Most people experience mild to moderate discomfort when they have their braces adjusted. Here are 6 tips for reducing your pain.
1) Use Oral Anesthetics
The fastest way to get relief from braces pain is to apply a topical oral anesthetic such as Anbesol or Orajel, using either a cotton swab or your finger. Oral anesthetics desensitize your gums and teeth, so you won’t feel the pain of shifting teeth so acutely.
2) Take a Painkiller
Over-the-counter pain medicine, such as ibuprofen, naproxen and acetaminophen can help alleviate the pain of braces. It’s generally a good idea to take one about an hour before your orthodontic appointment, so you will feel less discomfort during and immediately after. Be sure to read the directions and only take the recommended dosage based on your age and body weight. It’s also important to remember that over-the-counter pain medicines should not be used on a regular basis. According to the American Association of Orthodontists, any discomfort after an adjustment should be temporary; if you continue feeling discomfort after a couple of days, contact your orthodontist.
3) Try an Icepack
Cold temperatures can numb the mouth and reduce inflammation. Try applying an ice pack of gel cold pack to the area outside your mouth. Do not place the pack directly against oral tissues. You should also be sure to cover the pack with a cloth to avoid injuring your skin.
4) Use Orthodontic Wax
Your orthodontist will usually send you home with a special wax that shields the inside of your mouth from the abrasive brackets of your braces. The wax forms a barrier that keeps the sharp parts of the brackets from irritating your oral tissue. You can reduce or prevent discomfort by molding the wax over the bracket responsible for the pain or irritation.
5) Use a Warm Rinse
Warm salt water can also ease pain associated with braces. Gargling with warm salt water can also promote better healing of cuts or sores caused by your brackets. Add a 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of salt to an 8-ounce glass of warm water. Rinse for about 20 to 30 seconds being careful not to swallow any of the mixtures. Repeat several times until you notice an improvement.
6) Practice Good Dental Hygiene
While most people experience mild to moderate discomfort while wearing braces, things can get much worse if you don’t brush and floss regularly. When people neglect to practice good dental hygiene while wearing braces, they can experience complications, such as bleeding, swollen gums, tooth decay and periodontal disease. These issues can negatively impact your treatment while causing long-term issues that can affect the look and function of your teeth. Always follow your orthodontist’s recommendations for dental hygiene and schedule routine professional cleanings with your dentist.