Mild pain or discomfort is a normal aspect of wearing braces, but you should only experience this for the first weeks after being placed or adjusted. However, with a few tweaks to your daily routine, you can make them more comfortable and reduce the amount of discomfort you experience during the initial period.
Here are a few ways that you can help make your braces more comfortable:
1. Using Orthodontic Wax
Are your braces constantly poking you and irritating your gums? One simple fix is using orthodontic wax. This soft, pliable wax can be molded to the braces and help cushion them from rubbing against your gums and other sensitive areas.
To apply the wax, soften it in your mouth, then press it onto the braces. If you have a wire poking you, use a wet Q-tip to moisten the wax and push it up against the wire. While orthodontic wax may provide temporary relief, it’s not a permanent fix, and the wax will need to be reapplied as needed.
2. Rinse with Saltwater
If your braces are causing you discomfort, try rinsing your mouth with a simple saltwater solution. Rinsing with saltwater can help reduce swelling and pain, making your braces more comfortable to wear. In addition, saltwater helps kill bacteria and reduce inflammation, making it an excellent remedy for a variety of oral issues.
To make the saltwater solution:
- Dissolve one teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of warm water.
- Swish the solution in your mouth for 30 seconds.
- Spit the saltwater out. Make sure you do not swallow the solution, as it may cause stomach discomfort.
3. Avoid Hard or Crunchy Food
As you probably know, eating hard or crunchy food can damage your braces. Not only is it difficult to chew, but it can also cause brackets to break and wires to become unattached. By avoiding these foods, you can reduce the amount of pain and discomfort you experience.
Hard or crunchy foods to avoid include:
- Ice cubes
- Hard candy
- Beef jerky
Sticking to soft foods will help preserve your braces and prevent you from experiencing any pain.
4. Use Pain Relievers
If the pain from your braces is becoming too much to handle, you can try using pain relievers to reduce the inflammation and swelling. Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen can help reduce the amount of discomfort you experience, but be sure to follow the instructions on the bottle.
5. Eat Cold Foods
If you’re experiencing pain from your braces, eating cold foods may help. The cold temperature will help numb the area and provide relief. Things like Ice cream or a cold smoothie can help ease the pain. Just remember to avoid eating anything that may damage your braces and cause further pain, such as ice cubes.
Habits to Avoid
While these are some of the best ways to make your braces more comfortable, it’s essential to avoid any activities or habits that could damage your braces and cause further pain.
Some habits to avoid include:
- Biting your nails
- Chewing on pens or pencils
- Grinding your teeth
- Clenching your jaw
- Chewing gum
What To Do If Braces Break
Avoiding hard foods and crunchy snacks is essential for preserving the structure of your braces, but accidents happen. If your braces become damaged or begin to cause you more pain than usual, do not try to fix them yourself. Instead, contact your orthodontist.
ChildSmiles•FamilySmiles is dedicated to providing top-quality dental and orthodontic services for the whole family. If you or your child are experiencing discomfort from braces or looking to correct a smile, contact us to request an appointment today.