Getting braces or clear aligners is an exciting prospect. You’re finally on your way to getting the smile you’ve always wanted and the health benefits of having a correct bite. Some people worry that braces or clear aligners can be painful to wear. Are braces as painful as it sounds? What helps with braces pain? Can you stop braces pain?
Many patients at Connolly Orthodontics have expressed concern over what they’ve heard about braces pain. While we know braces and clear aligners, such as Invisalign, can cause some discomfort, we also know it’s temporary. There are several ways to relieve your braces pain. We’re here to help!
Why do your braces cause pain? To understand it, you need to know how your braces or Invisalign clear aligners work. Your teeth are held to your jaw by roots and by the bones, ligaments, and tissue surrounding them. When your Invisalign or braces are installed, your bones, ligaments, tissues, and teeth will start moving. To do that, your bones must break down around the root and rebuild, allowing wiggle room. The ligaments, tendons, and gum tissue must loosen so the teeth can move.
It’s a natural process, but it can be a painful one at first. Your mouth has to learn how to move your teeth. Once it learns, it gets much easier. Most of the time, you won’t even remember the braces or Invisalign trays are in your mouth.
The first week with your new braces or Invisalign will probably be the most uncomfortable as your teeth start moving for the first time. We recommend you stick to a soft-food diet for the first week. That way, you give your mouth time to get used to your braces. Mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, milkshakes, applesauce — there are lots of options.
After about a week or so, the discomfort should subside, and you’ll be able to go back to eating regular foods (at least the ones allowed with braces). You may also have some discomfort after each adjustment or new set of Invisalign trays, but it should only last a few days. You can go back to that soft-food diet during those days until your teeth feel normal again.
You’re probably wondering how to stop braces pain immediately, or at least how to ease braces pain. You can use several methods, starting with the soft diet we’ve mentioned. The less pressure on your teeth, the faster they will feel better. Here are a few more suggestions on how to deal with braces pain.
Rinsing your mouth with lukewarm salt water can make your mouth feel better. Make sure the water isn’t too warm. You don’t want to scald your mouth and gums and make things worse! Rinsing with saltwater 2-3 times a day can help ease braces pain.
While warm salt water will help loosen the tissue, the cold will dull the nerves and help stop the pain of braces. Use a cold compress once or twice a day to make your mouth feel better.
Just as a cold compress will help stop your braces pain, eating cold foods can do the same. Grab a popsicle, drink a milkshake or protein shake, or have a bite of ice cream — just don’t chew ice! You can damage your braces by chewing ice.
Be careful eating cold foods during the first week of braces. Your teeth may feel sensitive, and the cold could hurt worse. However, if your teeth aren’t sensitive, eating cold foods may help.
Another pain reliever for braces is, well, pain relievers. Taking over-the-counter pain medication can ease the discomfort from braces or Invisalign. Take the medication according to the directions on the package. Ibuprofen or acetaminophen (Tylenol) should do the trick.
You may have wires, brackets, or edges of your Invisalign that rub or irritate your mouth at first. As time goes on, your mouth will “toughen up,” and your braces or Invisalign won’t irritate your mouth as much. To reduce pain and irritation, use dental wax over the problem areas.
Braces pain doesn’t last very long for the vast majority of our patients. It can last about a week when your braces are first put on your teeth. You may also feel some discomfort after each braces adjustment, but the braces adjustment pain is usually less than the first week and doesn’t last as long.
The bottom line is, be patient. The pain won’t last long, and your mouth will get used to the sensation. Once that happens, the discomfort should go away, and you’ll get used to having your braces and getting them adjusted.
Braces and Invisalign come with some discomfort at first, but it usually doesn’t last long, and the end result is worth it. Once you see that beautiful new smile, you’ll probably forget about any discomfort you felt during your treatment.
Are you ready for braces or Invisalign? If you’re in the Matthews, NC, or Ballantyne, NC, areas, you can start by requesting an appointment with Connolly Orthodontics. You’ll find compassionate, unique, honest care with us. We will be here for you throughout your treatment and answer any questions you may have, including braces pain. You can count on exceptional treatment from a caring staff at Connolly Orthodontics!