It’s common for patients who first get their braces put on to have some mild pain for a few days as their mouth gets used to the new appliances in their mouth. While this pain should be mild, for some people, particularly children, it may be helpful to try and find ways to reduce it so their lives are disrupted as little as possible.
There are a few ways to reduce the pain that braces can cause. The most common is to take an over the counter pain medication like Motrin, Aleve, or Tylenol. Whichever is your preferred pain relief medicine, they should all help decrease the initial pain you will feel.
Another easy route is to enjoy either hot or cold food items. Hot soup or ice cold water may help reduce the pain. Ice cream and popsicles are favorites, just make sure you brush after you enjoy your treat as sugar left in between your braces can cause cavities. Sucking (not chewing!) on ice can provide a similar effect. Much like eating soft warm or cold foods may help, eating hard or crunchy foods may make the pain worse, so it’s best to avoid those for a few days. Acidic juices can also irritate any sores you have developed so avoiding those as well is a smart choice.
Gargling with salt water can help relieve inflammation but if you find your mouth is still bothering you, grocery stores or pharmacies sell numbing gel that will work for a few hours. This may be a great solution if you find that the pain is keeping you from falling asleep.
Your orthodontist will provide you with instructions on all of this as well as to not poke and prod at your braces. This can cause further irritation and introduce more bacteria into your mouth. They will also provide you with a soft bristle toothbrush which will be easier on your gums and orthodontic wax. Orthodontic wax can be used to cover sharper parts of your braces until your gums and cheeks get used to the metal.
Using some or all of these tricks will provide you with the greatest relief as your mouth adjusts to the new situation. It should not take very long for your lips, cheeks, and gums to become less irritated and sometimes time is all you need if the pain is bearable. If you are concerned, you can always call your orthodontist’s office, but trying this tricks and tips first will save you time.