Teeth are some of the most essential parts of your body. They help you get the nutrients you need to lead a healthy life and are also crucial for self-expression. Having misaligned teeth can make it difficult to talk, smile, or laugh with confidence, which is why many adults get braces. Braces can solve various dental issues, enhance your appearance and boost your confidence. But if you've heard about braces pain from other people, you might hesitate to get this type of dental treatment.
Our team at Risas Dental has helped dozens of patients through their braces journey. Follow along as we discuss braces pain and give you a few tips for managing it as you navigate your way to a brighter, healthier smile.
Why Do Braces Hurt?
Braces are a treatment method used to correct dental problems such as crooked teeth, crowded teeth, spaced teeth, open bites, overbites, and underbites. Braces apply steady pressure on your mouth's soft tissue, slowly changing the position of your teeth and jaws.
When your mouth is overcrowded, your jaw size may be too small to fit all your teeth. Braces will slowly try to push teeth that sit outside or inside the jaw into the proper position on your gums. The soft tissue in your mouth has to expand and create more space for the teeth to sit during this process.
Since braces literally change your mouth's structure, you should expect some pain during the journey. Some pain can also be triggered by the type of foods you eat, especially when the braces are new.
However, any ache and pain you feel when wearing braces should be bearable and easy to manage by taking over-the-counter painkillers and resting. Most people can tolerate the pain that comes with braces, which is why even little kids can wear them. Severe pain should be addressed by your doctor.
What To Expect With Braces
Orthodontists are dental specialists who handle the process of installing braces. The process isn't painful and orthodontists don't administer anesthesia during installation. Before installation, they'll clean your teeth and mouth to remove plaque and food remains.
The orthodontist will apply glue on each tooth, spreading it on the surface before attaching small brackets. Then, they'll secure a wire to the brackets, tightening it to produce the desired tension to the teeth.
The tension from the brackets may make your mouth sore a few hours after the braces are in place. Your orthodontist may recommend taking a painkiller and resting to relieve the pain and give your mouth time to adjust.
After Getting Braces On
The pressure from the wires on your braces and bands can cause small cuts inside your mouth. Some people also experience headaches and toothaches the week after their first braces installation. These symptoms should reduce over time and eventually disappear.
Modifying your diet to include braces-friendly soft foods and drinks is important to minimize tooth pain when eating after installation.
Cleaning your teeth properly will help you maintain good oral hygiene. Dedicate time twice a day to brush around each brace. Floss using threaders and use interdental brushes to remove food particles from the small space between the braces and your teeth.
Be gentle when cleaning to avoid damaging your teeth and mouth.
Why Do Rubber Bands on Braces Hurt So Much?
Braces can use interarch rubber bands to hold the wires in the ideal position for their teeth and jaws. Your orthodontist will guide you on how to wear the rubber bands based on how your bite needs to be corrected. In many cases, you must hook the rubber band to the brackets on your upper canines and then loop it around the brackets on your lower back teeth.
The other type of band used on braces is called ligatures. Ligatures wrap around the bracket on each tooth. Only an orthodontist can install and remove ligatures during your appointment.
You may feel discomfort or pain a few days after installing your first elastic bands because your teeth have started moving to the correct position. As with braces, the discomfort from rubber bands doesn't last forever and reduces as your teeth settle into new positions.
Getting Braces Tightened During Treatment
You'll need to visit the orthodontist once every few weeks for braces adjustment or re-tightening. Braces lose their grip when your teeth shift into a more aligned position. Getting braces tightened ensures your braces always apply the right amount of pressure to all your teeth.
During the realignment appointment, your orthodontist will remove the elastic bands or ligatures holding the alignment wire. After examining tooth movement, the orthodontist will tighten or renew the wire to account for the changes. The orthodontist might put springs and new ligatures or rubber bands around the braces.
Adjusting or tightening braces wires can be painful, especially a few days after the appointment. However, you should always go to the dentist whenever your wires start to feel loose since this will prevent you from wearing braces for longer than necessary.
5 Ways To Relieve Braces Pain at Home
There are many ways to relieve braces pain and discomfort at home so you can continue your daily activities after your appointment. These methods include:
Using orthodontic wax. Orthodontic wax is a substance designed to create a barrier between the wires on your braces and the soft tissue in your mouth. By coating your braces with wax, you reduce the impact of their hard corners and sharp ends. Roll and apply the wax your orthodontist prescribes on clean teeth, replacing it at least twice daily to prevent mouth infections.
Rinsing with salty water. Salty water is an affordable pain relief method for braces pain. Fill a glass with warm water, then stir in a teaspoon of regular salt until it dissolves completely. Swish it over all the sore points in your mouth before spitting it out.
Taking painkillers. Over-the-counter painkillers such as acetaminophen can help you manage braces discomfort. Consult your orthodontist before taking new medications for pain. They may recommend using a painkiller during braces installation and adjustment to minimize discomfort.
Eating the right foods. Change your diet after getting braces to minimize chewing and keep your braces clean. You'll feel a lot better if you don't have to remove pieces of food from between aching teeth every time you eat.
Resting. Minimize physical exertion after your braces appointment to give your body time to adjust. You can place an ice pack on your face while lying down to watch a movie or sleep to alleviate braces pain.
Food To Eat If Your Teeth Are Sore
Incorporating these foods into your diet will keep you nourished throughout your braces journey:
Cold foods. These foods can reduce gum and mouth inflammation from braces discomfort or soreness. Sugar-free drinks and ice cream can be helpful too.
Soft foods. Give your teeth a break by avoiding crunchy foods such as carrots, celery and apples immediately after your dentist appointments. Mashed potatoes, rice, soups, smoothies and juices are delicious and nutritious food options for people with braces.
Non-sticky foods. Maintaining oral hygiene with braces will be more challenging if you eat food that easily gets trapped in your teeth. Avoid chewing gum, candy, pasta dishes and chewy meats when you have braces.
It's normal to feel discomfort after getting braces, but you should contact your orthodontist if you experience severe pain that doesn't improve after taking painkillers. You should also seek medical attention for mouth sores and wounds that don't heal after an expected timeframe. We recommend contacting your orthodontist if the wires on your braces loosen or break to avoid causing further damage to your teeth and mouth.
At Risas Dental, our experienced orthodontists will guide you through your braces journey, ensuring you end up with a smile that'll brighten every room you enter. Book an appointment at any of our offices to start your journey to a brighter smile today!
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