When you first get your braces put on, it is normal to feel some discomfort. Discomfort may come in two forms, tenderness in your gums and jaw, as well as irritation of the insides of your cheeks and lips. The support structures of your teeth become sore because braces move your teeth out of their normal places. And the metal brackets can rub against the soft tissues of your mouth and cause sores.
What can you do about the discomfort you feel during your first days in braces? There are a variety of ways to relieve it. Here are 10 tips and suggestions to try.
- Pain Medication. It helps to take an over the counter pain reliever, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin). You may even want to take it on the way to your appointment so it can start taking effect as you’re getting your braces put on. You can continue to take pain medication according to the instructions for the next few days or until your discomfort subsides.
- Orthodontic Wax. If your brackets are rubbing against the inside of your cheeks and lips, apply orthodontic wax to the brackets. This smooths over the rough area to allow your mouth to heal. Your orthodontist will usually give you some wax at your first appointment and provide you with more as needed.
- Salt Water Rinse. Irritation to the soft tissues of your mouth can sometimes develop into sores. Rinsing your mouth with warm salt water can help sores to heal. Mix a teaspoon of salt with a half cup of warm water. Rinse your mouth for several minutes multiple times, spitting the salt water out each time. Do the salt water rinse at least 4 times a day until the sores are gone.
- Oral Anesthetic. Both irritation and sore gums can be relieved with an oral anesthetic like orajel or anbesol. Apply it with a clean finger or a cotton swab to the areas where you feel pain. You’ll need to reapply occasionally according to the directions until your pain subsides completely.
- Ice. Applying an ice pack to your jaw can help numb the area that is sore. Drinking ice water will also suffice. Ice helps reduce swelling and inflammation in addition to numbing the pain, so it also prevents future pain.
- Soft Foods. Your teeth may be too sore to eat anything but soft foods or liquids. Milkshakes, smoothies, ice cream, and other cold, soft foods help to numb the pain at the same time. When you want something savory, try mashed potatoes, soup, eggs, pasta, and other soft foods that don’t require too much chewing.
- Bite Wafer. Similar to a teething ring, some orthodontists provide a rubber or silicone bite wafer for the first few days in braces. If you bite down on it when your teeth feel sore, it can help to relieve the pain. It also helps your teeth get used to being moved around. You can use it again each time your braces get adjusted if you feel sore.
- Heat. In contrast to cold, you can also use heat to relieve pain. A heating pad applied to the jaw or even just sipping on a warm beverage can relieve the discomfort of braces.
- Peppermint. Peppermint has healing properties as well as numbing properties. Make some peppermint tea and keep the tea bags. Apply the bags directly to the inside of your cheek where you have sore spots. You can also use peppermint essential oil.
- Brushing and Flossing. It is helpful to keep up with dental hygiene. Brush your teeth twice a day and floss once a day to keep your teeth and braces clean. When food and plaque don’t get removed, bacteria increases, which can make it more difficult for your sore spots to heal.
Braces Being a Pain? Smith Orthodontics Can Help
If you’re still experiencing discomfort and irritation from your braces, contact Smith Orthodontics. You may have a wire that is out of place or some other correctable issue.
Call 937-431-0947 or request an appointment today. We look forward to making your braces experience more comfortable.