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Apr 8

Colorado Springs Orthodontic PainThough orthodontics can give you a beautifully aligned smile and improve dental function, many find the treatment process painful and uncomfortable. The pressure metal braces apply to the teeth is necessary to realign the teeth but, unfortunately, can cause great discomfort. Colorado Springs orthodontics patients can experience improved comfort and reduced dental pain with these helpful tips.

Take Pain Medication

Though you will want to get approval from your orthodontist, in general, over-the-counter pain medications are sufficient for dealing with orthodontic pain. Pain medications with aspirin should be avoided as aspirin can cause bleeding. Instead look for ibuprofen pain medications. As always, when taking any medication - over-the-counter or prescription - be sure to follow the medication labels and recommendations.

Apply an Ice Pack

Applying an ice pack to painful areas can help reduce inflammation and ease discomfort. Keep ice packs (or even a bag of frozen peas) ready in the freezer. Wrap a washcloth or clean dishtowel around the ice pack to help make the ice pack more comfortable for your skin.

Eat Soft Foods

Stick to soft foods, especially after a braces adjustment, as this is the time period in which teeth are most sensitive. Crunchy, hard foods can increase orthodontic pain and should be avoided. Also avoid chewy foods and foods like large sandwiches and hamburgers, which require opening the mouth wide. Soft foods are much easier to eat, as they require little chewing. Refried beans, mashed potatoes, soups, puddings, yogurt, and ice cream are all foods you may want to consider when dealing with orthodontic pain.

Rinse with Warm Salt Water

Aside from pain that is caused when orthodontic wires are tightened, braces may cause irritation or sores along the gums and lips. Rinse with a solution of a 1/2 a teaspoon of salt to one cup of warm water a few times a day. Salt water is a natural antiseptic so it will help reduce infection and ease irritation. 

Drink Cold Beverages

Sipping on a cold beverage, preferably water, can help in much the same way as applying an icepack to the outside of the mouth. The cold temperature helps reduce inflammation and ease orthodontic pain. Stick to ice water or sugar free (not artificially sweetened) drinks like unsweetened teas. If drinking tea, consider green tea over black teas, as dark teas can stain the teeth. 

Use Pain Medication Before Having Your Braces Adjusted

Most patients find pain at its worst right after they've undergone an adjustment. Take pain medication before you go in for your orthodontic adjustment to help alleviate pain before it even starts. Take your first dose of pain medication an hour before your appointment and take again if needed and as indicated by your medication instructions.

Schedule a Consultation

Though braces can be painful and uncomfortable, the long term benefits are well worth the short lived discomfort. Straightened teeth are easier to keep clean and look aesthetically better. Misaligned teeth can lead to irregular wear, which can lead to major damage. Orthodontic care is the most effective way to improve dental alignment and in turn, prevent damage caused by irregular wear. To see if orthodontic treatment is right for you or to discuss ways to treat your orthodontic pain, we welcome you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Matt Gaworski.

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