Braces are the most common type of orthodontic treatment. Many people will need some type of orthodontic intervention in their lifetime, and braces will likely be it. Although they are highly effective at straightening teeth and improving your smile, with change comes a bit of discomfort at times.
It is normal for your braces to make your mouth a little uncomfortable in a variety of ways. Here’s what to do when your braces hurt.
How Do Braces Work?
To understand why your mouth may be sore, it helps to know how braces work. Braces consist of small, square-shaped brackets that attach to the front of each tooth. The brackets are connected by an archwire that exerts force on the teeth to shift them into proper alignment. Your teeth may be shifted forward, backward, left, right, up, down, or even rotated.
Why Do Braces Hurt My Teeth?
The movements braces make to your teeth can cause the support structures, your jaw and the connective tissues, to become tender. As the teeth are loosened from the sockets when your braces are first put on, you’ll experience the most discomfort. It will subside after a week or so and may return to a lesser degree each time you get your braces adjusted by your orthodontist.
The brackets and wires, although they are made of smooth metal, are still foreign objects in your mouth. The soft tissues of your mouth, meaning the inside of your cheeks and lips as well as your tongue, can become irritated from rubbing against the braces when you talk and chew. In severe cases sores can develop. These typically heal after the first few weeks as your mouth gets used to the braces.
How To Get Relief From Braces Discomfort
There are a few different ways that you can curb the discomfort of braces:
- Medication. Anti-inflammatory pain medication can help with both sore teeth and soft tissue irritation. Ibuprofen is typically the best over the counter pain reliever for braces discomfort.
- Orthodontic wax. Your orthodontist can provide you with orthodontic wax that can be placed over the brackets to create a smooth surface that will allow the soft tissues of your mouth to heal.
- Ice or cold beverages. It may help relieve the pain you feel in your teeth and jaw if you apply ice to your mouth or drink an ice cold beverage.
- Warm salt water rinse. Rinsing your mouth with warm salt water can help the irritated soft tissues to heal.
- Soft food diet. While your teeth are sore it can help to eat soft foods that don’t require any chewing.
- Oral anesthetics. Oral anesthetics can be purchased over the counter. They are designed to provide relief for soft tissue irritation.
How Long Can I Expect to Feel Discomfort From Braces?
Everyone’s experience with braces is different, but you can expect your teeth and gums to feel sore for about a week after getting your braces put on. Each time you get them adjusted by your orthodontist you may feel sore again for a day or two, or possibly longer depending on the type of the adjustment. The soft tissue irritation usually subsides after the first week or two, unless a wire pokes out from a bracket. If this occurs, put orthodontic wax over the spot and contact your orthodontist.
Quality Orthodontic Treatment From Dr. Suzanne Stock
Orthodontic treatment begins with an evaluation by a qualified orthodontist. Dr. Suzanne Stock provides a wide range of orthodontic services to improve your dental health and your smile. Properly aligned teeth help you chew and speak effectively and protect your long term dental and oral health.
Start your treatment today. Contact us to learn more and schedule an appointment.