How to Alleviate Discomfort after Putting on Braces

smileHow to Alleviate Discomfort after Putting on Braces

The pain from braces can sneak up on you. When you first get your wires tightened, your teeth just feel some intense pressure on them. It’s not too uncomfortable. But soon, very soon, a more intense pain starts to set in. And that’s just the pain from the tightening. That doesn’t even touch the bone pain you may feel in your chin bone or the rub of the brackets and wires against your inner mouth.

Ultimately, the pain is worth it. You end up with a stunning smile plus the self-confidence to smile. However, even knowing that doesn’t alleviate the pain in the moment. If you’ve just gotten braces put on your teeth or your braces tightened, here are some real steps you can take to alleviate the discomfort.

Modify What You Eat

Certain foods can alleviate the pain that your braces cause your mouth. For example, eat soft and cold foods like ice cream and puddings. These not only feel cool, which creates a numbing effect in the mouth. These foods also don’t require any chewing. This helps keep your sore teeth out of the mix for a while. You may want to eat other soft foods for a couple of days, even if they aren’t cold. Mash potatoes, pasta, or soups and stews are good bets. They put no strain on teeth and gums. Finally, stay away from hard or sticky foods. Jerky, gummy bears or nuts are just a few examples of these types of foods. Not only can they cause your teeth pain to eat, there’s a chance that sticky items like taffy or gummy bears can loosen the brackets from your teeth.

Use a Heating Pad

If your jaw feels sore from orthodontic work, try using a heating pad on your jaw (or a warm wash cloth.) You may feel sore from dental appliances like headgear or even from your jaw getting accustomed to its new alignment. Heat can be soothing to these conditions.

Apply a Topical Oral Anesthetic

Anbesol, Orabase, and Orajel are oral anesthetics that you can apply directly to your teeth and gums. For a time, these products will make your teeth, gums, tongue, and lips slightly numb. They come in various forms, including gels and liquids. Most people apply them to the teeth and gums via their forefingers. However, you can apply the gels to a toothbrush as well.


If you’re looking in the grocery store for these products, you can probably find them in a couple of places. Sometimes, items like Orajel or Anbesol will be found in the baby food/ baby products aisle. (Many moms use these items to help their babies get through the pain of teething.) They can also be found in the oral care aisle, where you find toothpaste, mouthwash, dental floss, and the like.

A word of caution: Some people don’t like the sensation of having numb gums, teeth, tongue, and lips. However, do keep in mind that your teeth will hurt the most right after you get your braces tightened. Although the experience of wearing braces is never completely comfortable, the pain of your braces will die down after a couple of days. That being the case, you won’t have to use a topical oral anesthetic for very long.

Take an Aspirin or Ibuprofen

An over-the-counter painkiller may provide temporary relief from the pain. As these have some side effects, it’s best to follow the dosage suggestions on the bottle. The usual dosage for adults is two tablets every four hours or so, with some exceptions. Additionally, if your inner cheeks or gums feel inflamed, some painkillers like ibuprofen contain anti-inflammatories.

Gargle With Salt Water

Braces can aggravate mouth ulcers (canker sores.) You’ll want to treat those as well. A salt water gargle can also help heal some of the sores in your mouth that are caused by wearing braces. Mix one teaspoon of salt with an eight-ounce glass of warm water, making sure that it’s completely mixed and that the salt has dissolved into the water. Swish it around the mouth and gargle with it a couple of times a day.

Additionally, it’s likely that this will sting a bit if you do have lesions in the mouth due to your braces. If so, you can follow up your gargle with a drink of aloe vera juice. This is a juice mixture that’s made from aloe vera juice and other herbs.

Usually, you can find this at your health food store. It has a bit of a funny taste, though it’s not unpleasant. Swish it around the mouth to help heal the sores in your mouth. It is drinkable, though you may want to spit out the juice if you’re swishing it around your mouth to heal ulcers.

Use Your Orthodontic Wax

The orthodontic wax will help prevent the sores that come from your brackets rubbing against your inner cheeks. Knead a bit of the wax – about the size of a green pea – until it’s a small ball. Apply it to the offending bracket/s. Dab any dampness from the brackets that you want to apply the wax to with a paper towel. Once the bracket is dry, then add the orthodontic wax to it.

Do be aware that if you have teeth that protrude a bit like a crooked eye tooth, you may have to apply wax to your braces often until the braces can pull the protruding tooth/ teeth can be pulled into place.

Call Papandreas Orthodontics to Schedule Your First Orthodontic Appointment

Dr. Samuel Papandreas provides expert orthodontic care for adults, teenagers, and children at his facilities in:

• Brunswick, Ohio
• North Royalton, Ohio

His patients are fitted with customized orthodontic devices that include:

• Braces – color-matching ceramic or metal devices
• Retainers – worn at night when your braces are removed
• Invisalign aligners – clear plastic devices
• Palatal expanders – worn before your orthodontic treatment begins

You can schedule an appointment with Papandreas Orthodontics to learn about the best type of orthodontic treatment for you and your children to improve your smile correct your dental bite.

How to Alleviate Discomfort after Putting on Braces

Papandreas Orthodontics
3511 Center Road, Suite B
Brunswick, OH 44212
tel: 330-558-9092

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14200 Ridge Rd
North Royalton, OH 44133
tel: 440-582-8585

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