6 easy ways of relieving orthodontic pain

metal braces

When does the discomfort start and what can you do about it?

The initial period after having braces fitted is often the most challenging for some patients as there is a lot for the patient to get used to. Both your mouth and tongue are not used to having braces on your teeth and you may find that some pain relief is in order. Sticky and hard foods may cause your braces to come off your teeth and you may take longer to clean your teeth. All these things contribute to the challenge in getting used to your new braces, but the good news is that this period will soon pass! Here are some ways you can relieve the discomfort.

6 easy ways of relieving orthodontic discomfort

  1. Soft foods for the first few days – eat softer foods that do not require much forceful chewing until you are more accustomed to eating with braces.  We have a range of braces friendly recipes in the Knowledge section of our website that might help!
  2. Cold foods – The cold from the ice cream/icy pole/ice cube helps to numb your teeth a little, this can provide some relief. However, exercise some care if you find that your teeth are sensitive to cold to begin with. You can find an article on sensitive teeth here.
  3. Distraction – doing something completely different can take your mind off the discomfort you feel.  It’s a great time to try out that new gym around the corner you’ve been thinking about joining or get outdoors.
  4. Pain relief – This may help to take the edge off the discomfort while you carry on with your daily activities. Alternating paracetamol and ibuprofen according to the manufacturer’s recommendations can be useful but be sure to only take it when necessary as it is more helpful in the long run if you don’t have to rely on pain medication.
  5. Rinse your mouth with warm salt water.  This provides a soothing effect and will treat any sores that may develop on the inside of your lips or cheeks due to the rubbing of the braces.
  6. Just like cold foods, chilled drinks such as icy cold water, juice, smoothies and slushies are good. However, beware the hidden sugars in drinks! Try to rinse your mouth out with water after you finish any sugary drink too.

When will my teeth and gums get used to the braces?

The fact is, the introduction of braces to the usually smooth face of a tooth is a huge shock to the tongue and the buccal mucosa of your mouth. What was once smooth is now relatively rough and it takes a while for the tongue and buccal mucosa to get used to the non-smooth surface it now interacts with. Sore spots are a rite of passage in orthodontic treatment and the good news is that it will not persist to the same degree as treatment progresses because your tongue, cheek and gums will get used to the braces and wire. However, every time your tooth moves, the brace and wire may interact with your buccal mucosa and tongue in a slightly different angle and may cause a sore spot to develop.