One of the first questions future braces patients ask us is if they will hurt. While they can cause some soreness and discomfort, braces should never truly cause pain. What you can expect is tenderness to biting pressure when the braces are initially placed and after your routine adjustments. This will last the longest when you first get your braces—up to five days—and should last about one day after adjustments. You can help lessen your discomfort by eating soft foods, rinsing with salt water, and taking an over-the-counter pain medication.
Another way braces can cause discomfort is by irritating the soft tissues of the mouth. Once again, this is really only a concern when your braces are first places as the mouth must adjust to the braces being there. Once the tissues toughen up, things will feel normal. You can use dental wax over the areas causing the most problems. And as with the tenderness to biting pressure, salt water rinses and over-the-counter pain medication will help. We will provide you with dental wax, and if you need more, you can come back to the office for it or purchase it at your local pharmacy.
After your braces are placed, you will need to modify your diet a bit in order to protect them. Certain foods are known to cause damage to braces and increase dental disease, so these foods must be avoided while in treatment. Remember that any damage to your braces will extend your time in treatment, so while it may be difficult to avoid certain foods you love, it comes with rewards that make it worth it.
Keep in mind that this is not a complete list of foods to avoid; however, it should help you avoid the most common offenders and make it easier to evaluate the suitability of foods throughout your treatment.
The palatal expander “expands” (or widens) your upper jaw by putting gentle pressure on your upper molars each time an adjustment is made. The animation below will instruct you about when and how to adjust your expander. When you achieve the desired expansion, you will wear the appliance for several months to solidify the expansion and to prevent regression.
In a well-lit area tip the patient’s head back.
Place the key in the hole until it is firmly in place.
Pushing the key toward the back of the mouth, you will notice the fender will rotate and the new hole will appear. The rotation stops when the key meets the back of the expander.
By pushing back and down toward the tongue, remove the key. The next hole for insertion of the key should now be visible
True orthodontic emergencies are very rare, but when they do occur, we are available to you. As a general rule, you should call the office when you experience severe pain or when you have a painful appliance problem that you can’t take care of yourself. We’ll be able to schedule an appointment to resolve the problem.
You might be surprised to learn that you may be able to temporarily solve many problems yourself until you schedule an appointment with our office. When working with your appliances, you need to know the names of the parts of your appliances so you are able to identify what part is broken or out of place. After alleviating your discomfort, it is very important that you still call our office as soon as possible to schedule a time to repair the problem. Allowing your appliance to remain damaged for an extended period of time may result in disruptions in your treatment plan.
When you get your braces on, you may feel general soreness in your mouth and teeth may be tender to biting pressures for three to five days. This can be relieved by rinsing your mouth with a warm saltwater mouthwash. Dissolve one teaspoonful of salt in 8 ounces of warm water, and rinse your mouth vigorously. Placing Orabase on the affected area may help; this can be found in a pharmacy. If the tenderness is severe, take aspirin or whatever you normally take for headache or similar pain.
The lips, cheeks and tongue may also become irritated for one to two weeks as they toughen and become accustomed to the surface of the braces. You can put wax on the braces to lessen this. We’ll show you how!
Sometimes headgear discomfort is caused by not wearing the headgear as instructed by your orthodontist. Please refer to the instructions provided by your orthodontist. If the facebow is bent, please call our office for assistance. Surprisingly, the headgear may hurt less as it’s worn more, so be sure you’re getting in the prescribed hours.
If your appliance is poking you, place wax on the offending part of your appliance.
If your bracket or band is still attached to the wire, you should leave it in place and put wax on it. If the wire comes out entirely, wrap the bracket with a tissue.
Using a tweezer, try to put your wire back into place. If doing this and using wax doesn’t help, as a last resort use a small fingernail clipper to clip the wire behind the last tooth to which it is securely fastened. If your discomfort continues, place wax on it.
Using a pencil eraser, push the poking wire down or place wax on it to alleviate the discomfort.