Getting orthodontic braces on your teeth is worth the effort, but you are likely to experience pain and discomfort right after you put the braces on for the first time or when you get your braces tightened. Fortunately, braces pain is temporary, and secondly, there are ways to relieve braces pain.
Before we take a dive into the ways to stop braces pain, let’s first understand the basics of braces for teeth and what causes braces pain.
Components of Braces
Braces are comprised of several parts that include:
Brackets are square metal pieces that are attached to the front surface of the teeth. The brackets evenly apply pressure to the teeth to move them into place.
Archwires connect the brackets to one another, and they are made of stainless steel, nickel, titanium, or copper titanium. They control the tooth movement.
- Metal rings
Metal rings are made to fit at the back of the teeth.
- Rubber bands or elastic ties
These bands attach the wires to the brackets and are also used to connect teeth in the upper and lower jaws. These elastic bands also called O-rings or ligatures.
What Causes Braces Pain?
The braces pain can be attributed to various internal as well as external factors as follows:
- Internal factors: Some research says that braces pain may be due to the change in the blood flow that occurs when the braces apply pressure to the teeth.
- External factors: The friction caused due to the physical rubbing of the brackets and wires can irritate the soft tissue inside the mouth, thus causing braces pain. This type of pain reduces over time as the tissues become stronger. Another reason for braces pain can be due to the archwires poking into the back of the mouth.
How to Prevent Braces Pain?
Here are a few tips on how to get rid of braces pain:
- Take over-the-counter pain relief medicine
Take pain killers right before you go in for your appointment to get the braces tightened. The medicine will start working much before your pain starts. A single dose of pain killer is good enough to mitigate the slight discomfort and braces pain. However, ensure you discuss with your orthodontist before taking medicine.
- Use an oral anesthetic
Use your clean finger or a cotton swab to apply the numbing gel or liquid directly to your teeth and gums. This oral anesthetic desensitizes the mouth and decreases the pain.
- Apply orthodontic wax
The metal in your mouth can rub against your cheeks, lips, or gums, causing braces pain. Apply the dental wax on the surface of your braces to prevent any sores from developing. The braces wax can also come in handy if there has been a shift in your bracket that’s irritating you, but you have to wait a day or two to see your orthodontist. Apply the orthodontic wax to blunt the pointy edge of the wire and prevent it from poking you until you visit the orthodontist to get it readjusted.
- Eat soft foods
Avoid foods such as crunchy and hard foods like raw vegetables and chips that will further irritate your mouth. Also, overextending your jaw to chew chips or crusty bread can aggravate your braces pain and also prolong it. Instead, eat soft foods such as mashed potatoes, pudding, yoghurt, oatmeal, and soup that won’t irritate your already sensitive mouth.
- Use an icepack
Increased inflammation of your mouth increases the pain as well. So, apply cold pressure to the area of discomfort. An ice pack will decrease inflammation and ease oral discomfort.
- Drink cold water
Drinking ice-cold water numbs the sensation in the mouth and decreases the inflammation in the sore gums.
- Rinse with saltwater
Rinsing your mouth with a warm saltwater solution will help alleviate discomfort and will help prevent any potential infection. Gargle and swish your mouth with salt water for 60 seconds before spitting it out.
- Chew on frozen teething rings
Although teething rings are for infants, they are very effective tools in combating braces pain. Chew on frozen teeth ring, moving it to the places that hurt the most to subside the pain.
- Use a heating pad
If cold treatments aren’t working, try heating pads or a warm washcloth to apply heat to the areas of discomfort for pain relief.
Braces pain can be awful, but there’s relief in knowing that it’s only temporary. After your mouth adjusts to the braces, the pain will eventually subside. While the methods mentioned above will help you reduce your mouth pain, time is the actual healer. So, be patient.
If you’re concerned about your braces pain, or if you’re interested in getting braces on for a perfect smile, give us a call at Brite Orthodontics today.