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Are you thinking of straightening your teeth in order to have a beautiful smile and wondering how to ease discomfort from braces?
The truth is that the process of getting orthodontics affixed to your teeth isn’t painful, but you may have some discomfort for the first week after your initial appointment as well as when the wires are adjusted at follow-up appointments. The good news is that there are things you can do to help ease the discomfort while your gums adjust to the increased pressure.
Understanding Traditional Braces (Orthodontics for Straightening Teeth)
When it comes to straightening your teeth, the most common way is with orthodontics that consist of metal brackets and wires. The brackets are affixed to your teeth using a special dental cement. Then, a wire is placed into the brackets. During the course of your treatment, the wire will be tightened and loosened at follow-up appointments in order to move your teeth to their proper locations, which helps give you a beautiful straight smile and makes cleaning your teeth much easier.
How Long Do You Have to Wear Braces
The exact treatment time depends on the severity of your bite problems, including over, under and crossbites and the degree of crookedness or how crowded or gapped your teeth are in your mouth. In general, traditional orthodontic treatments for straightening teeth last between six months and three years with the average treatment time consisting of 23 months. For braces costs, click here.
It’s important to note that preteens and teenagers usually need less treatment time than adults because their jaws are still developing.
How Long Does the Discomfort of Braces Last
The discomfort from getting orthodontics on your teeth for the first time lasts between two and three days. The process of getting the brackets and wires affixed to your teeth does not hurt. Instead, the discomfort starts after the wires are tightened and bands are in place, usually one to two hours after you get your new orthodontics. It’s important to note that it may take you about a week to adjust to having the wires and brackets in your mouth. During this time, you may notice excessive drooling and have difficulty speaking and chewing. This is perfectly normal.
Once you’ve adjusted to your new orthodontics, you’ll experience less discomfort until your follow-up appointments, which typically occur every four to six weeks. During your follow-up appointments, your wires will be tightened and adjusted in order to help your teeth move to their new, correct positions in your mouth. After your wires are adjusted, you may notice additional discomfort for one to three days after the procedure.
How to Ease the Discomfort of Braces
The amount of discomfort varies from individual to individual. Some teenagers and adults only find it to be a minor annoyance. Others may find the discomfort significant. The good news is that there are things you can do to help alleviate any minor pain after first getting your orthodontics and after each adjustment.
Eat Soft Foods
For the first few days after you get your orthodontics and a day or two after you have your wires adjusted, you will want to eat soft foods. This helps decrease any further irritation to your teeth and gums. Our orthodontist typically recommends macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, smoothies, softer fruits, yogurt and soup.
Take an Anti-Inflammatory
If the discomfort is more than you can handle, you can take an anti-inflammatory, like Advil or Motrin. The mediation in those pills is ibuprofen, and it helps alleviate pain by reducing inflammation in the gums. However, it is extremely important that you only take the recommended dosage according to the package instructions or the instructions our orthodontist gave you after you received your orthodontics. If you have any questions about the pain relievers that you can take to help alleviate pain, you can always call our office for further instructions and clarification. It’s important to note that your orthodontics should not be extremely painful. If your pain levels increase significantly, we recommend calling for a follow-up appointment.
Use a Warm Salt-Water Rinse
Using a warm salt-water rinse every couple of hours can help soothe your gums and decrease discomfort. The mixture is typically 1/4 teaspoon of salt to six ounces of warm water. You can do this every couple of hours to help alleviate soreness.
Eat some Cold Foods
Eating cold foods, like ice cream and shakes can help gum your gums and reduce soreness. However, you should not bite into any frozen foods, like ice, because they could loosen your brackets and bend or break your wires.
Use Your Dental Wax
If you notice that a bracket or wire is extremely uncomfortable, you can apply a little of the dental wax you were given at your appointment. To apply the wax, simply take a small bit out of the container and roll it in your fingers for a moment until it is soft and pliable. Then, place it over the painful bracket or section of wire. This will prevent the metal from continuing to rub against your cheek. The dental wax is important because it can take several days to a couple weeks for your cheeks, gums and tongue to toughen-up, so don’t be afraid to use it while you are adjusting to your new orthodontics.
What to Do When You Have Braces and Experience a Problem
When you first get your orthodontics, you’ll get a list of foods to avoid and instructions on how to properly brush and floss your teeth. For example, eating extremely hard, crunchy and chewy foods is frowned upon when straightening your teeth. However, to spite your best efforts, you may still experience the occasional broken wire or loose bracket. If a wire breaks, try to bend it back into place so that it does not continue to poke and rub against your cheek. Next, apply a small bit of dental wax to the broken wire. This will secure it and prevent damage to the sensitive tissues inside your mouth. Next, call our orthodontist for an appointment to fix your wire.
If you have a bracket that feels loose or comes completely free of your tooth, you’ll need to schedule an emergency appointment with our orthodontist to have the bracket reaffixed to your tooth. When you call, our orthodontist will give you instructions on how to deal with the loose bracket so that you do not accidentally swallow it or cut the inside of your mouth.
By utilizing these tips and tricks for controlling the discomfort caused by straightening your teeth, you will be able to better manage your orthodontics and your treatment process. If you ever have any questions or concerns about your orthodontics or your treatment, you can always call your orthodontists office or ask questions at your next checkup.
To learn more about straightening your teeth and to schedule a consultation with an orthodontist near you, read more informative blog posts on this site.
How to Alleviate Discomfort After Putting on Braces