Although braces can give patients the straight, fantastic smile they’ve always wanted, wearing them can sometimes be uncomfortable. The experienced team at Cumberland Orthodontics in Somerset and Columbia, KY, go out of their way to make this process as pain free as possible and use up to date thermally active wires to exert the lightest forces necessary to move teeth. To help you better manage your discomfort after having your braces adjusted, they’ve shared some helpful tips below.
How to Reduce Pain After Tightening Braces
1. Ice Packs & Cold Foods
Applying something cold to your gums after your braces have been adjusted is a wonderful pain management solution, as it will reduce inflammation. Put an ice pack on the outside of your mouth, or suck on an ice cube to minimize your discomfort. Drinking cold water or eating a popsicle may also help.
2. Modifying your diet
When you have your braces adjusted, your teeth and gums may be sensitive, which makes eating food painful. For this reason, it is best to avoid hard, crunchy foods such as chips and raw vegetables. Instead, choose soft foods and liquids, like mashed potatoes, soups, smoothies and yogurt, which don’t require a lot of chewing. Once your teeth have adjusted and pain has subsided, you will be able to resume normal eating habits as usual. Chewing sugar free gum can help speed this process up!
3. Oral Anesthetic
Numbing your mouth is also a great option to minimize your discomfort. You can purchase oral anesthetics, such as Orajel®, at your local pharmacy. Oral anesthetics, like Orajel, can also be applied directly to the teeth and gums with a cotton swab or finger if pain is present. This method of pain relief is especially helpful at bedtime when you are trying to rest.
4. Swish with warm salt water
Sometimes sores can develop along the gums and cheeks as they adapt to brackets and wires. Swishing for one minute with a warm salt-water solution will help reduce infection and alleviate soreness caused by irritation from the braces. Dissolve one teaspoon of salt in roughly 8 ounces of warm water to make the solution. Make sure the water isn't too hot!
5. Pain Medicine
In some cases, especially during the first week of having your braces and after routine adjustments, you will likely feel some soreness or discomfort. This can be alleviated by over-the-counter medications like Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or other non-aspirin pain relievers like ibuprofen (Advil). It is wise to take some medication prior to having your braces placed and right after your adjustments in order to stay ahead of any discomfort. You can continue these medications regularly for a couple days after your visit to keep you comfortable.
6. Sore Jaw = Moist heat / heating pad
Occasionally as your bite changes and you adapt to braces, your jaw can become sore. This can most easily be alleviated by sticking to a soft diet, using anti-inflammatory medication like ibuprofen, and using a warm wash cloth or heating pad to reduce the soreness in your jaws. Make sure not to use a heating pad too long, as this can burn your skin.
If you’re looking for an orthodontist who will do everything in their power to ensure your comfort and well-being, turn to Dr. Brown at Cumberland Orthodontics in Somerset and Columbia, KY. His team can help you with everything from metal or clear braces to Invisalign®. You can find out more about what this premier facility has to offer by visiting their website. If you have any questions, call the friendly staff at (606) 679-8436.