Braces move teeth into proper positioning for a healthier smile, correcting overbites, gapping teeth, and other dental issues while enhancing the beauty of your smile. As your teeth and the bones in your mouth shift to adjust your bite, the process may cause your mouth and teeth to be sore for a few days.
Patients generally experience the most discomfort when their braces are initially applied or after appointments. However, these experiences are temporary and manageable!
Because braces work around the clock, your teeth feel constant pressure, moving them into healthier positioning. This process may irritate the mouth initially, but the pain decreases as your mouth adjusts to the continuous movement and improvement.
Modern advances like Invisalign or Damon Braces provide a much more comfortable treatment experience with appliances that are contoured to your unique mouth shape. The technology in these systems allows a light continuous force over a longer period of time, ultimately resulting in less discomfort.
Still, some patients feel some adjustment tenderness in the days following their braces appointment. This is because your teeth are adapting to their new position. Usually, any soreness clears up after they have acclimated to their surroundings.
If your braces pain is unbearable, contact Palmetto Family Orthodontics to schedule an appointment as soon as possible.
Here are some of the most tried-and-true methods to reduce braces pain:
Our number one recommendation for braces pain is ice cream! Ice cream tastes terrific and addresses swelling and inflammation in the gums, reducing it and providing comfort in place of soreness. Patients should brush after eating to prevent cavities and plaque build-up around braces.
Over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen reduces aches caused by braces. Orthodontists recommend taking these medications an hour before your appointment to manage the pain, especially if you are sensitive to adjustments.
Some pain caused by braces develops from swelling gums. Applying ice relieves the swelling and inflammation while decreasing the level of pain. Apply ice directly to the internal swelling or an ice pack to the exterior of the face in the area where pain occurs. Patients should avoid chewing on the ice, causing breaks in brackets and wires and possibly even more pain.
Oral anesthetics such as Orajel or other prescribed gels applied to your gums and teeth can reduce oral pain. These gels typically produce a numbing sensation in the mouth, desensitizing the gums as the teeth move into place.
Eating softer foods such as soup, ice cream, mashed potatoes, and applesauce helps prevent excess pain after an adjustment. After a few days, the patient can return to everyday foods. Avoid hard foods such as popcorn and hard candies that may damage brackets and wires.
As your mouth adjusts to braces, some sores and scrapes may occur from the brackets and wires rubbing against your gums and tongue. Orthodontic wax provides added comfort for your gums. The wax folds over the brackets and wires, protecting your gums and other sensitive parts of your mouth from irritation.
We highly recommend gargling with 8 oz of warm water with a teaspoon of salt for braces pain relief. The healing solution soothes pain and cleanses any tears in the mouth, preventing infection and excess swelling.
Many patients address their braces pain using heat. A warm washcloth or a heating pad held against the hurting area should reduce some swelling.
Massages work to reduce swelling, not only in muscles but also in your gums. A gentle massage with clean fingers relieves inflammation and leaves patients feeling more comfortable.
Treating your teeth with good dental hygiene means brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash to prevent food and plaque build-up around the brackets. Applying proper hygiene to your braces reduces the risk of gum inflammation and infection (which can cause further pain). Be sure to discuss appropriate practices for brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash with your orthodontist.
Braces provide relief from unhealthy bites, crooked teeth, and gapping teeth, but adjusting to constant pressure on your teeth may take some time. The braces pain methods above provide relief to aching gums and teeth. Luckily, any discomfort will subside with time as your teeth shift into their ideal position.