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What to Expect after Braces Tightening

By Kellyn Hodges on April 06, 2016

A patient with bracesBraces are highly effective at improving the appearance of crooked teeth and correcting bite issues, giving many patients the confidence of a beautiful smile. Orthodontic treatment is a lengthy process, requiring anywhere from 18 months to three years to achieve the desired results. During this time, the wires will need to be tightened multiple times to shift the teeth to their ideal positions. It's not uncommon to experience some side effects, specifically oral pain and discomfort, after braces are tightened. To learn more about braces tightening side effects, schedule a consultation with Philadelphia, PA dentists Kellyn Hodges, Sonal Dave, or Warren J. Apollon.

The Side Effects of Braces Tightening

When undergoing orthodontic treatment, the wires must be tightened every four to six weeks to move the teeth to the desired position. Tightening, or adjusting, the wire applies pressure to the teeth, which can result in some unpleasant side effects.

The good news is that the pain or discomfort felt after braces are tightened generally subsides after a day or two, while some patients may not even experience any painful side effects after braces adjustment. Those who do feel pain or discomfort after braces adjustment may experience the following side effects:

  • Sore teeth: The pressure that tightening applies to the teeth can make the teeth sore for a few days after an adjustment. 
  • Sore jaw: The jaw may feel sore after braces are tightened as the teeth and surrounding tissues adjust to the movement of the teeth.
  • Tender gums: The gums may also feel tender or sore as a result of the pressure applied to the teeth after braces are tightened.
  • Difficulty eating after tightening: Some may have difficulty eating the day their braces are tightened.
  • Headaches: The pressure felt on the teeth and jaws can cause some patients to have headaches after their braces are adjusted.

Tips to Alleviate Discomfort after Braces Tightening

For most patients, any pain or discomfort felt after braces tightening is short lived, lasting a few hours to a few days, and can be managed with over-the-counter pain medication. Taking over-the-counter pain medication prior to an adjustment can prevent pain or headaches before they occur.

Using an oral anesthetic, like Orajel or Anbesol, can also alleviate pain or discomfort after braces are adjusted. Oral anesthetics can be applied directly to the gums or teeth to lightly numb any painful areas of the mouth.

Eating soft foods can help those who find it difficult or painful to eat after braces are tightened. Eat soft foods like soup, yogurt, smoothies, or meal replacement shakes on days when braces are adjusted to prevent jaw or tooth pain. 

Applying a warm compress to the outside of the jaw for ten to fifteen minutes at a time can also help alleviate pain and discomfort after braces are tightened. Rinsing with warm salt water several times a day can also help ease pain and discomfort.

Schedule a Consultation

To receive personalized tips for alleviating discomfort after braces tightening, or for answers to your questions about orthodontics, we welcome you to schedule a consultation with our team at Kellyn Hodges Orthodontics.

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