Braces are the tried-and-true way to straighten your teeth and repair your bite. We’d love to tell you that it’s a 100% comfortable, easy, pain-free process. However, while braces treatment has improved over the years to become more comfortable than ever, you still may have some pain and discomfort on occasion. What do you do about it?
At Kanning Orthodontics, we strive to make your braces treatment as smooth and painless as possible. There may be occasions, though, when you feel some discomfort from your braces. We have suggestions on how to stop braces pain almost immediately and what you can do to make your treatment more comfortable.
What Causes Braces Pain?
Do braces hurt? Temporarily, but it usually only lasts a couple of days. Why do you experience braces pain? Most people don’t think about their teeth having nerves or blood vessels, but they have both.
You also have blood vessels and nerves in your gums around your jawbone. All of these are affected when your teeth begin to move. That’s exactly what braces do — move your teeth.
As your teeth start to move for the first time, the nerves become irritated. After all, wouldn’t you if someone was forcing you to move? The nerves and blood vessels react to the initial movement, causing your teeth and gums to be sore.
You might also see a slight swelling of your gums as movement begins. As your bone and tissue become accustomed to the movement, the irritation goes away. Rest assured, the discomfort is temporary!
You’ll probably feel it the most when you first get our clear ceramic braces or clear aligners. It shouldn’t last more than a week or so. After that, you may feel milder discomfort when your braces are tightened, or your clear aligner trays are changed to the next set. Again, it’s temporary and should only last a few days.
How to Stop Braces Pain: Oral gels
Oral gels and other oral anesthetics can provide temporary relief that’s almost immediate. These over-the-counter gels can be rubbed on the gums to numb the pain. Products such as Orajel work for adults, but there are children’s versions as well. Follow the instructions for use.
Pain Reliever for Braces: Over-the-Counter Medications
If necessary, over-the-counter pain relievers can be used to provide pain relief for braces. What is the best medicine for braces pain? The typical painkillers should work. You can take acetaminophen (Tylenol) for tooth pain or ibuprofen (Advil). Again, take only the amount instructed on the packaging.
If these don’t work or the pain gets worse, contact your orthodontist. We may bring you in for a check to ensure you don’t have an infection, a decaying tooth, or other issues that could be causing your pain.
Braces Pain Relief: Home Remedies
There are other ways to relieve pain from braces at home. One of the most common ways to reduce braces tooth pain is with warm salt water. You can use the rinse several times a day, but only for a few days. Otherwise, you may get too much salt in your system, which can increase your blood pressure.
To make a saltwater rinse, add 1 teaspoon of salt to 8 ounces of warm water. Be sure the water is warm and not hot so you don’t scald your already tender gums. If the salt stings, decrease it to ½ a teaspoon the next time.
Take a mouthful of the salt water and swish it well around your mouth, then spit it out. Repeat this process until all the water is gone. You’ll want to spit it out so you don’t ingest too much salt.
You should only need this rinse for a few days. The pain should diminish after that.
If the salt water alone isn’t enough, you can alternate the rinse with an ice pack. The cold reduces inflammation, which is often the source of the pain. Hold a cold pack to the painful areas for no more than 10 minutes at a time.
Soft Foods During Braces Pain
It’s a good idea to stick with soft foods during braces pain because chewing harder foods can cause further pain and irritation. Grab a cold milkshake or, better still, a cold protein shake after your orthodontist visit. The lack of chewing will give your gums and teeth a rest, and the cold will reduce inflammation.
Stick with soft foods for the next 2-3 days. Mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, oatmeal, and applesauce are some of the foods you can eat while your mouth gets used to your braces. Just stay away from sticky, chewy, or hard foods that can damage your braces and further irritate your mouth.
Other Braces Pain: Damaged Braces
What if your braces pain is from a wire poking you or a damaged bracket? Braces damage can also cause pain. The first thing to do is call us! We’ll need to schedule an appointment to repair your braces.
In the meantime, use your dental wax to reduce braces pain from a broken wire or bracket. Pull off a pea-sized piece of orthodontic wax and roll it in your fingers. This warms the wax and softens it. It also makes it easier to place the wax properly.
Place the braces wax over the broken bracket or wire and use your fingertip to mold it around the break. Remove the dental wax to eat or brush your teeth, then put new wax on the break.
Never reuse your braces wax! It traps bacteria and germs in the wax and puts them back in your mouth if you reuse it. Yuck!
Relieving Braces Pain in Kansas City, MO
Kanning Orthodontics wants to make your braces treatment or clear aligners treatment as pleasant as possible. Most of the time, you’ll probably forget you’re even wearing braces or clear aligners. It’s only the few days after a braces tightening or aligners change that you may experience pain. When that happens, try some of these suggestions to alleviate your braces pain.
If the pain doesn’t go away, contact us to schedule a follow-up appointment so we can check that everything is as it should be. Kanning Orthodontics is here for you through every step of your treatment!