Best Ways to Relieve Soreness from Braces

teenage braces

Let’s face it, braces are going to make your jaw, teeth, and gums a little sore. Even if your braces are applied by the best orthodontist Philadelphia has to offer, there is no avoiding a little soreness and pain. Most patients find this sensation completely manageable, but it might not always be for those who have a low pain tolerance or for whom the pain of braces application or adjustment is too distracting.  Here are some of the best ways to relieve soreness from braces.

1. Take a painkiller.

Ibuprofen is the most popular choice, but whatever pain killer you prefer can help decrease the pain until the adjustment or application is causing less discomfort.

2. Gargle with saline.

If you are feeling soreness with your gums or teeth, gargling salt water is a great way to relieve pressure, inflammation, and pain. Dr. Gemmi and Dr. Middleberg will probably advise you do this after they apply your braces, simply to help prevent infection or undue irritation of your gums or the inside of your cheeks and lips. You can make your own saline solution simply by dissolving a few pinches of salt in some warm water.

3. Avoid solid or crunchy foods for a while.

Foods that require you to bite down with force will only increase pain and irritation in your mouth. Stick to soups, yogurt, pudding, oatmeal, and other soft foods for the first week after your braces have been applied. This will help your jaw and mouth adjust to the braces.

4. Have an ice cream.

While you definitely don’t want to increase your sugar intake now that you have braces, eating ice cream can help numb your mouth and relieve pressure and inflammation in your gums.

5. Drink some warm soup.

Warm soup, especially a soup that contains high levels of protein, is a great way to soothe achy teeth.

6. Follow Dr. Gemmi and Dr. Middleberg’s instructions.

If you have specific instructions of what to eat and what not to eat, or to wear your rubber bands or to adjust your expander, follow these instructions exactly. If you do not, your mouth will not have time to adjust to those treatments, along with the braces themselves.

7. Don’t bother your braces.

If you are constantly picking at or touching your braces, either with your tongue or with your fingers, you are not only introducing bacteria into your mouth (if you use your hands), you are also irritating your mouth further.

8. Use braces wax.

Drs. Middleberg and Gemmi will give you a little container of orthodontic wax. This wax is intended for you to use over the rougher parts of your braces until the interior of your mouth adjusts to the sensation of having the braces there.

9. Cut back on acidic drinks & foods.

Acid in fruit juices and sodas can irritate sores in your mouth. Avoid drinking or eating anything that is acidic for the first two weeks of having braces to prevent exacerbating soreness and pain.

10. Suck on a small ice cube.

It is imperative that you do not crunch on the ice cubes, but sucking on the cube for a few minutes can soothe pain and reduce swollen and painful gums. If you can find crushed ice, placing a few chips in your mouth and sucking on them until they are completely melted is a great way to ease the pain of braces.

11. Use a softer toothbrush.

While a stiffer toothbrush will make it much easier to remove plaque and tartar from your teeth, the stiff bristles can be too rough on a sore mouth. Switch to a softer brush that will massage your gums and make it easier to remove food particles from around the brackets and wires.

12. Use sensitive toothpaste.

If the pain is not subsiding quickly, you can always buy and use a toothpaste formulated specifically for sensitive teeth. This will help to relieve aches and pains in the jaw and the teeth themselves until the mouth has fully adjusted to the braces.

13. Use a numbing gel.

You can buy oral numbing gel at any grocery store, usually in a tube that makes it easy to apply to teeth or gums that are hurting. This gel will numb the area for a few hours, which can be the ideal solution for someone whose pain is keeping them up at night.

14. Ride it out.

Realize that this discomfort is extremely temporary. While hurting you is never the goal of your orthodontist, some will experience pain from braces, especially in colder weather. Give your mouth some time to ride out the pain.

15. Eat a popsicle.

If you can find a frozen yogurt or ice cream pop, these will be better than a more solid, rigid popsicle. Biting down into something cold, yet soft, can help to relieve pressure while also soothing the pain away.

16. Make sure your braces are still properly attached.

Sometimes the pain caused after an adjustment or application is caused by a wire that has been pushed out of place. If this is the case, you will want to make an emergency appointment with Dr. Gemmi or Dr. Middleberg to have the wire replaced.

17. Use a cold or hot water bottle.

A cold or hot water bottle can relieve pain in the jaw and teeth when pressed against the sides of the face.