Braces are a popular orthodontic treatment to correct dental issues and straighten teeth. While effective, they can also cause discomfort and pain, especially during installation or adjustments. This pain can make it challenging to eat, speak, and carry out daily activities. However, there are several techniques to relieve pain from braces and make the experience more comfortable.
In this article, we’ll explore various ways to alleviate pain caused by braces, from using orthodontic wax to eating soft foods, and provide answers to common questions about braces. Whether you are wearing braces or considering getting them, this article will provide useful tips to help you manage any discomfort and pain associated with braces.
Understanding the Pain Caused by Braces
When you get braces, it’s normal to experience some pain and discomfort. The pain is usually caused by the pressure exerted by the braces on your teeth as they shift into their new positions. This pressure can also cause soreness in the gums and jaw.
The initial discomfort typically lasts for a few days to a week, and it will gradually subside as your teeth adjust to the braces. However, you may experience some soreness for a day or two after each adjustment. This is because your orthodontist has tightened the wires to continue the process of teeth straightening.
In addition to pressure and soreness, the brackets and wires can rub against the inside of your mouth, causing small sores and irritation. This can be particularly unpleasant, especially when eating or speaking.
It’s important to understand that the pain and discomfort caused by braces are a natural part of the teeth-straightening process, and they will eventually go away as your teeth adjust to the braces. In the meantime, there are several things you can do to alleviate the discomfort and make the adjustment period more bearable.
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Tips and Tricks to Relieve Pain from Braces
If you are experiencing pain and discomfort from braces, there are several tips you can try to relieve the discomfort. Here are some effective ways to manage pain from braces:
1) Use Orthodontic Wax
Orthodontic wax is a soft and pliable material that can cover the brackets and wires of your braces. It creates a barrier between your braces and your cheeks and lips, which can help to reduce the discomfort caused by rubbing and irritation.
To use orthodontic wax, tear off a small piece of wax and roll it into a ball. Then, place the ball of wax onto the bracket or wire causing discomfort, and use your fingers to mold the wax around the area. The wax will adhere to your braces and create a smooth surface that reduces irritation and rubbing.
It’s important to note that orthodontic wax is not a permanent solution and will need to be reapplied as it wears off or falls out. You can purchase orthodontic wax at your local pharmacy or from your orthodontist. Be sure to follow the instructions provided with the wax and contact your orthodontist if you have any questions or concerns.
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2) Use Saltwater Rinse
A saltwater rinse is a simple and effective way to relieve soreness and inflammation in your mouth caused by braces. The rinse can help to reduce discomfort by creating a soothing and healing environment in your mouth.
To use a saltwater rinse:
- Mix one tsp of salt in warm water and stir until the salt is completely dissolved.
- Take a small sip of the mixture and swish it around your mouth for 30 seconds before spitting it out.
- Again do this process until you have used all of the mixtures.
It’s important to note that you should not swallow the saltwater mixture. Swallowing saltwater can cause dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, and other health problems. Additionally, do not use saltwater rinses too frequently, as this can cause damage to your tooth enamel.
A saltwater rinse can be used as often as necessary to relieve discomfort from braces. However, if you experience severe or prolonged pain, contact your orthodontist for advice on managing your symptoms.
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3) Taking pain relief medication
Taking pain relief medication is a common way to manage pain and discomfort caused by braces. Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help to reduce inflammation and relieve pain in the affected areas.
It’s important to follow the recommended dosage when taking pain relief medication and to consult with your orthodontist before taking any medication. Your orthodontist can advise you on the best treatment for your specific needs.
It’s also important to note that pain relief medication is not a long-term solution for managing pain from braces. If you continue to experience pain and discomfort, it’s important to address the underlying issue and seek advice from your orthodontist.
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4) Applying a cold compress
Applying a cold compress is a simple and effective way to relieve pain and swelling caused by braces. A cold compress can help to reduce inflammation and numb the affected area, providing immediate relief from discomfort.
To apply a cold compress:
- Wrap a few ice cubes in a clean towel or a cold gel pack.
- Hold the compress against the affected area for 10-15 minutes, then remove it for 10-15 minutes before reapplying.
- Repeat this process as often as necessary to manage pain and swelling.
