Of course, there are MANY reasons to LOVE braces!
Braces do an amazing job of straightening the teeth and fixing dental bite problems.
On the other hand, the reason braces work is because they move and shift the teeth. This is usually done through tightening or adjusting traditional braces, or via a new aligner with Invisalign. In both cases, the key is that each time tooth movement is changed or altered, there is going to be some pain as this movement occurs and teeth shift positions in the mouth.
The good news is there are some very easy things you can do to deal with braces pain that can eliminate or reduce it completely!
If you need to reduce pain from braces tightening or tooth movement caused by a new aligner, the following may help:
Find yourself a cold drink
Drinking something cold does a couple of helpful things for braces pain. First, it can help numb the gums. This feels good and reduces any inflammation created as the teeth move. It’s also a super-fast option that can be done pretty much anywhere and works almost instantly.
Eat cold foods
Similarly, eating something cold can also reduce inflammation and thus, pain in the mouth. And of course, it’s the perfect excuse to have some tasty ice cream, a popsicle, a milkshake, or a smoothie. Another “cool” thing to do is freezing fruits such as grapes or melon balls. Then, you can just take them out of the freezer and pop them in quickly, as needed. You can even hold them against your gums for rapid relief. (And they taste really good too!)
Address the inflammation itself
OTC medicines like Advil and Ibuprofen (so long as you’re not allergic) go directly to the likely primary source of your braces pain – inflammation. DO remember that a medication designed to treat inflammation is going to work better than a general pain reliever like acetaminophen (Tylenol).
Put something cold on the outside of the jaw, against the teeth area
An ice pack – or even a bag of frozen veggies – can be placed on the outside of the jaw to help relieve the inflammation that is causing braces pain. Just be sure to wrap it up in something to protect your skin from the cold, if you want to hold the ice pack or frozen bag against the face for any length of time.
Swish some salt…
Take some warm water and dissolve some salt in it (make sure the water is warm for easy dissolution). Then, swish the salt water solution in the mouth for about thirty seconds and then spit it in the sink (don’t swallow!). This can go a long way to relieving any kind of mouth pain quickly.
Eat soft – or softer – foods
When your mouth hurts from braces pain, the entire mouth can become super-sensitive and achy. This is a time to be soft on yourself—and especially, your mouth. Choose softer food options so you don’t make the pain worse from trying to chew on harder or tougher foods.
Use oral rinses or gels that are designed to help reduce mouth pain
Today, there are many OTC oral rinses and oral gels that include numbing agents to help alleviate mouth pain, such as that which occurs with braces tightening. We can help you with some of our favorite recommendations here in the office, or ask your trusted orthodontist or dentist for their choices. One thing that can also help braces pain fast is “bite wafers.” These are teeth-shaped and by biting on them, you increase blood flow and circulation in your mouth, helping to reduce braces pain quickly.
Use products that create a dental barrier
Dental wax is something all braces-wearers should get friendly with for the duration of time you are wearing braces. Dental wax is HUGE in helping to reduce braces pain in a lot of situations. Specifically, often mouth pain from braces is cause by consistent (even “light”) rubbing of the braces materials against the mouth walls and gums. Dental wax literally puts a barrier between your braces and this soft tissue. A similar, newer, product that forms a dental barrier is “comfort strips.” These are made somewhat like whitening strips and they sit between the braces and gums / inside cheeks, serving as a buffer from the two touching.
In the end, however, maybe one of the best things to keep in mind is the end result. That’s why you are wearing braces anyway—to get BEAUTIFUL teeth. Braces pain is fleeting and usually, just mildly uncomfortable. And it won’t last forever. However, when you DO get some pain, the above tips and ideas should help.