When wearing braces, one of the first things you may notice is that your teeth feel bigger, and take up more space. This is understandable, as metal or ceramic brackets are now adhered to them. This may cause an unforeseen speech impediment, but this should be conquered soon enough. The other problem that your now bigger teeth may cause is chafing.
You may notice that your teeth fill out your lips or cheeks so much that there may not be any space left, and your mucus membranes and the brackets of your braces may touch. If this occurs in an area that is frequently moved while you bite, chew or speak, your lips or cheeks may become chafed or even slightly injured from the friction.
While it is not the end of the world, chafing can get quite extreme over time. It is one of the primary sources of discomfort for orthodontic patients, and can cause infections, discomfort and an all around unpleasant time. The inside of the lips and cheeks are mucus membranes after all, and mucus membranes do not respond well to physical injury, they heal slowly, and can indeed get infected easily, especially in the mouth, where most of the bacteria found in the human body reside.
While chafing is uncomfortable, many patients seem to think that it is just one of the many necessary discomforts they need to suffer while in braces. This is not the case. If you wax your braces with special orthodontic wax, your braces will not be sharp, but will rather feel soft, and will not cause friction, but rather slide quite gently. If this is not enough, as sometimes may be the case, you can also wear braces guards. This is basically a soft plastic piece that attaches to your braces and makes sure you do not hurt yourself with your braces.
If you have already acquired sores or wounds from your braces or have some that will not go away but are rather constantly reopened by the braces, you should immediately seek treatment. Your orthodontist needs to see you at once, or any other dentist as well. The important thing to do is to find somebody who can determine if you need antibiotics or not, or to see if the wounds are infected. The orthodontist also needs to be seen, as your braces may also need to be adjusted, but usually, just covering them with a protective layer of latex or plastic will do the trick.