Managing Soft Tissue Pain Caused by Braces
By Kellyn Hodges on April 06, 2017
Crooked, overlapping, or misaligned teeth can affect the appearance of the smile and increase the risk of oral health problems. These issues can be corrected with orthodontics. Braces are highly effective at repositioning the teeth to align the teeth ans produce a beautiful smile.
Although braces provide an effective means for improving the smile's appearance, some patients may occasionally experience soft tissue pain throughout the treatment process. Dr. Kellyn Hodges and her team provide patients with tips on managing braces and soft tissue pain during consultations at her Philadelphia, PA practice. To receive your personalized tips, we invite you to schedule a consultation. In the meantime, we offer these tips to help relieve soft tissue pain during orthodontics treatment.
Understanding Braces and Soft Tissue Pain
Braces can make the soft tissues of the mouth sore and tender during the treatment process. One of the biggest contributors to soft tissue pain while wearing braces is the braces themselves. Braces consist of metal wires and brackets that can rub on the inside of the lips and cheeks. In addition, the arch wires may poke the back of the mouth, potentially causing pain and irritation. Braces also apply pressure on the teeth to gradually reposition them into proper alignment. When pressured is applied to the teeth, it can cause the soft tissues to become sore or inflamed.
Are Braces Painful Throughout Treatment?
Most people who undergo traditional orthodontics do not experience pain at all times throughout treatment. Rather, pain is generally felt during the first few days after the braces are initially put on the teeth and at each tightening, which occurs about every four to six weeks. In many cases, soft tissue pain will decrease as the tissues become tougher and adjust to the braces.
Alleviating Soft Tissue Pain
Soft tissue pain can make wearing braces uncomfortable from time to time. Fortunately, there are ways to alleviate pain and make orthodontic treatment more comfortable, such as:
- Take over-the-counter pain medication: Over-the-counter pain medication, like Tylenol, can help reduce pain and discomfort while wearing braces.
- Use topical pain relievers: Topical pain relievers, like Anbesol and Orajel, can help numb the soft tissues for immediate relief.
- Eat soft foods: Stick to soft foods, like Jell-O, soups, and pasta, when experiencing soft tissue pain to help reduce further irritation.
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush: Soft-bristled toothbrushes are gentler on the teeth and gums, helping to reduce soft tissue irritation.
- Use dental wax: Applying a small amount of dental wax to wires and brackets can create a barrier between the braces and soft tissue, preventing pain and irritation.
- Drink cold water: Drinking cold water can help ease gum and soft tissue pain. Swishing ice water around the mouth is particularly beneficial.
Schedule a Consultation
If you suffer from soft tissue pain and would like more tips on how to reduce discomfort, we encourage you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Hodges today.