rainsmom, I did not have braces as an adult, but I do vividly remember the whole braces thing as a young teenager. The pain factor is managable, I too am a dental-pain-freaker-outter and the pain from braces is totally unlike dental pain that freaked me out. Everytime they tightened the wires (about 1x month) I was really sore the next day, but it was like a sore muscle, not a bad-cavity pain. It wasn't fun, but it was managable (unlike when I have a bad tooth ache, I can't stand that at ALL).
When I got them on I could not chew the next day I was VERY sore. It was also thanksgiving that day, so that sucked. But the pain subsided in a day, and again, it was like a very sore muscle... probably some tylenol or something would have helped out...
And I also had to use the wax stuff to protect my inner lips, because it took awhile for them to get used to the wires. But that wasn't a huge deal as long as I HAD THE WAX. We ran out occasionally and that was not fun. And you're mouth will feel huge until you get used to it.
Putting the braces on is not painful. Taking them off isn't bad either (just a weird pulling sensation).
I hope that helped out a little bit.. I know it wasn't from an adult perspective, but from the perspective of someone who freaks over oral pain might be helpful?
Good luck and just think of the pretty smile you'll have afterwards!