If you visited the orthodontist in the past week to get your braces tightened, you might feel some discomfort around your teeth and gums. Don’t worry, this is normal!
Each time you have a check-up, your orthodontist makes adjustments to the archwire – the metal band that extends across your smile. At your appointment, your orthodontist may bend, adjust, tighten, or replace the wire with a thicker wire to force your teeth to shift. Your orthodontist may also change the ties used to hold the archwire to the brackets and make any other necessary adjustments to your braces.
Each adjustment is a step toward straight teeth, but sometimes the movement of teeth can be painful. If you experience soreness, follow these tips to help ease the pain:
Use an oral anesthetic
Orajel and Anbesol are a few pain relievers that can be applied directly to your teeth and gums. Use a cotton swab or your finger to apply the numbing gel to the areas of discomfort. The gel may not taste fantastic, but it does help to desensitize the mouth and decrease the pain of shifting teeth.
Take over-the-counter pain relief medicine
Be proactive! If you take pain relief medication an hour before your appointment, it will help ease any potential discomfort during the tightening process. Any over-the-counter pain medication should do the trick, but just make sure to follow the usage directions provided on the container. It’s not recommended to take pain pills regularly, as overuse can be dangerous, but they can be beneficial when the pain can’t be subdued by other remedies.
Use an icepack
Just like with an injury, it’s important to apply cold pressure to the area of discomfort, as inflammation increases pain. An icepack, or a gel-icepack applied to the outside of your mouth will help decrease inflammation and ultimately help to ease the oral discomfort.
Drink cold water
Ice cold water is a great, inexpensive way to ease discomfort after you get your braces tightened. The cold temperature provides a numb sensation in the mouth and decreases inflammation in the sore gums.
Eat soft foods
Your teeth will very likely be sensitive as they shift after your braces are tightened. Avoid crunchy, hard, or difficult to eat foods and opt for more soft foods. Mashed potatoes, smoothies, pudding and soup are good options because they don’t require much chewing and involvement of the teeth.
While it may be uncomfortable to get your braces tightened, just remember that the pain is temporary and will go away in a few days. Any discomfort will all be worth it when you get your braces removed and you’re left with a perfectly aligned smile!
About the Author
Andrew W. Skorobatckyj, DDS, has more than 10 years of experience in the orthodontics field. Based in Parma, OH, Dr. Andy provides high-quality, personalized orthodontic care to each and every one of his patients and utilizes the latest in orthodontic technologies. Learn more about Dr. Andy and his practice at http://www.skororthodontics.com.