If you are reading this, there is a chance that you have recently had braces put on, or you already have braces. You also may know or not know that braces can cause some discomfort and even mild pain. The pain is common, and everyone who has braces will feel it. It does vary depending on a person’s pain tolerance. Each time you have a check-up, your orthodontist makes adjustments to your wires. The metal band that extends around your teeth gets bent, adjusted, tightened, or replaced with thicker wire. Naturally, all this movement can be painful for your teeth. Luckily, there are ways to deal with this pain, and we are here to help you on your braces journey.
Over the counter pain relief
If you have an appointment coming up, then you can be proactive and take pain relief medication an hour before the appointment. Also, if you have slight discomfort the following day, again, this can be one alternative to help ease your pain. Advil, Tylenol, or Ibuprofen work well, but you should not rely on them if it is not necessary. Make sure you only use pain medication as directed. It should generally be used only when other methods or remedies do not seem to be helping. Also, using over the counter relief like Orajel can be directly applied to your teeth and gums and helps to numb your problem areas.
You could have discomfort and pain due to inflammation. Swollen gums are a common byproduct of braces. Applying a cold compress like an ice pack, gel ice pack, or even a frozen teething ring can help to reduce swelling. A sore mouth is just like having sore muscles after playing sports. Ice helps to sooth and ultimately help ease oral discomfort. If you do not happen to have an ice pack on hand, then a frozen bag of vegetables will do the trick!
If your teeth are sore, the last thing you want to do is attempt to eat hard foods. This can make your discomfort worse. Avoid foods that are crunchy, hard, or difficult to chew and instead choose soft foods. Foods like nuts, hard fruits and veggies, bagels, pretzels (soft or hard), beef jerky, and gum are all foods to avoid. Foods like mashed potatoes, smoothies, puddings, soup, yogurt, applesauce, and soft fruits are better alternatives. These foods will not irritate your already sensitive mouth.
Keep it cool
Believe it or not, drinking cold water is a simple way to ease the discomfort. As mentioned for ice packs, cold provides comfort! Cold numbs the mouth and decreases inflammation. Eating cold foods like ice cream can function similarly to ice packs. If you choose ice cream as a way to deal with pain, remember to brush your teeth after.
Make it hot
If cold treatments do not seem to be working, you can try heating methods instead. Applying heat to the affected area can help relieve some pain. Using a heating pad for this can be beneficial. If you do not happen to have a heating pad, you can use a hot pack or even a hot/warm washcloth.
Dealing with cuts
It is common for children and adults with braces to experience irritation or cuts when the metal wires rub or puncture your cheeks. The cuts can become very uncomfortable over time because the metal is continuously rubbing against your cheek. Orthodontic wax is handy to prevent cuts. This wax can be applied directly to the areas that are experiencing pain. It gives immediate pain relief once wires are covered and then allows time for the cuts to heal without being cut open again.
If you have gotten cuts or scrapes in your mouth from metal wires, the cheek is still irritated even after the wax is applied. Wax allows the cheek to heal over time without being repeatedly bothered, but the cuts still need time to heal correctly. The pain from wounds and sores can be eased by rinsing with a warm saltwater solution. Warm salt water rinses help to alleviate discomfort and prevent potential infection that can occur. Saltwater rinses can be purchased from most drug stores, or you can even make your own at home! If you do decide to make your own saltwater rinse, it is pretty straightforward. All you have to do is dissolve half a teaspoon of salt into a cup of warm water. Then you gargle and swish the solution around in your mouth for 60 seconds before spitting it back out.
If you have any questions regarding dealing with pain with your braces, you can reach out to any of our team members at Omar Orthodontics in Chantilly, VA. We will be happy and ready to answer any of your questions. If you are ready to make your next appointment, please feel free to make an appointment on our website.