Why Acetaminophen Is the Best Pain Medication When Wearing Braces By Kellyn Hodges on November 17, 2020

close up photo of female patient in bracesIf you are considering braces, you are probably wondering if it will hurt. While braces can cause discomfort or tenderness during some phases of treatment, there are plenty of ways to manage these side effects and maintain your comfort. Our doctors offer a wide range of treatments at our orthodontic practice, serving Philadelphia, PA, Bala Cynwyd, PA, and Bensalem, PA.

Did you know that the type of pain reliever you use can have a significant impact on your orthodontic treatment? Our team at Kellyn Hodges Orthodontics explains why acetaminophen is the best pain medication when wearing braces.

How NSAIDS Affect Tooth Movement

We all have our favorite go-to pain relievers. When you have a headache, maybe you reach for ibuprofen (Advil) or naproxen (Aleve). Since discomfort in the body is so often attributed to inflammation, it makes sense that these anti-inflammatories (NSAIDS) are so commonly used. But according to researchers, there are several medications that can actually slow tooth movement – and NSAIDS are at the top of the list.

How exactly do NSAIDS slow tooth movement? Studies have confirmed that they reduce the amount of procollagen – a substance that helps strengthen tissues. When mechanical pressure has been applied to the teeth, the bone and periodontal ligaments around the teeth immediately begin to restructure. NSAIDS interrupt this process.

Why Acetaminophen Is Best for Orthodontic Patients

Acetaminophen (Tylenol) has been marketed for many years as a pain reliever and fever reducer. It does not, however, reduce inflammation – so it is not considered an NSAID. As a result, it is the best pain reliever to use during orthodontic treatment.

How Often Should I Take Acetaminophen?

Acetaminophen should only be taken when needed. Typically, patients need it when braces are first placed and again after adjustments. Keep in mind, however, that discomfort from braces is usually short-lived. Most individuals only need to take it for a day or two. You can discuss the specifics with our orthodontist. Our team can let you know how often to take acetaminophen for best results.

Other Ways to Reduce Pain

In addition to taking acetaminophen, there are other ways to alleviate orthodontic discomfort. We recommend that patients:

  • Use oral analgesics. Over-the-counter oral analgesics, such as Orajel® and Anbesol®, can help soothe sore teeth and gums.
  • Apply cold compresses. Ice packs or cold compresses applied in 20-minute increments can alleviate discomfort.
  • Drink smoothies or milkshakes. Cold drinks help soothe sore oral tissues. Be sure to drink plenty of cold water as well.
  • Swish with warm saltwater. If you have any soft tissue irritations, swishing with warm saltwater can be helpful.
  • Use orthodontic wax. Any sharp wires or brackets can be covered with orthodontic wax to protect your oral soft tissues from irritation.

Contact Us for More Information

To learn more about braces, Invisalign®, or any of the other orthodontic options we offer at Kellyn Hodges Orthodontics, schedule a visit at our practice. You can contact us online anytime or call our office at (610) 617-0700.

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Kellyn Hodges Orthodontics staff

Kellyn Hodges Orthodontics

At Kellyn Hodges Orthodontics, serving patients in Bala Cynwyd, Bensalem, and throughout Philadelphia, we are committed to helping children and adults of all backgrounds achieve beautiful, healthy smiles. Our compassionate and widely respected doctors are members of prestigious dental organizations, including: 

  • American Association of Orthodontists
  • American Dental Association 
  • National Dental Association
  • National Board of Orthodontics, U. S. 

To reach our helpful, multilingual staff, call us at (610) 617-0700 or request a consultation online.

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We love Kellyn Hodges! She listens to her patients and provides excellent care! Her staff is very friendly and helpful as well! Tara F.

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