It’s important to note that you should not apply a cold compress directly to your skin, as this can cause frostbite and other injuries. Always wrap the compress in a towel or use a cold gel pack to protect your skin from direct contact.
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5) Eat soft foods
Eating soft foods is another strategy that can be used to manage the pain and discomfort caused by braces. Soft foods are gentle on the teeth and gums and are less likely to irritate sore spots or damage brackets or wires.
Some soft foods include mashed potatoes, soups, smoothies, yogurt, cooked vegetables, and soft fruits like bananas and applesauce. It’s also important to avoid hard, crunchy, or sticky foods that can damage braces or cause pain and discomfort.
In addition to eating soft foods, it’s important to maintain good oral hygiene while undergoing orthodontic treatment. Brush your teeth twice daily and floss regularly to remove food particles and bacteria contributing to discomfort and oral health problems.
By combining a soft foods diet with good oral hygiene practices, you can effectively manage the pain and discomfort associated with braces and ensure a comfortable and successful orthodontic treatment.
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6) Use Oral Anesthetic
Using an oral anesthetic is a temporary solution to relieve pain and discomfort caused by braces. Oral anesthetics are topical gels or liquids that can be applied directly to the affected area to numb the nerves and reduce pain.
To use an oral anesthetic, apply a small amount of the gel or liquid to a cotton swab or your finger and rub it onto the affected area. Allow the anesthetic to sit briefly before rinsing your mouth with water or a saltwater rinse.
It’s important to note that oral anesthetics should only be used as directed and not be applied too frequently, as this can cause side effects such as burning or irritation. It’s also important to consult with your orthodontist before using an oral anesthetic, as some products may not be suitable for certain patients.
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When to Seek Professional Help
While some pain and discomfort are common when first getting braces or after an adjustment, it’s important to know when to seek professional help. If you experience severe or persistent pain, swelling, or bleeding may be a sign of an underlying issue that requires attention from your orthodontist.
Here are some signs that you should seek professional help:
- Severe or persistent pain that does not respond to over-the-counter pain medication.
- It is swelling or bleeding in the gums or mouth.
- A loose or broken wire, bracket, or appliance.
- Sores or cuts on the inside of your mouth or lips.
- Any other unusual symptoms or concerns.
If you experience these symptoms, contact your orthodontist as soon as possible to schedule an appointment. Your orthodontist can assess the issue and provide the necessary treatment to relieve your symptoms and ensure a successful orthodontic treatment.
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In conclusion, braces are a common orthodontic treatment that can help straighten teeth and improve oral health. While some pain and discomfort are normal when first getting braces or after an adjustment, there are several strategies that can be used to manage these symptoms, including using orthodontic wax, taking pain relief medication, and applying a cold compress. Eating soft foods and practicing oral hygiene is also important for managing pain and ensuring successful orthodontic treatment. However, if you experience severe or persistent pain, swelling, or other unusual symptoms, it’s important to seek professional help from your orthodontist. By taking these steps, you can effectively manage the pain and discomfort from braces and achieve the beautiful, healthy smile you deserve.
Q: How long does it take for braces to stop hurting?
A: It varies from person to person, but the initial discomfort from braces generally lasts a few days to a week. However, it’s not uncommon to experience mild soreness or discomfort after adjustments, which can last for a day or two.
Q: Can I use over-the-counter pain medication to relieve pain from braces?
A: Over-the-counter pain medication such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help relieve pain and discomfort from braces. However, it’s important to follow the recommended dosage and consult with your orthodontist before taking any medication.
Q: Will using orthodontic wax damage my braces?
A: No, using orthodontic wax is a safe and effective way to relieve pain and discomfort from braces. The wax is designed to stick to the brackets and wires without damaging them and can be easily removed when no longer needed.
Q: Can I normally eat with braces?
A: While you can eat most foods with braces, it’s important to avoid hard, sticky, or chewy foods that can damage or dislodge your braces. It’s also a good idea to cut food into small pieces and chew slowly to avoid damaging your braces or causing discomfort.
Q: Is it normal to have some discomfort after getting braces?
A: Yes, it’s normal to experience some discomfort after getting braces or after adjustments. This is because the braces are putting pressure on the teeth and move them into the correct position. However, if you experience severe or persistent pain, it’s important to contact your orthodontist for help.
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