Orthodontic braces are worth the effort to get teeth aligned, but the discomfort you will feel can be quite disheartening. This discomfort is associated with your body's reaction to the pressure of the braces on your teeth, and can vary depending on your age, stress levels, and whether you are male or female. Although there is no cure that works for all cases when it comes to getting rid of the pain caused by the device, you can greatly reduce the discomfort.
Method 1 of 5: Diet Changes
Step 1. Try to eat only soft foods for the first few days after putting on the appliance
You will experience most of the pain in the first 24 to 72 hours after you put the appliance on. Therefore, it is essential that, during the first few days, you consume very soft foods that do not require a lot of chewing. Stick to the soft food diet until you get used to eating with the braces in your mouth. Foods such as soups, purees, yogurt and smoothies are recommended.
Step 2. Try eating cold or cold things like ice cream
Cold foods can alleviate discomfort as they have a natural analgesic effect. In addition to ice cream, you can also suck on ice cubes. Place a cube in your mouth, near the place that hurts the most. Ice will help numb the area and reduce any inflammation.
Alternatively, you can freeze a baby teething ring (the colored silicone ones used to ease babies' discomfort during the teething stage) and chew or put it in your mouth. This will also relieve pain
Step 3. Avoid acidic foods and drinks
Because they contain citric acid, they can worsen any sores in your mouth (which are common after braces are put on) or cause irritation.
Step 4. Try sugar free gum
Chewing gum will work as an exercise, increasing blood flow to the mouth and gums, which should help alleviate the discomfort. Sugar free gum is a better option than the sugared version, which can lead to cavities.
Step 5. Try to stay away from hard or sticky foods
Avoid certain types of food, which could damage the appliance, causing some irritation at the site and extra expense at the dentist. Examples of hard and sticky foods: snack foods, jerky, nuts, dulce de leche and candy.
Avoid chewing hard objects like pens, pencils or ice cubes at all costs
Method 2 of 5: Oral Treatments to Relieve Discomfort
Step 1. Take an over-the-counter pain reliever
Medications such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) may offer some relief from the discomfort caused by the device. Take a dose of acetaminophen (usually two tablets) every four hours. Don't forget to take this medicine after a snack or meal, as it can cause heartburn if you take it on an empty stomach. Drink a full glass of water when taking acetaminophen.
- Follow the instructions on the package insert to use the proper dose.
- You can also take ibuprofen (Advil) instead of Tylenol, although some dentists and orthodontists do not recommend the latter medication as it can delay the change in position of the teeth. And never, ever take both types of medication (Tyleonol combined with Advil) - just choose one of them!
Step 2. Use a topical analgesic to relieve pain
There are a number of over-the-counter medications that can alleviate discomfort in the mouth. Their effect lasts for a few hours. They can be found in the following versions: mouthwashes and gels. Products like Orajel and Gelclair can help ease the pain a bit.
Follow package directions for proper application. Some people get an allergy when using these products, so it is important to read the instructions carefully before proceeding
Step 3. Rinse your mouth with a saline solution
It has the power to alleviate discomfort and to treat any wounds that may have been caused by the friction of the device against the inner parts of the cheeks. To do a salt water wash, pour a teaspoon of regular refined salt into a cup of warm water. Shake until all the salt is dissolved. Fill your mouth with this mixture and rinse gently for about a minute before spitting out.
Repeat this several times a day, especially in the first few days and whenever you are experiencing more pain than usual
Step 4. Rinse your mouth with dilute hydrogen peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is an antiseptic and can reduce inflammation that irritates your mouth. Mix one part water with one part hydrogen peroxide 10 volumes in a glass container. Fill your mouth with this mixture and rinse gently for about a minute before spitting out. Repeat a few times a day.
- There are products based on hydrogen peroxide available in supermarkets and pharmacies. They are aimed at treating mouth sores and pain relief, such as Colgate's mouthwash.
- The taste of hydrogen peroxide is not wonderful, as is the foam that forms with mouthwash.
Step 5. Orthodontic wax is worth using
It protects because it forms a barrier between your braces and the inside of your mouth. It is easily found in drugstores. You can also ask your dentist to provide you with a free sample to try.
To apply the wax, take a small amount, the equivalent of a pea. Roll it up with your fingers to form a ball. This will also heat the wax and make it easier to iron. Use a piece of cloth to dry the area of the appliance where you intend to wax. Press it directly onto the wire or bracket (the square). Repeat as many times as necessary
Step 6. Use the elastics that come with the device
These rubber bands are placed around the brackets to help align the appliance with your jaw in the way your dentist deems best for you. They can help reduce the amount of time it takes to fix your teeth. That's why it's important to wear these elastics. Your orthodontist will probably advise you to use them as much as you can, except at mealtimes or brushing. It is also important to replace them frequently.
