The brackets components of dental braces are now smoother, narrower, and smaller than ever, which means that they are also much more comfortable to wear than before. While any adjustments or alterations to the teeth can take some getting used to, Dr. Castilla and the team are finding that fewer and fewer of our patients are experiencing much pain or discomfort from their braces. However, since from time to time some patients may experience some tenderness or irritation from getting their braces installed or adjusted, Dr. Castilla has assembled a list of helpful and easy tips to alleviate pain.

Be Patient with the Process

In most cases, the pain or discomfort associated with having braces or getting them adjusted subsides in a relatively short amount of time. For the most part, it’s just a matter of getting used to having the new appliances in your mouth and the pressure that they exert on your teeth/jaw.

Practice Excellent Oral Hygiene

Since a buildup of bacteria in the mouth can lead to inflammation and even infection, practicing proper dental hygiene can play a large role in preventing unnecessary discomfort. While the smoother low profile brackets are less likely to cause irritation to the gums, good oral health can help any abrasions heal quicker and prevent them from leading to an infection. Be sure to make brushing and flossing an important part of your daily routine, and don’t skip out on your regular cleanings from the dentist. Castilla Orthodontics even rewards our patients for keeping good oral hygiene by having a quarterly contest with cool prizes!

Rinse with Warm Salt Water

Warm salt water has been used for many centuries as a way to soothe inflammation of the gums, and it works very well with alleviating the pain associated with having braces. The combination of salt’s antibacterial qualities, with the soothing qualities of warm water goes a long way in reducing any irritation associated with having braces.

Apply Orthodontic Wax

Until the cheeks and gums become used to the new orthodontic appliances in your mouth, silicon orthodontic wax is very helpful in creating a barrier between the soft tissue and the metallic braces. Over time, your mouth will become used to the appliances and you will no longer experience any discomfort from them.

Eat Soft Foods

Since loose brackets and archwires can cause irritation to the cheeks and gums, it is very important to follow the guidelines set by Dr. Castilla and the team in regards to choosing the right foods to eat. Your braces are finely tuned to place just the right amount of pressure on the teeth to move them to the right place, so it is important to avoid bending or breaking the brackets and wires. Hard and sticky foods can disturb the precise placement and integrity of your orthodontic appliances. 

Use Over the Counter Orajel

Orajel is an effective over the counter medicine that offers temporary relief from pain due to sores and irritation of the gums and cheeks. If you are experiencing some discomfort from getting your braces installed or adjusted, Orajel can effectively ease the pain. It is also very effective in offering some comfort if your cheeks and gums are irritated from rubbing against the brackets or arch wires.

Take an Anti-Inflammatory

The use of over the counter anti-inflammatories such as Advil, Aleve, or their generic counterparts is quite helpful during the first 12-24 hours of having your braces installed or adjusted. In order to avoid any health complications, please be sure to consult with your doctor if you are currently on any medications or have any health issues that may be complicated by taking a non steroidal anti inflammatory drug (NSAID).

Use a Pencil Eraser if an Archwire is Poking Your Mouth

In the event of a poking wire, be sure to schedule an appointment with us as quickly as possible so we can remedy the situation. However, don’t wait for your next available appointment to reduce the amount of irritation that the poking wire may be causing. Instead, take a clean pencil eraser and gently bend the poking wire away from the soft tissue of your mouth. 

Apply an Ice Pack to the Cheeks

Applying an ice pack to sore regions of the mouth can provide a much needed reduction of swelling in the mouth. 

Gently Massage Your Gums

Since the torque of the braces can make the gums sore, gently massaging them with your fingertips in a circular motion will greatly help.

If you have any questions or concerns about your treatment with braces, the caring team at Castilla Orthodontics in Salem is always here to help. If you experience persistent pain or discomfort for more than a week after trying the above techniques, please make an appointment so we can make sure that you are not experiencing any complications.