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Braces are a very important tool that orthodontists use to correct misaligned teeth and jaws. Unfortunately, these devices can be a little uncomfortable even though they are very beneficial. Depending on the reason for the discomfort, there are a few simple remedies that can be used to make your braces-wearing experience more enjoyable. With the right treatment methods, you can get all of the smile-straightening benefits without having to deal with a lot of unpleasant pain.
Reasons for Orthodontic Discomfort
Before you can treat any soreness or pain that you are feeling, it is important to figure out what is causing the feelings. There are a few different reasons for discomfort after orthodontic treatments:
Immediately after getting orthodontics installed, a dull ache in your teeth or gums is true. It is perfectly natural, but it can make it difficult to eat.
Some patients develop sore spots on their inner cheeks or lips. This happens because the metal is rubbing against sensitive skin, but it is mostly preventable.
If an archwire gets loose, it may start poking your gums or mouth, causing sharp and sudden pain. This is rather rare and not very harmful, but it still requires immediate treatment.
The Best Foods to Eat While Dealing with Discomfort
Most patients who have had orthodontic procedures find that most discomfort occurs while eating. There are a few different ways to make meals more pleasant. First of all, you may want to stick with soft foods during the initial days after getting orthodontic equipment installed or tightened. Anything that requires you to bite down firmly can cause discomfort, especially along the incisors. Cold or frozen items have the added benefit of numbing the mouth and preventing you from feeling pain, so they are particularly helpful for dealing with pain. Recommended food choices for patients dealing with discomfort after an orthodontic procedure include:
Well cooked rice or pasta
Well cooked beans
Remedies to Soothe Sore Teeth and Gums
Unfortunately, just eating soft food is not enough to stop all discomfort from achy teeth and gums. If you are dealing with pain even when you are not eating, there are a few other handy home remedies that can help to reduce discomfort.
Change your oral hygiene routine – Your normal mouth cleaning habits might further exacerbate discomfort, especially if you usually use a high powered electric toothbrush or a Waterpik device. Switch to a very softly bristled toothbrush to prevent cavities without causing discomfort.
Take pain medications – There are many over the counter pain medication options that can reduce discomfort if needed. Pills such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen treat general discomfort. A topical anesthetic gel can be applied to the gums to directly relieve pain in that area.
Follow your orthodontist’s instructions
A lot of patients make the mistake of not wearing rubber bands or other appliances because it seems to make the discomfort worse. However, just wearing them for a couple of hours at a time actually makes the discomfort worse. If you wear them regularly, these helpful appliances will speed up the tooth alignment process and cause less discomfort.
Use an ice pack – Applying cold temperatures to your mouth help to slightly numb the area and reduce any inflammation that would cause further discomfort. You can hold an ice pack to the outside of your jaw to help reduce soreness.
Try a toothpaste for sensitive teeth – Many patients have a temporary increase in tooth sensitivity after orthodontic procedures. Pick a toothpaste with potassium nitrate that helps to protect the nerves in your mouth from discomfort.
Treatments for Irritated Mouths
Some patients find that they feel no pain in their teeth, it’s the sores or welts along their cheeks and lips due to the devices that irritate. For patients with sensitive mouths, these tips can help to lower or prevent any irritation.
Use orthodontic wax – Your orthodontist’s office will provide you with a case of soft, tasteless wax after they do any orthodontic treatments. This wax is placed over orthodontic equipment. All you have to do is place a small, pea sized ball of wax over the orthodontic part that is rubbing against a sore and smooth it into place, and consequently will dull any sharp or rough edges.
Stay away from acidic items
A lot of beverages and foods contain a highly acidic content that can make sores sting or hurt worse. Try to avoid citrus fruits, lemonades, sodas, or tomato sauces if your sores are severe.
Swish with warm salt water – Mix a teaspoon of basic salt into eight ounces of warm water until the salt is dissolved. Take a large mouthful of this mixture and gently swish it around in your mouth before spitting it into a sink, consequently this will soothe any pain and prevent the sores from getting infected and causing worse discomfort. You can repeat this several times a day until no longer needed.
Rinse with hydrogen peroxide – This common antibacterial solution, will further reduce infection risks. Mix one part 3 percent hydrogen peroxide with one part water and swish it around your mouth for one minute.
Now that you know how easy it is to prevent pain, there is nothing stopping you from fixing your smile. At Gluck Orthodontics, our team of talented and experienced staff provide quality treatment for anyone who would like the help of an orthodontist. Furthermore, we use both traditional methods and advanced techniques like Invisalign to meet each patient’s individual needs. Contact us today to set up a consultation.
2125 Blakemore Avenue
Phone: 615 269 5903
5 ways to Alleviate Discomfort after Putting on Braces
Dr. Joel Gluck has practiced orthodontics since 1983 when he opened his own office in Nashville. He earned his undergraduate degree at Washington University in St. Louis, and his dental degree at the University of Tennessee. Dr. Gluck then completed an orthodontic specialty residency at the University of Michigan, one of the top five orthodontic training residencies in the country. He also wrote an original thesis and received a Master of Science degree.