lips and a sore mouth are normal side effects after getting braces.

You’ll get used to the presence of braces in your mouth over time, and the discomfort should subside.

Jaw Pain

The constant pressure from braces can cause pain in the jaw as well as your head. You can get rid of this pain by using pain killers. 

Poor Oral Hygiene

Brushing your teeth can be pretty hard when you have braces on. Food particles get stuck in the brackets and may lead to plaque accumulation. Therefore, you must take extra care of your oral hygiene after getting orthodontic treatments. 

Eating Difficulty

Facing difficulty while eating food is normal after getting braces. This difficulty will fade once you get used to the braces. In the first few days, you can try eating soft foods like soup, juices, bread, mashed potatoes, etc.

Don’t chew on hard food like candies, popcorn, and pizza crust until you feel more comfortable with your braces.

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