For straightening teeth and/or correcting a misaligned bite, braces undoubtedly are a modern miracle.
Especially today, when there are more braces options – many of which work better and faster than ever before – braces are becoming even more common and accessible.
Why do braces hurt sometimes and what you can you do to treat braces pain?
Essentially, braces work by using varying degrees of pressure to move the teeth in the mouth. For most types of braces, part of this process is getting braces tightened or “adjusted”.
Even with the more recent dental braces advancements that perform this function in slightly different ways, the pressure and actual movement of teeth can cause at least a slight bit of pain. And in some cases, for some patients, the pain can be more (or feel like more) than slight discomfort.
The good news is that there are several easy tricks to fighting braces pain!
Treat the inflammation created from braces adjustments
Each time the teeth are loosed and moved by the pressure exerted by braces or Invisalign aligners, this may inflame sensitive dental tissue. This is one reason braces hurt. Inflammation can cause even more pressure and discomfort. Treating the inflammation with an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen can help to eliminate this secondary pain, providing some relief. For many braces wearers, this may be all that is needed to deal with braces pain.
Eat or drink something cold
Think about it… cold is slightly numbing. Therefore, by keeping the mouth colder than normal, you can very likely eliminate a great degree of braces pain. Drinking or eating cold things also helps to reduce inflammation too. Additionally, the good news about this trick is that it’s super simple and works fast. Anything really works – cold water, other cold liquids, ice cream, yogurt, smoothies. Another great idea is freezing fruit – such as grapes – so you can pull them out of the freezer and pop them in the mouth when you need really quick braces pain treatment.
Hold something cold on the outside of the jaw area where the braces hurt
Whether a cold pack, or frozen bag of vegetables, just holding something cold against the skin where the pain from braces is can also help to numb the area and treat inflammation at the same time. DO wrap it in a rag or protective cover though if you are going to do this for any length of time.
Keep any foods soft (or softer)
If the entire mouth is aching, baby it for a little while by keeping foods softer than normal. When you have to chew hard or rigorously, it can definitely increase or aggravate braces pain.
When braces hurt, use special gels or oral rinses that are specially designed for mouth pain
Another saving grace is that today, many companies make specific oral pain treatments you can easily get from your local store. While these have several different uses, they can be helpful for treating pain caused by braces tightening for sure. Your orthodontist may have recommendations. There are even things called “bite wafers” you can buy that increase blood flow and circulation when you bite on them, decreasing pain too.
Get some dental wax or comfort strips
Similarly, these are specialty dental products that were created specifically for dental pain and are really helpful for pain due to braces adjustment. Especially, since sometimes pain is due to a wire just touching a soft area of the gums. It may be almost nothing but over time, becomes painful. Comfort strips are similar to whitening strips. They can be placed between the braces on the teeth and gums to keep them from rubbing and creating discomfort.
Whatever you choose, just remember that this pain is fleeting and the outcome is oh-so-worth-it!