These rubber bands can often cause discomfort, especially in the first few days after putting the appliance on for the first time. But they can bother you even more if you don't use them enough to get used to them. If you wear them for just a few hours a day or a few times a week, you will experience more discomfort than if you wear them all the time
Method 3 of 5: Changing Oral Hygiene Habits
Step 1. Choose a toothpaste for sensitive teeth
Most toothpaste brands have special products aimed at cleaning sensitive teeth. They contain a chemical called potassium nitrate, which helps reduce sensitivity by protecting the nerves in your gums. Most of these creams use a synthetic form of potassium nitrate, although some natural toothpaste brands use the ingredient in its natural form; the synthetic version also poses no health risk if used correctly, rest assured.
Follow the instructions on the toothpaste package for proper use
Step 2. Use a soft bristle brush
The bristles on toothbrushes can range from soft to firmer. The softer the bristles, the less friction and aggression will be suffered by your teeth and gums when brushing your teeth. Therefore, it is important to choose a toothbrush that has soft bristles.
Step 3. Brush your teeth carefully
If you are in the habit of using force, this will be quite painful for you the first few days after putting on the braces. Try to make smooth, circular movements. Don't be in a hurry, and try to open your mouth wide for a more thorough cleaning.
Step 4. Brush and floss after each meal
When you wear braces, you have to brush and floss every time you eat, even when you're out and about. Without this care, you run the risk of developing cavities, inflamed gums or other dental problems. It's boring, but it's essential to take extra care in cleaning during the time you use the appliance.
Always carry a travel toothbrush, mini tube of toothpaste and a small packet of dental floss with you whenever you are away from home. This way, you will always be prepared for your cleansing ritual after any meal or even a snack
Method 4 of 5: Visits to the Orthodontist
Step 1. It might be a good idea to take a test to see if you will fit the device
It is common to feel a little pain the first time the appliance is put on. But if you're still experiencing excruciating pain even after a few weeks, it's best to go back to the dentist to make sure everything's okay and discuss the best solution to the problem.
Step 2. Ask the orthodontist to loosen the appliance a little
If the pain caused by the appliance is too intense, it is possible that it is too tight. And that's no advantage. Just because you tighten the braces more doesn't mean it will work better or straighten your teeth faster. Talk to the dentist about this.
Step 3. Ask the dentist to trim the protruding edges of the appliance
Sometimes there are short ends of strands in the braces that stick out and end up causing constant friction against the inside of your cheek. This becomes a source of extreme discomfort and mouth sores. If this is happening to you, ask your orthodontist to cut the ends of these wires. The relief will be immediate.
Step 4. Ask the dentist to prescribe stronger medications or alternative treatments
He or she may recommend a stronger dose of ibuprofen for you if the over-the-counter medications aren't working as expected.
The orthodontist may also recommend other treatments, such as an orthodontic teether. You bite him for a few minutes, several times every hour. The biting movement helps to activate blood circulation to the gums, which can relieve pain
Step 5. Ask your dentist for more tips to reduce pain or discomfort
The professional can give you specific advice that will help you discover the best techniques for dealing with discomfort and pain. As dentists have worked with patients with a wide range of problems, they may know a solution that worked for one who had the same problem as yours.
Method 5 of 5: Preparing for a Readjustment
Step 1. Make an appointment for a more suitable time
Try to schedule the appointment for a day when you don't have important deadlines to meet or other activities that require concentration and focus. Have you ever thought about having to break your head over a problem feeling pain? Try to schedule the appointment for the end of the day so that you can go home immediately and rest after resetting the device.
Step 2. Stock up on soft foods
Your mouth will be tender again for a few days after your braces are readjusted or tightened. Therefore, try to consume soft foods such as purees, pudding, soups, ice cream, yogurt and fruit smoothies for at least two days.
Step 3. Take a pain reliever before the appointment
Take an acetaminophen tablet before your appointment so that it starts to work during your treatment. That way you will avoid the pain. Take another pain reliever four to six hours after the first one to continue controlling the pain.
Step 4. Talk to the orthodontist about your concerns
Now is the time to tell him if you're having problems with your braces or if you're noticing problems like headaches or mouth sores that won't go away. He can make other adjustments to help alleviate or resolve these issues.