The road to braces is a long one, and even though the reward of straight, gorgeous teeth looks just beyond arm's width, there's some discomfort and soreness along the way. Children experience particular discomfort, specifically after a tightening. When their braces are tightened, the orthodontist adjusts the wires, forcing the teeth to shift and exert more pressure. This movement can be difficult to adjust to, and cause soreness in the days following. Furthermore, the brackets themselves can cause irritation to the inside of your child's lips and cheeks, and sores can form. However, there are a couple of ways to alleviate this pain.
Adjust your diet and try more cold beverages and foods. Soon after getting braces, your teeth and gums are sore and hard, crunchy foods such as chips, raw vegetables, and certain fruit further irritate this soreness. Avoid anything that could further cause discomfort, and instead opt for soft foods or foods that do not involve a lot of chewing or pressure on the teeth, such as mashed potatoes and soup. Having cold beverages and foods helps combat inflammation as well. They can act in a similar manner to an ice pack, and numb the inside of your mouth. Sucking on ice can also help relieve pain, but make sure that you do not chew the ice! Chewing it can damage your gums, fracture your enamel, and even cause broken teeth.
Try chewing on frozen teeth rings. Teething rings are designed for babies, however, they can help combat pressure and discomfort that comes with braces. Chewing on them gently will help pain subside and shift the pressure elsewhere.
Another quick solution that involves cold treatment: ice packs. Applying an ice pack / cold compress to the inside of the mouth reduces swelling, sores, and soothes any soreness as it does for many other injuries.
If cold treatments are not providing to be effective, use a heating pad. Place it over the affected area for pain relief, and if you do not have one, use a warm washcloth. It'll do the job just as well.
If the formation of sores on the inside of your mouth becomes an issue, rinse with salt water. Braces can irritate the skin on the inside of your mouth, and the constant rubbing can cause sores which can be painful and uncomfortable, especially while eating. To get rid of them, rinse with warm salt water. This will alleviate pain and prevent an infection from occurring. While you can buy salt water rinse from your local drug store, you can also make it at home by dissolving half a teaspoon of salt into a cup of warm water. Gargle and swish it around in your mouth for around 60 seconds before spitting it out.
Another way to combat those nasty sores: wax! Wax is your best friend after getting braces, and after having them tightened. Your orthodontist will provide you with soft orthodontic wax which you can place on the wires and brackets. This will heal the areas that have experience chafing through the metal rubbing against the inside of the cheeks and lips. It will also prevent sores from further forming, and if you run out, your orthodontist will provide you with more free of charge.
If medication seems to be a route that will alleviate the pain, apply oran analgesics. Benzocaine is a pain reliever that can be found in both liquid and gel form, and applied directly on the teeth and gums. This medication may taste unpleasant, but will effectively numb the mouth from pain.
Taking over the counter pain medications are also very effective, specifically aspirin, ibuprofen or naproxen. You can take them before your appointment so it's ready to fight before the pain sets in as well. Ensure that you take the appropriate dosage, and should not be taken too regularly.
And finally, be patient. Give it time. While the pain can seem like a lot, it's only temporary. Give your mouth time to adjust to the pain, discomfort and soreness, and soon the pain will subside. Your lips and gums will toughen up and adapt over time.
Do not forget the ultimate reward: a straight, beautiful smile. Use the methods listed above to help fight off teeth pain, and if you have any concerns, contact your orthodontist.