How to Avoid Discomfort with Braces
Getting braces is one of the most common orthodontic treatments to achieve a beautiful, healthy smile. It works by moving your teeth slowly over a long period of time. But moving your teeth to achieve a straight smile comes with some pain and discomfort. The pressure applied to your teeth to move them into position can be inconvenient. The brackets and wires can also leave little cuts on the inside of your mouth.
Orthodontic pain is a common side effect of orthodontic treatment and one of the major reasons why people don’t start or continue their treatment. According to one survey, 8% of people who discontinue orthodontic treatment do so because of pain.
The good news is that orthodontic discomfort is typically temporary. Most people experience discomfort for a few days after getting braces and after each appointment to adjust the braces. Fortunately, the discomfort tends to go away on its own. Also, there are several tips and strategies you can follow to minimize the discomfort and make your orthodontic journey a lot smoother. In this article, we will explore how to avoid discomfort with braces and ensure a more pleasant experience.
Maintain Proper Oral Hygiene
One of the most critical aspects of avoiding discomfort with braces is maintaining excellent oral hygiene. Braces create additional nooks and crannies in your mouth where food particles and plaque can get trapped. If left unchecked, this can lead to gum disease, tooth decay, and bad breath, which can exacerbate discomfort.
To maintain proper oral hygiene during your orthodontic treatment, you should brush your teeth frequently (Usually after every meal) with a soft toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. You can use an interdental brush or floss threader to get food particles stuck between your teeth or under the wires. You should also rinse your mouth regularly with an antimicrobial mouthwash to reduce the risk of gum issues.
Follow Your Orthodontist's Instructions
At the start of your treatment, your orthodontist will provide specific instructions on caring for your braces and things to avoid during your treatment. Following these instructions diligently not only ensures the success of your treatment but also reduces the risk of pain and discomfort. For instance, your orthodontist will give you a list of foods to avoid, such as sticky candies and hard nuts. These foods can damage your braces, leading to pain and discomfort.
Regular visits to your orthodontist during your treatment are also recommended. Your orthodontists can catch any issues on time. They’ll also make necessary adjustments to your braces to keep your treatment on track and minimize discomfort.
Use Orthodontic Wax
Orthodontic wax is a special type of wax that’ll be given to you by your orthodontist after you get your braces. This wax can help alleviate the discomfort caused by braces by preventing the bracket or wire from poking or rubbing against your cheeks or lips. A small piece of wax will create a protective barrier and reduce irritation. Make sure to keep some of this wax on hand throughout your treatment for quick relief when needed.
To use the wax, mold it over the part of the bracket irritating your mouth. The wax is non-toxic, so you won’t have to worry about swallowing some of it. You can brush the wax off and reapply it afterward.
Maintain a Soft Diet
Most patients complain of sensitive teeth after getting braces or visiting the orthodontist to get them adjusted. During such periods, and for the rest of your treatment, it is best that you stay away from hard or crunchy food. Instead, go for a soft diet that includes items like yogurt, soup, mashed potatoes, and smoothies. This can help minimize discomfort and prevent any damage to your braces.
When you have braces on, it is recommended that you drink plenty of water. A dry mouth increases the chances of discomfort and pain because of friction between your oral tissues and the braces you have on. Additionally, drinking water helps to get rid of food particles that may get stuck under the bracket and wires. To avoid these, drink as much water as possible throughout the day to stay hydrated.
Occasionally, you should rinse your mouth or gargle with some warm salt water. Saltwater can help eliminate bacteria and reduce the risk of infection, especially when you already have cuts on the inside of your mouth due to the braces. The warm water may also help soothe aching teeth and gums.
Use an Ice Pack or Ice Water
A cold compress is one of the simplest but highly effective first aid treatments for all kinds of pain and discomfort, and it can also work for toothache caused by braces. Applying an ice pack to the outside of your mouth can help numb the affected area and reduce pain. Cold temperature also reduces inflammation and provides instant pain relief.
If a cold compress is not available, you can simply get a glass of ice-cold water instead. You can take a sip of cold water and hold the water in your mouth for a little bit. Doing this will help numb your mouth and relieve some of the pain and discomfort.
Braces are an effective orthodontic treatment, but they do require patience. The discomfort that comes with getting new braces or adjusting your existing ones is often temporary and a sign that your teeth are moving as planned. Over time, you will adjust to the feeling of having braces in your mouth, and the discomfort will decrease.
But bear in mind that the discomfort is meant to be temporary. If the discomfort does not subside or you’re experiencing pain due to a damaged wire or bracket, you should see a professional to get the braces checked.
Braces are likely to cause some discomfort. However, following these tips and strategies can make your orthodontic journey significantly smoother. At OMG Smiles, we take pride in our ability to help people achieve a beautiful, aligned smile. But we also know that achieving this comes with some level of discomfort. Our orthodontic professionals will tell you more about caring for your braces and overall oral health during and after your treatment. Visit now to learn more about aligning your teeth with braces and all the challenges that come with it.