One downside of wearing braces is the discomfort it brings to the user. After putting on the braces for the first time and every time the wires are adjusted, you can feel pain especially when you are chewing food.
If you are wearing braces, you need to visit your orthodontist every four to six weeks to check if the braces help the teeth move to the right target. Normally, he will adjust, tighten, or replace the metal arch wire that runs from bracket to bracket. When the wires are tightened, it causes pressure to the teeth and gums. You might feel a sting or an irritation because your teeth and gums are being “forced” to go where they should be.
The discomfort caused by braces can only be mild and temporary. However, if you want to relieve the pain, here are some helpful tips:
Use ice packs
Get an ice pack and apply it to the area where you can feel the pain. The coldness reduces the swelling and inflammation which helps reduce the pain.
Prefer taking cold food and drinks
Eating and drinking cold items works just as well as an ice pack. It can ease the pain by numbing the muscles inside the mouth. Suck an ice cube or an ice candy every time you experience the pain. Don’t forget to brush after each meal. Braces can trap food particles which can lead to plaque and can cause tooth decay if not removed right away.
Gargle with saltwater
A lukewarm saltwater solution is also good against swollen gums. Swish the solution for one minute, concentrating on the areas where you feel pain the most. Swishing with warm water can reduce the soreness caused by irritated gums.
Use orthodontic wax
When you have irritation on your inner cheeks, lips, and gums, you might have sensitivity against metal wires and brackets. In this case, an orthodontic wax can be used to stop the irritation. You need to apply a small coat of wax over the braces as often as you need to.
Change your diet
When your braces just got tightened, you might experience tooth sensitivity which makes eating food painful. If you experience tooth sensitivity, avoid hard-to-chew foods and items that are crunchy such as chips and nuts. For the meantime, you can settle for soft food such as mashed potatoes, soups, yogurt and ice cream which are easy to chew.
Take pain relievers
If the pain will not go away after doing the tips above, take over-the-counter pain medications to alleviate the pain and reduce inflammation. Medicines with acetaminophen or ibuprofen are proven to get rid of the pain. If you are not sure what dosage to take, call your dentist first. Oral anesthetics like Orajel can also be effective in relieving the pain. With Orajel, all you need is to apply a small coat of the gel to the teeth and gums where the pain is present. This is very helpful especially when you are trying to catch a good sleep.