4 Ways to Manage Discomfort With Braces or Aligners

Metal braces Carmel IN orthodontists

No matter what age you are when you first get braces put on or start wearing Invisalign® clear aligners, there’s bound to be some discomfort. Typically, it’ll be any time you have them tightened or pop in a new set of trays. Our Carmel, IN, orthodontists make sure all patients know what to expect, though it doesn’t make those initial few days any more enjoyable.

Here are 4 at-home solutions for alleviating braces pain and easing soreness caused by aligners.

Temporary Pain vs. What’s Abnormal 

The reason why we say that some degree of pain after starting orthodontic treatment is inevitable is because of the force being applied to teeth and gums. After our team bonds brackets to your teeth and secures the archwires, there is going to be pressure felt as the teeth begin to move into new positions. The same goes for clear aligners when you put a new set of trays in your mouth.

Noticing an achy feeling for a couple days after braces are tightened, rubber bands are added, or you’ve switched aligners is completely normal. In most cases, the pain is bearable though a bit nagging. There’s really only an issue when that pain is more severe and lasts much longer than it should. If this happens, please contact our Carmel, IN, orthodontic office and we can make adjustments to relieve your discomfort.

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Something to keep in mind if you’ve chosen to go with Invisalign over metal or ceramic braces: the pain will be more cyclical. In other words, if you progress out of one set of aligners and into another on a weekly basis, you’ll repeat the adjustment process much quicker than you would if you had braces. With this said, don’t let this deter you as it can potentially mean a faster treatment period.

If Your Braces or Aligners Are Causing You Pain, Try:

1) Using Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers

This is a universal solution and an effective one at that. Any run-of-the-mill pain medication from ibuprofen and acetaminophen to naproxen will work, but please pay attention to the recommended daily doses and do not use more than necessary. In all honesty, you shouldn’t need to take anything for long as the pain will dissipate after a few days.

A good way to stay ahead of the discomfort is to take the medication prior to the application or tightening appointment so it has time to work before your mouth feels sore. Putting in new aligners? Do this before bed and pair with a pain reliever to minimize tenderness experienced.

Relief doesn’t just come in pill form as there are also topical gels designed for spot treatment. For example, apply a tiny bit of Orajel to a sore area following your visit with us and you’re good to go!

2) Applying Orthodontic Wax

This one goes out to the braces crew because sometimes, wires and brackets can take some time to adjust to completely. Our team understands this and will provide you with a small container of wax which you can mold over any areas that are sharp or rub against the inside of your cheeks.

If irritation continues because something is too pointy, give us a call and we’ll take a closer look. A wire may be too long so it’s always good to speak up!

3) Eating Soft Foods

It’s best to take it easy with your dietary choices after having braces put on at least in the texture department. Sticking to foods that are softer and easier to chew will prove to be much more doable compared to those that are hard or crunchy. The less biting and munching you have to do, the better it’ll feel.

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Don’t worry, it won’t be soft foods forever. After a day or so, we recommend gradually introducing harder or chewy foods back into your diet as you begin to feel more comfortable. For aligners, you are free to eat all kinds of foods thanks to their removability. However, you may want to still eat things like yogurt, eggs, and more as your teeth become accustomed to wearing the trays.

4) Placing an Ice Pack Where It Hurts

Similar to how you might deal with a toothache, our orthodontists recommend using an ice pack or a bag of individual ice cubes to soothe your sore mouth. If you choose to do so, remember to only apply the cool compress (wrapped in a towel) to the side of your face or the outside of your gums for 20 minutes at a time.

For added relief, try sucking on an ice cube but be careful not to chew it. Eating a popsicle or ice cream can accomplish a similar sensation and allow you to enjoy an easy treat.

Stay Dedicated to the End Goal

You might feel discouraged when you notice discomfort but our orthodontists in Carmel, IN, want you to know that it’s all for a good reason. It means your teeth are starting to move how they need to for a more aligned smile! Have questions for us about what else you can expect with braces or aligners? Call WestClay Orthodontics today at (317) 593-1400 or request an appointment online.