Something that many individuals do not realize when they are thinking about orthodontics and the need for braces is that sometimes they can be uncomfortable. There are expected levels of discomfort that may accompany orthodontic and dentofacial orthopedic treatment, and patients need to be aware of this (Sylvie Legris, 2011).
This can be very important to a patient’s health and well-being as many studies have shown that if not properly addressed, the pain and discomfort that patients may experience after orthodontic treatment may make them want to abandon their orthodontic treatment (Sylvie Legris, 2011). The good news is there are many different potential ways to help alleviate the discomfort. Some analgesics such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen can be effective in reducing pain, and your orthodontist will determine if this is a good course of action for you (Sylvie Legris, 2011).
Some individuals maybe wondering if there are things they could even do at home to help ease their pain and discomfort. When can you deal with it on your own? And when should you seek out an orthodontist’s help?
When it comes to how to ease braces pain and ways to make braces stop hurting, you will find no end of articles online for how to comfort cover for braces, sensitive teeth with braces, how to get rid of brace pain, how to reduce braces pain, can you have a comfort brace, and of course the biggest question of all when do braces stop hurting? Some of them are, well, creative, while others are solid advice. Let’s do a little sorting of fact from fiction, and give you some solid tips that can really help make things feel better.
There are a whole host of methods for helping to reduce braces pain. Let’s start off with one that nearly every house has available and that can significantly reduce the pain of your braces and that is a good old-fashioned ice pack. Chilling the affected area with an ice pack can help to numb and reduce the pain. This is not at all to suggest that you should try to eat ice or crush it in your mouth as some individuals like to do. When you have braces, you need to be avoiding hard foods and that means ice cubes are definitely out.
However, it could be useful to simply put an ice pack on your face and let the soothing cool help reduce any pain you may have. Of course, never put ice directly in contact with skin as that can lead to frostbite. Always wrap ice or a frozen item inside a cloth towel or other covering to make sure you do not get more hurt trying to reduce your pain.
Watch what you eat!
Even if you’re happy to be using something like Invisalign or removable aligners, every time you get a brand new set you will notice that your teeth may become sensitive as they are being pulled into new positions. This is also true after your braces adjustments with traditional braces as well. There are significant dietary restrictions for individuals with traditional braces as alluded to earlier and one of the things that can help reduce the pain of your braces is to watch what you eat.
The less stress and work your teeth have to do during this period, the better they will feel. So avoid eating corn on the cob or hard candies and instead stick to soft foods like milkshakes, mashed potatoes, cake, or other items of that type. For more nutritional foods, consider unsweetened applesauce, stews or pot pies, or things like soups. Eating softer foods will relieve any pain that is being caused by poor diet choices.
Another common and practical method that anybody can use is the simple gum massage. Using a finger to gently rub the hurting area can help relieve pain. It can be even more effective if done with a small bit of ice to help cool the area first. Remember do not leave ice in for a lot of contact with your gums but using it for a short period of time to help alleviate pain before you rub it gently with your finger can be an effective method for many individuals.
If your pain is a result of wires poking your cheeks, you can ask your orthodontist for a bit of wax that you can apply to the wires. This wax is completely safe and won’t stick badly in your brackets. You may find this happens just before you get your braces tightened because your wire has moved as the teeth shift. A little bit of wire will stick out the back of your most rear affixed brackets.
When you first get your braces on, you may also find that your cheeks will not be used to having these things in your mouth. Some wax there will also help.
When you play sports, to keep your brackets from hurting your cheeks if you get hit in the mouth, you should wear a mouth guard. Your dentist or orthodontist can recommend a good one that will fit over your brackets.
How long will the pain last?
The pain does not often last long. For the vast majority of individuals, the pain will only be for the first few days after they have gotten an adjustment. After that, the pains and aches will fade away. Talking with your orthodontic office can help to alleviate any of the concerns you might be feeling or if your pain is not going away in the time your orthodontist specified. You should then talk with them about any other needs or methods that may be effective.
There are always over-the-counter medicines, drinking cool fluids, and even more intense methods of pain relief if prescribed and needed by your orthodontic office. Talking with your orthodontic office on a regular basis about your needs and how the treatment is progressing for you can all help set your mind at ease. And remember, the pain will go away but your beautiful smile will be forever.
One of the most common questions that orthodontic patients have is whether the installation process is painful? Or if wearing braces will be uncomfortable or painful. Fortunately, the installation process can be relatively painless. However, some have been informed that they may experience discomfort in the early stages of wearing their braces. It is generally expected that for a few days or even a week after the installation of your braces, you may have a mild soreness in your mouth.
Additionally, after some of your orthodontic appointments during the treatment phase, you may also have some mild soreness because of the re-adjustment of the wires and brackets. If you are concerned about this, speak to your orthodontist before you leave the appointment. If you develop soreness after you have left the orthodontist’s office, you should feel free to give your orthodontic office a call. Your orthodontist is always ready to assist you with any concerns about your orthodontic treatment.
Your orthodontist will provide you with tips to help you through the process. For example, if your gums and teeth are feeling sore after your initial installation or subsequent visits to the orthodontist, your orthodontist may encourage you to eat soft foods like mashed potatoes, stews, or even liquids like smoothies or yogurt. You may also be advised to eat cold foods to help numb the pain and soreness slightly. You should note, however, that eating or chewing ice is not advised.
Sylvie Legris. (2011). Managing pain and discomfort in orthodontics. Journal of Dentofacial Anomalies and Orthodontics, 14(109). https://doi.org/10.1051/odfen/2011108