For the most part, braces are pain-free, but along the way there is likely to be some discomfort. This will be most apparent when your metal braces are first applied, when they are adjusted (tightened), or each time you receive a new Invisalign retainer. Below are just a few ways to make pain from braces easier to manage.
This is one of the most common questions Dr. Walker is asked when patients are new to braces.
Pain is different for each patient. The first week will be your hardest in terms of pain and tension. The first initial hours after putting braces on will be the hardest. If you don’t feel any pain within the first hour, do not try solid foods. Many people make the mistake of eating afterwards making it even more sore.
The pain will continue over the next 4-7 days. If you continue taking it easy on your mouth by following the above advice, you can reduce the pain time.
Swelling and tenderness of the gums and mouth may last from a few hours, to a day or two after tightening. Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, are some of the best medicines you can find for brace pain. Take as directed and consider taking one dose 30 minutes prior to your next orthodontic appointment.
A frozen, sweet treat can provide pain relief after having your braces tightened. Some of the best options include ice cream, frozen yogurt, and popsicles. You can even use plain ice cubes or swish ice cold water in your mouth to soothe swollen gums.
Soft foods, soups, and smoothies are recommended the day or two after having your braces applied and may be required after braces are tightened. The initial application is likely to be the most painful of all, so plan accordingly.
The swelling of gums is not the only brace pain relief for which children are looking. Brackets and wires can rub against their cheeks, causing tenderness and even small sores. In order to provide your child with the relief they require, consider their specific needs. There are many pain relief solutions you can try, including wax that is placed over the brackets—and over the counter products, such as:
Epsom salt is an excellent home remedy for brace pain. Simply dissolve 1 teaspoon of Epsom salt in a glass of warm water then swish it around for a minute or two. Repeat as needed. If the taste of Epsom salt is too strong, substitute with table salt.
We know that many people tolerate the pain from braces differently. As a general suggestion for those experiencing discomfort, we encourage you to stick to a soft or liquid diet for the first few days. It may feel fine to eat crunchy pretzels now, but many patients regret that choice once the pain kicks in.
If you’ve ever experienced braces, you know there is no worse pain than accidently hitting your teeth along the cup or your eating utinsels. Many patients have found that baby spoons work wonders while they feel pain from braces. The metal spoon is coated in a soft rubber that makes it much more tolerable to eat.
While on the subject of baby utensils, consider teething rings. Parents know that these work wonders for small babies that are teething, and the same can be said for people having discomfort from braces. Chew on these rings, or even freeze them to numb the pain but keep the mouth muscles active.
A bit counter-productive to some of the earlier suggestions, we know. Some of the discomfort may stem from the muscles cramping and becoming stiff without activity. Chew ice or sugar free gum to keep the muscles active and reduce pain time.
Cut acidic drinks and fruit juices while your mouth is cut with open sores from your brackets. The acidity in these drinks will make sores even more painful. Stick to non-acidic and non-spicy drinks.
The tips above are designed to offer multiple solutions for brace pain relief. Try a few until you find what works, and don’t forget to talk with Dr. Walker about your symptoms.