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How to Make Braces Hurt Less

Braces are a powerful treatment method for creating healthy smiles. Traditional braces use brackets, archwires, and elastic ties to reposition your teeth. Your orthodontist will adjust the wires during check-in visits to gradually shift your teeth into the desired position. As you can imagine, this can cause some unexpected soreness in your jaw, teeth, and gums.

Most patients report discomfort after their braces are first put on and after adjustments. Fortunately, this is temporary and manageable.

What Causes Braces Pain?

Advancements in braces technology have created treatment options that can be more comfortable than the braces of past generations. Victory SeriesTM Metal Braces and the ClarityTM Clear Ceramic Braces are made with smaller and smoother materials that fit the unique curvature of your mouth to maximize comfort. Invisalign and other clear aligners use plastic trays that prevent irritation to your lips and gums.

With that said, it’s typical to experience some adjustment tenderness in the first few days after receiving your braces. The braces apply pressure to your teeth, and your body responds by breaking down the bone tissue in your gums, then rebuilding it to help keep your teeth in their new position. The cells in your mouth adapt to the new position and any soreness quickly goes away. 

This cellular process is the reason some soreness returns after adjustments. Your orthodontist will only make small adjustments during your treatment to ensure the repositioning process is gradual. Making gradual moves will help keep your discomfort to a minimum.

Your inner lips and cheeks may also become irritated from rubbing the brackets and wires. That soft flesh will soon adapt and toughen so you no longer feel the braces.

How to Relieve Braces Pain

Our experienced staff has a few suggestions for helping your treatment, including:

Gargling saltwater: Mix one teaspoon of salt into eight ounces of lukewarm water, then swish the solution in your mouth. Do not swallow the saltwater.

Over-the-counter medication: Pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help relieve tooth discomfort from braces. You can also prevent some tenderness by taking the pain reliever before your appointment.

Orthodontic wax: You can protect your inner lips and cheeks by applying a pea-sized ball of orthodontic wax to the section of your braces that is causing the irritation.

A boy with braces smiling outside in front of some trees.

Enjoy a Better Treatment Experience at Koen Orthodontics

New braces can be uncomfortable. Your mouth will adapt in a short amount of time and you will barely notice them. If you feel discomfort, follow the steps above. It will all be worth it in the long run when your smile is beautiful and healthy.

 If you are ready for braces or have more questions, call us at (615) 824-5636. You can also schedule a complimentary consultation online.