Congratulations, you just got new braces! You can expect many great things from orthodontics: straighter teeth, a more even smile and even a better aligned bite. But what you may not be expecting is the pain that goes along with new braces. It can be hard to adjust to. Usually when you experience tooth pain, it’s focused on one or two teeth. With braces, your entire upper and lower jaw can hurt at once, and that can often be almost unbearable.
While you may not be able to put an oral numbing gel on every single tooth that hurts, there are definitely some tricks of the trade that can help lessen the severity of your pain and help you ease into wearing your braces.
The first few days of having braces, your mouth may hurt too much to chew anything at all. This is totally normal. If this sounds familiar, look for soft, protein-packed foods to hold you over until your teeth feel better. Protein smoothies are a great source of fruit, vegetables, fiber and protein and can act as a meal replacement. Meal-replacement shakes are OK too, but keep an eye on the sugar content.
Other foods that can help feed a sore mouth are yogurt, tofu, scrambled eggs, soups or even ice cream and frozen yogurt - but remember, braces also require extra-careful brushing and flossing, so be sure you do a good job cleaning your teeth, brackets and wires, especially if you’ve had a very sweet meal.
Painkillers like ibuprophin and acetaminophen are usually enough to help ease most of the pain and discomfort from new braces. If you’ve tried these OTC pills and they are still not working well enough, contact your orthodontist or dentist to discuss your options.
Dental wax may not cure the pain, but it can prevent your braces from cutting the insides of your mouth, reducing future pain and preventing an already-present sore from getting worse. Wax is available in the dental section of most discount stores and pharmacies.
Ice, Ice, Baby!
Don’t crunch on ice cubes, but keep one in your mouth against your cheek in the area that hurts the most, or apply a topical ice pack to the outside of your cheek to help ease the pain inside your mouth. You can even chew on a frozen teething ring or washcloth (yes, like an actual baby).
Wear a Mouth Guard
You may not grind your teeth or play contact sports, but you can still purchase a mouth guard from the pharmacy or sporting goods store. Wearing this can help offset some of the pressure in your mouth. Just be sure to buy a guard that is orthodontic friendly, and ask your dentist or orthodontist to help you fit the mouth guard so it doesn’t damage your braces.
Get a Massage
OK, not a real massage - a gum massage! Use your fingertips to massage your gums to help ease some of the pain. You can even massage some numbing gel into them if they’re really sore.
Hang in there. The pain will get better, and soon you’ll have a beautiful smile to show for it. If you have any questions or concerns about your new orthodontics, give Dr. Lederman a call at 516-882-1764.