Even though the end result of beautiful, straight teeth is worth it, there’s no denying that braces can be uncomfortable. Children with braces can experience particular discomfort after an appointment to have their braces tightened. When your child gets their braces tightened, their orthodontist adjusts the wire in the braces, forcing the teeth to shift more.
The movement of teeth can cause your child’s mouth to be sore for a few days, and sometimes, the metal of their braces can cause irritation to their inner cheeks and gums. Luckily, there are a variety of effective ways to deal with braces pain. Here are our top ten ways to relieve the mouth pain from braces.
Take an Over-the-Counter Pain Medication
One of the best ways to relieve braces pain is by taking an over-the-counter pain medication like aspirin, ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or naproxen. Your child can take these before their orthodontist appointment to start fighting the pain before it starts.
Be sure to make sure that your child takes the medication only as directed. Pain medications should not be taken too often and should generally be saved for when other remedies won’t suffice.
If you have any questions about your child using pain medication, it’s best to consult their orthodontist first.
Apply Oral Analgesics
Benzocaine is a pain reliever that comes in a liquid or gel form and can be applied directly to your child’s teeth and gums. Help your child apply the medication using a cotton swab or a clean finger. The taste of the medication may be unpleasant, but it is an effective way to numb the mouth pain from braces. Make sure to follow the instructions on the packaging.
Use an Ice Pack
Since some of your child’s braces pain is due to inflammation, applying a cold compress can be an effective way of combatting pain. Having your child hold an ice pack to the outside of their mouth can help reduce any swelling. A sore mouth is just like any other injury, and the ice will help soothe it. If you don’t have an ice pack, a bag of frozen vegetables will always work in a pinch.
Apply Orthodontic Wax
It’s common for children with braces to experience irritation where the metal rubs against their cheeks, lips, or gums. Ask your child’s orthodontist for soft orthodontic wax. This wax can be applied to the places that experiencing chafing, preventing any discomfort or sores from developing.
Rinse with Salt Water
As with other pediatric dental services, newly-tightened braces can irritate the sensitive skin in your child’s mouth. Constant rubbing from the metal wires can result in sores, which can add to the problem of braces pain. If your child has any sores, have them rinse with a warm salt water solution. This will help alleviate discomfort and will help prevent any potential infection.
You can purchase a salt water rinse from most drug stores, or you can make your own at home. To make a salt water rinse, dissolve half a teaspoon of salt into a cup of warm water. Have your child gargle and swish with the solution for 60 seconds before spitting it out.
Try Cold Foods and Drinks
Drinking cold water or eating something soft and cold like ice cream can function similarly to ice packs. The coldness will help reduce inflammation and pain while producing a pleasant numbing sensation to any achy areas. If your child does choose something sweet like an ice pop or ice cream, make sure they brush their teeth afterwards.
Your child can also suck on ice to help relieve their braces pain, but be sure that they do not chew it. Chewing on ice can cause damage to the gums, microscopic fractures in the enamel, and even broken teeth.
Adjust Your Diet
When your child has their braces tightened, it causes their teeth and gums to become sore. To combat this braces pain, have them avoid foods that will further irritate their mouths. Hard, crunchy foods like chips and raw vegetables can be painful to eat and should be avoided for a few days. Instead, they should opt for soft foods like mashed potatoes and soup that won’t irritate their already sensitive mouth.
Chew on Frozen Teething Rings
Although teething rings are designed for infants, they can be a very effective tool for combatting braces pain. Your child can gently chew on a frozen teething ring, moving the ring to the places that hurt the most. Gradually, the frozen teething ring will help the pain subside.
Use a Heating Pad
If cold treatments don’t seem to be doing the trick, try the opposite method and apply heat to the affected area. Your child can place a heating pad over the affected area for pain relief. If you don’t have a heating pad, a warm washcloth can be effective as well.
Give It Time
The pain of newly-tightened braces is certainly awful, but it’s important to remember that it’s only temporary. After a few days, your child’s mouth with adjust to their braces, and the pain will subside. While all of the previous methods will help alleviate the mouth pain from braces in the meantime, there’s no substitute for the healing powers of time.
The beautiful smile that your child will have after their braces will make all of the minor braces pain worth it in the end. In the meantime, help keep them comfortable as they work toward straighter teeth. With so many ways to treat minor mouth pain from braces, your child is sure to find a method that works for them. If you’re concerned about your child’s braces, or if you’re interested in children’s orthodontics, give us a call at (702)-832-0508 or contact us online to schedule an appointment at any of our convenient locations throughout the Greater Las Vegas region.