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How to Manage Discomfort from Braces - 3 Tips

People who begin wearing braces - adults, teenagers, and younger children - are alike in 2 ways:

  1. They’re all starting a journey that ends with a great smile.

  2. They’re all going to experience some discomfort during the process.

Why Braces Cause Discomfort

Whether you wear metal, ceramic, self-ligating, or clear aligning braces, you’ll have some aches and pains:

  • Braces are unfamiliar elements in your mouth. Brackets or liners may initially scratch or rub against the soft tissue in your mouth, creating irritation.

  • Braces will change the position of your teeth by pulling, pushing, or turning them into alignment. The movement is new, and much like muscles ache after exercise or hard work, your mouth will tell you that the shifts in your teeth are uncomfortable.

Mountain View Orthodontics in Roanoke, VA recommends that you follow these 3 tips to reduce any discomfort while wearing braces.

  1. Use the Dental Wax We Give You:It Really Will Help!That container of wax may be small, but it’s a powerful tool for protecting your mouth from bracket irritation. Just hold a dot of wax briefly between your fingers to make it bendable, then place it on the bracket, gum, or tooth where you’re experiencing friction. Don’t worry if you swallow the wax occasionally; it’s non-toxic.

  2. Choose Foods WiselyAvoid hard, chewy, or crunchy foods, especially during the first few days after you begin wearing braces. Soft foods like oatmeal, mashed potatoes, macaroni & cheese, and yogurt will reduce the strain on your teeth. Treat your mouth like you would treat a sore muscle by alternating cooling and warming foods to help reduce inflammation and increase circulation. Chilled water or a popsicle will help soothe and numb an achy mouth. Warm foods or liquids like soup will relax and ease mouth pain. A watch out: Avoid acidic drinks like orange juice or grape juice, which can cause additional irritation. Remember to brush your teeth consistently after eating!

  3. Add DIY and Over-the-Counter Relief When Needed Easy do-it-yourself tactics for reducing mouth discomfort include:

    • Placing an ice pack on either side of your face, alternating 10 minutes on and 10 minutes off.

    • Rinsing your mouth with warm salt water. Dissolve 1 teaspoon of salt in 8 oz of warm water and swish your mouth several times. The salt water will reduce inflammation and promotes healing.

    • Applying pain relief gel at the pain site to numb the area of your mouth that’s causing discomfort.

    • Massaging your gums. With clean hands, gently massage the area around your teeth to relax your mouth. You can also rub an ice cube over your gums to soothe them.

    • Taking an over-the-counter pain reliever like ibuprofen can help with swelling and pain. Check with your orthodontist before giving pain relievers to children.

A watch out: Clenching your teeth is a natural reaction to pain that does improve circulation to your teeth and gums. Try not to clench, since it puts additional strain on your jaw and can lead to tooth fractures and enamel erosion.

At Mountain View Orthodontics in Roanoke VA, we want to keep you smiling throughout your time with us. Call our team during business hours with any questions or concerns you have about managing discomfort. Our after-hours answering service will notify us if you need additional support


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