Speaking from experience (I had braces for 5 years), they hurt for about a week (more or less). Mine only hurt for a few days, I could eat normal foods within the first week (I ate soup for the first week haha). Then at your appointments, chances are you're going to get your braces tighten (they put in a bigger wire for more effects). That hurts, but only a few days. They don't do that every appointments though, only about 2-3 times a year maybe? (depending on your teeth).
Hope this helps, goodluck. Trust me, it's all woth it at the end :)
I'm 21 years and just got the braces on for the third time (bad first ortho). When I had braces on at 6-10 years and 15-16 years they were not bad at all, maybe 2-3 days of discomfort and were fine. This past time it has taken a month for the discomfort to almost fully disappear. I couldn't eat properly for 2 and half weeks and my gums are still getting cut up badly from the brackets. I also ended up using advil 3 times a day for the first 4 days, this is very unusal for me to need advil at all even with TMJ problems). So yes I found it hurt a lot, worth getting my teeth fixed but was a little rough.
Long term if you don't wear your retainer then they could relapse and you are back to where you started from. Any other problems are due improper orthodonist work. Make sure you have a good ortho with a proper specalist degree, not a general dentist that has "done courses" as I found out the hard way. From bad work as a kid I have major TMJ problems (including massive enough inflammation in the jaw joint to have missing bone in the center), and my front teeth have extremely short roots which makes them a little more likely to be damaged and knocked out. I found out my "ortho" was really only a general dentist and wasn't that great, even though he was recommended by my dentist.
I now get braces for 2 years minimum, and jaw surgery on lower and possibility upper jaw (both are still too narrow but good enough that it might not be worth surgically widening them). And with my jaw joints being so bad that we just found out about the braces might be coming off and have 6 months of splint therapy to get my jaw and facial muscles to relax a bit before moving on for surgery prepartion.
So overall. Make sure you have a good ortho who knows what you are doing, except some mild-moderate discomfort but it will so worth it that it all pays off in the end. :)
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