Dr. Starling

How to Treat Pain from Braces

It's news no child or teen wants to get: They need braces. The idea of living with a "metal mouth" for the next few years may not sit well with them. Add to that the discomfort braces can sometimes cause, and you might have an unhappy adolescent on your hands. 

Braces can irritate the soft tissues inside the mouth or cause discomfort as they realign and correct crooked teeth.

Don't worry, though. These tips for getting braces will help your child minimize discomfort during orthodontic treatment.

Apply a Topical Anesthetic

Certain gels, such as Orajel, help to ease braces pain by numbing the gums. If you or your teen are experiencing irritated or sore gums from braces, applying a coating of a topical anesthetic can help. Just make sure to follow the directions on the package and supervise your child when using it.

Give Them Soft, Soothing Foods

Some foods are better to eat with braces than others. You already know that popcorn, gum and sticky snacks are off-limits to your teen. But there are also foods that may help ease their discomfort, particularly during the early phases of braces-wearing.

Give them soft foods to eat that don't require much chewing. Pureed vegetables and soups are a good pick, as are smoothies and yogurt.

One of the best foods to eat with braces is ice cream. That news may delight your teen to no end. Ice cream is soft, soothing and cool, so it's easy to eat and can provide some relief from braces-related pain. 

Keep Things Cool

On a similar note, anything cold can help ease discomfort from braces. If your child complains of soreness, give them an ice pack to put on the affected area for a few minutes. Another option is to have them drink ice water to cool off the mouth and minimize pain.

While ice can help improve comfort, remind your child not to crunch on it. Chewing ice can damage the brackets and wires, meaning your kid needs another visit to the orthodontist. 

Encourage Oral Hygiene

One of the most important tips about braces to apply to your child's life is to have them keep up an oral care routine. Yes, flossing with braces can be tricky, but it's important to do every day. Flossing and brushing help to reduce inflammation and irritation in the gums. Regular oral care also reduces the risk of tooth decay and bad breath, both of which can be more likely with braces. 

Apply Orthodontic Wax

The brackets and wires associated with some orthodontic treatments can scrape the insides of the cheek and the gums, causing irritation and discomfort. Orthodontic wax creates a protective coating over those wires and brackets, reducing the risk of scratches and irritation. Your orthodontist will probably give your child some wax to use, but if they don't, make sure to ask about it. 

Have Them Massage the Gums

A little massage can work wonders for discomfort due to braces. Have your child wash their hands, then gently rub their gums in a circular motion. The movement will help improve blood flow and bring down swelling.

Give Them Pain Medication

Consider giving your child an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as ibuprofen, to reduce any discomfort they may experience during and after an orthodontic appointment.

Often, pain relievers are most effective when given before pain begins, so consider giving your child the medicine about an hour before an appointment. Talk to your orthodontist to see if they recommend medication and which pain relievers are most effective.

Consider Other Orthodontic Treatments

Gone are the days when a teen only had one option for orthodontic treatment. Today, your teen can choose from Invisalign or lingual braces in addition to the standard metal braces. It could be that another treatment option is less painful for your teen. 

If that's the case, talk to your orthodontist about braces cost, Invisalign cost and the pros and cons of choosing one or the other. 

Find an Orthodontist Near Me

If your child is ready for orthodontic treatment or needs help to ease their discomfort from braces, talk to the team at Starling Orthodontics. We'll help you choose the best treatment for your teen and will give you tips to help them cope with the pain of getting braces. Contact us today for an appointment. 

connect with us

Call today or complete the appointment request form and we will be in touch soon.

(615) 507-1660