Spacer Suffering: Untangling the Mystery of How Long Do Spacers Hurt

Spacer suffering is a common phenomenon that many people have experienced at some point in their lives. It's that feeling of discomfort and pain you get when there's something between your teeth, pushing them apart. But how long do spacers hurt? Is it just for a few days or does it last longer? In this article, we'll be exploring the mystery behind spacer suffering and answering some questions you may have about it.

Spacer Suffering: Untangling the Mystery of How Long Do Spacers Hurt

What Are Spacers?

Let's start with the basics - what are spacers? Spacers are small rubber bands or metal springs that dentists use to create space in your mouth before fitting braces. They're typically placed between your molars and can cause some discomfort as they push your teeth apart to make room for the braces.

Why Do We Need Them?

You might be wondering why anyone would willingly subject themselves to such discomfort. The answer is simple - spacers help ensure that there's enough space in your mouth for braces to fit correctly. Without them, putting on braces could result in crowded or crooked teeth, which defeats the purpose of correcting dental misalignments.

How Long Does It Take For Spacers To Work?

Once they've been placed between your molars, spacers typically take one week to work their magic and push those teeth apart (provided by dentist). During this time, you may experience some soreness or tenderness around the affected area as well as difficulty chewing food(severe).

Why Do Spacers Hurt So Much?

Spacers hurt because they're designed to put pressure on specific areas within our mouths, i.e., our molars(dental term). This process creates movement within our jawbone structure/dentition causing us discomfort (dental observation). Also, imagine trying not to bite down hard while brushing due tingling sensation (it's tough). As a result of general sensorimotor feedback to tooth movement. It causes pain and discomfort as your teeth are pushed apart by the spacer, often times stretching or even slightly bruising dental tissues in the process.

Do Spacers Hurt More Than Braces?

Now, this is where things get interesting - do spacers hurt more than actual braces? The answer might surprise you. While spacers can be uncomfortable for the first few days after fitting (up to 3days), they generally don't hurt as much as braces (dental science). However, they're commonly referred to as "space retainers"( orthodontic term) which determines their function(spacing).

How Long Does The Pain Last?

The duration for how long spacers last differs depending on several factors. For most people, however, it's common for them to feel tender only during a period ranging from three days up to one month (based on dentist assessment/observation). After this time-frame has passed/spent with performing mouth exercises perhaps chewing some gums/candy), many patients report that level of pain plummets/majorly subsides.

Ways To Alleviate Spacer Discomfort

If you're experiencing spacer discomfort/pain at the moment and wondering what can help alleviate it comfortably(reliable info found by standard research(factual)), then here are some tips:

  • Warm saltwater solution rinse: Mix half spoonful of salt into warm water ( not too hot). Rinse your mouth with about 2-3 teaspoons hourly/half-hourly.
  • Ice pack: Wrap an ice cube in a cloth/towel then press gently against affected area outside.
  • Over-the-counter analgesics: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs(NSAID) like ibuprofen which works well for inflammation-related body issuesPain killers may also prove effective)
  • Hearty Soups & Smoothies

When should I talk to my dentist?

If the pain persists more than a fortnight/ becomes severe(& uncontrollable), doesn't seem to alleviate even slightly despite trying multiple remedies/ home treatments, then it is crucial you make an emergency appointment with your orthodontist(dental specialist).


There's no denying that spacer suffering can be uncomfortable, but it's also a necessary evil in many cases. Fortunately, for most people, the discomfort will only last up to 30 days at most; and there are several tried-and-tested methods of relieving this discomfort until they settle in. Hang on tight as all braces journeys come with some level of discomfort yet often ends well worth suspending slight pains (hopefully).

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