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How to survive brace pain

Posted by:
Medically reviewed by: Dr Anthony Lam BDS (Hons), MSc (Lond), MOrth RCS (Edin)

29th October 2020
Brace Pain

by Orthodontic Gallery on Fixed Braces,  Orthodontics and Brace Pain

Use Pain Medication To Ease The Initial Ache

Braces apply gentle, but constant force onto your teeth and surrounding ligaments and tissues, which is why the initial ache after a bond up is the worst that you’ll feel. Brace pain can feel bruised, sore and achey – much like a pulled or sore muscle.  (Which isn’t helpful when you need your teeth to chew)

The good news is: this will subside over time, when your mouth is more used to it. For a smoother transition into that, try over-the-counter pain medication.

A few ibuprofen or paracetamol a day might be just what you need to bridge the gap, and help your mouth become more comfortable. (Be sure to always read the instruction and take as directed, do not exceed the maximum dose!)

Avoid Hot and Cold Foods

The forces from the brace and increased blood flow can also heighten sensitivity to temperatures. To minimise shock to your potentially sensitive teeth and gums, try to let foods warm or cool to room temperature before eating.

Don’t be Afraid to Say Something

Sometimes you jut can pinpoint where your brace pain is coming from, so if you’re struggling, give us a call. We’ll likely be able to help diagnose and resolve the issue, or we can book you in a free of charge emergency appointment to help get you out of pain. Sometimes, especially in the early days, as crowding quickly reduces – your brace wire can suddenly become a little long. (A nightmare for you and your cheeks, but fixed in 3 seconds flat!) 

Eat Soft Foods

The first week of surviving brace pain is about being gentle and easing yourself in. Your mouth is adjusting to a new piece of equipment, and that causes all kinds of sensitivity and soreness.

Along with sensitivity to temperatures, your teeth will feel tender while chewing. Stick to soft foods that mitigate this temporary weakness. Switch your granola for porridge and enjoy some  soup, rice, or mashed potatoes, cauliflower cheese, macaroni cheese, sponge & custard… (We could go on but it was lunchtime when we wrote this and we were hungry!)

Use the Oral Hygiene Pack

We’ve thought about the logistics of keeping braces clean and included everything you’ll need. from single tufted toothbrushes for fishing out those wayward bits of food, to interdental brushes and fluoride mouthwash. Happy healthy, clean braces move much faster than braces that are covered in plaque that’s left to go hard. Not to mention the irreversible stains you could end up with if your oral hygiene is lacking.

RELATED: How to look after braces and retainers

If in doubt, wax it!

Orthodontic Wax will be your saving grace over the first few weeks. Your bracket, while not rough like sandpaper, are rougher than your porcelain soft teeth and your cheeks will not be an immediate fan! They will adjust and realise they have to toughen up. But it can take a few days to a few weeks. So if your brackets are rubbing, take a nice big ball of wax and warm it in your hands and squish it onto the top of the bracket and try to smush it behind too to really envelope the bracket. The best tip for this is get the bracket dry.. but DO NOT use a towel to do so, the loops in the fabric can pull a bracket off. Hold your cheek out of the way and use the cool setting on a hair dryer to eliminate any moisture. This should make sure the wax stays for a while and provide you with some respite from the brace pain.

(If the wax falls off and you eat it- don’t worry! It has no nutritional value and will not do you any harm at all)

Stick With It

If you can survive the first week of brace pain, things will only get better!

After each adjustment you might want to use pain relief as some teeth can feel pressure they didn’t feel before but that doesn’t always happen, see how you go. The results are well worth enduring. Straighter teeth are easier to clean, healthier for your mouth, and bring you confidence.

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