When your braces are causing you pain, it can be almost unbearable. It’s hard enough to eat solid food sometimes with braces, but the pain makes it hard to think! Let us give you our personal advice on how to stop braces pain immediately.
We’ve had our fair share of braces pain after over a year of treatment, extractions, bumps, power chains, and wire changes. Over that time we’ve found that while most of it is bearable, sometimes you need immediate relief. Here’s what we’ve learned.
How To Stop Braces Pain Immediately?
These tips will help if you’ve just got your braces, you’re coming home after a wire change, or something is just flaring up. Often pain comes straight after an orthodontist visit but sometimes it’s just random after some recent movement. Try these.
1 – Oral Painkillers
Painkilling tablets do the job, but an oral gel will work faster and more direct. Orajel is the tried and trusted classic that does the job. Simply rub a little into the affected area and you’ll get fast relief. Consult the instructions first for the amount and potential hazards.
2 – Iced Water & Ice Packs
Keep an ice pack ready to go in the freezer – ideally a small, flexible one. Most modern braces wire are heat-activated which means they conform more to their shape when hot, and are more flexible when cold.
That means cold can stop the wire being quite as tough for now, as well as soothing your mouth. In a pinch, iced water will do. If your teeth are too sensitive to hold the iced water in your mouth, hold a glass up to your face.
3 – Ice Cream!
Using the same principle as above, ice cream can hold off pain and soothe your heart. Treat yourself every so often with a bowl of ice cream. Just make sure to brush your teeth properly half an hour later.
4 – Orthodontic Wax
I never leave the house without a little braces kit! Dental wax is key to this as if your gums start to rub against a wire or bracket, you can get cuts and pain pretty fast. At the first sign of rubbing you should apply some dental wax.
How To Relieve Braces Pain At Home
Once you’ve got over the immediate pain, you want to have a plan for when it happens again. If you’re getting pain after this you should talk to your dentist. Discomfort is common and you should expect a little with big movements – though there are solutions to gum pain from cuts and scrapes.
1 – Traditional Painkillers
Painkillers like ibuprofen, acetaminophen (paracetamol), and aspirin all work. You don’t need big brands, the cheap and simple generic tablets will all do the same job. However, a large study found that ibuprofen seems to work best for tooth pain due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
Ibuprofen does have the drawback of actually slowing down braces treatment because of that same positive. As a result, dentists generally recommend acetaminophen (paracetamol).
However, don’t overuse or rely on painkillers too much. A small amount of discomfort is common when you first get braces or get wires changed. Try to bear with it (within your own personal limits).
2 – Keep On Top Of Oral Hygiene
Make sure you are brushing first thing in the morning, half an hour after eating, and before going to bed at night. An electric toothbrush does the best job and you can’t leave out the flossing – though we recommend interdental brushes with braces.
If you are getting bad breath, see any dark areas in between teeth, or experience general pain when eating you should speak to a dentist. Make sure to see a dental hygienist for a proper cleaning once a year.
Poor oral hygiene leads to plaque buildup, general pain in the mouth, and can lead to cavities and further problems. Also learn to take care of your the thing you use to clean your mouth! Consider boiling your toothbrush to keep it clean and avoid mold.
3 – Rinse & Repeat
Rinse your mouth out with something to help kill germs and soothe your gums when they’re inflamed. A special antibacterial mouthwash or a simple saltwater (one tablespoon of salt in warm water) mix work. Swill for a minute and spit.
4 – Have The Right Braces Food Ready
When you just can’t deal, being hungry on top of everything is the worst. Always have a couple of days of liquid foods ready so you can eat even when it hurts to chew. Personally, I always have a couple of bottles of breakfast shakes, some nice soups, greek yogurt, and of course a nice tub of ice cream ready to go.
When you’re feeling up to it and want to start chewing, stick to soft but nutritious foods like sweet potato and cottage cheese. For a treat mac and cheese will do.
Related – Discover the Foods to Avoid With Braces to avoid pain entirely!
My Braces Hurt So Bad I Can’t Sleep!
If you’re having trouble sleeping because your braces hurt so much – first off we understand. It sucks, we’ve been there a couple of times and it’s not fun. Make sure you’ve brushed your teeth or at least swilled some mouthwash before bad if brushing is too painful.
Take painkillers as advised, sit with a cold glass against your mouth, or sit down and watch a show with some ice cream. Once the painkillers start to kick in you’ll be able to settle down – even if you’re a little sleep-deprived for the next day.
It will all be worth it, trust us!
How To Stop Brace Pain At School
Make sure you’ve got an emergency kit with some painkillers or oral pain relief gel in your bag or locker. If you don’t, ask to speak to your school nurse to get some. It’s common for people to have braces pain at school and you’re not alone.
How To Stop Brace Pain Without Wax
Unfortunately, sometimes you’ll be stuck with braces pain without wax nearby to stop the rubbing. If you are at school, you could always ask a nurse if they have any available. In a pinch, anything that’s gummy and will stick to the braces and get between them and your cheek will do.
So, chewing gum, blu-tak, sticky dots e.t.c might work. However, you don’t want to swallow any of these and you don’t want them in your mouth too long. Removing chewing gum from braces is also a real pain so be very careful but thorough when you get round to it.
Pain From Braces First Day
Your first day or two in braces will often be the most painful. As your mouth gets used to it, it will get better and you probably won’t get this much discomfort again. However, it will suck for a few days.
Try and think of the long term and remember you’re doing yourself a really great favor. Use all the tips we’ve given above like using oral pain gel and standard painkillers. A cold compress or even an iced glass of water will help a little.
Pain From Braces After Wire Change
Getting your braces wire changed is another one of those painful times. Mostly it just involved two or three days of sticking to liquid foods but you might need a couple of painkillers. Normally this isn’t as bad as the first day in braces.
However, sometimes you get a big wire change from a flexible wire to a stiffer steel wire that doesn’t flex as much. This happens towards the end of the treatment and signals that the final adjustments are being made.
Getting pain from a braces wire change here is one of the last few times you’ll experience this level of discomfort so take heart – it’ll all be over soon!
How Long Do Braces Hurt For?
How long braces pain lasts does depend on the type of braces, the extra things like bite blockers or palate expander, and how misaligned your teeth were to start with. Painful braces on your first day is expected , and braces wire change pain or discomfort is common.
Getting Braces Fitted
This can last up to a couple of weeks. Generally, the first four or five days are the worst, with pain lessening over the next week or so. You should stock up on liquid foods and have painkillers ready for the big day!
Getting Braces Wire Changed
Depending on the strength of the wire, braces pain can be almost nothing to two or three days. In the worst case expect a week of discomfort and not being able to chew at all.
Palatal Expander Adjustment
Again, this is one that will hurt for around two or three days after fitting, up to a week. Then when it’s adjusted by you or your orthodontist it will be a little painful for a few minutes but should clear up shortly after.