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9 Effective Strategies to Relieve Pain from Orthodontic Treatment

Mom and Daughter smiling with braces

Orthodontic braces and Invisalign are common treatments for correcting misaligned teeth and achieving a beautiful smile. While they are incredibly effective, any type of orthodontic treatment can also cause discomfort and pressure, especially during the initial stages of treatment and after adjustments. However, there are several strategies you can employ to alleviate this pressure and make your orthodontic journey more comfortable. In this article, we'll explore the ten best ways to relieve pressure and pain from orthodontic treatment.

  1. Orthodontic Wax: Initially, braces or attachments for the Invisalign aligners can rub against your lips, cheeks, gums, and tongue. Applying a soft, pliable wax to these irritated can create a comfortable and smooth surface that will relieve the discomfort. If you’re having trouble keeping the wax in place, try Gushy Goo. Gishy Goo is a two-part silicone wax that will harden around the bracket or attachment and actually stay! We give our patients a sample of this in our office but if you need to order more, just search for it on or wherever you like to buy dental products. 

  2. Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers: Non-prescription pain medications like ibuprofen (ex. Advil or Motrin) or acetaminophen (ex. Tylenol) can provide relief from the discomfort associated with orthodontic treatment. These medications can help reduce inflammation and alleviate pain, making them a valuable tool in managing the initial discomfort.

  3. Cold Water: This type mainly applies to braces patients. Most of the orthodontic wires used in our office are a nickel-titanium alloy that actually softens in cold temperatures. So, if you’re having a lot of pain, try drinking some ice water. It will only help for a sort period of time, but a few minutes of relief is better than none.

  4. Saltwater Rinse: Gargling with warm salt water is a time-tested remedy for soothing oral discomfort particularly if you feel like the inside of your lips or cheeks are raw. A saltwater rinse can help reduce inflammation, alleviate soreness, and promote the healing of any irritated areas in your mouth. Mix a teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water and rinse your mouth several times a day for best results.

  5. Soft Foods: When you're experiencing pressure from braces, it's best to stick to a diet of soft foods that require minimal chewing. Opt for foods like soups, yogurt, mashed potatoes, and smoothies, which are gentle on your teeth and braces. Avoid hard, crunchy, or sticky foods that can exacerbate discomfort and potentially damage your braces.

  6. Orthodontic Adjustments: If you're experiencing persistent discomfort that lasts more than a week from your braces or Invisalign, it may be time to schedule an adjustment with your orthodontist. During an adjustment, Dr. Bloom may make some changes to your braces or Invisalign to correct an issue. Other times, he may decide to change course and give you a short break from treatment until the pain subsides. 

  7. Maintain Good Oral Hygiene: Proper oral hygiene is essential for preventing additional discomfort and complications during treatment. Be sure to brush your teeth gently with a soft-bristled toothbrush at least twice a day, paying special attention to areas around the brackets, wires, or attachments. Flossing daily and using a fluoride mouthwash can also help keep your teeth and gums healthy during orthodontic treatment.

  8. Stay Hydrated: Drinking plenty of water is important for maintaining oral health and reducing discomfort from braces. Water helps keep your mouth clean, washes away food particles, and prevents dryness, which can exacerbate irritation. Aim to drink at least eight glasses of water per day to stay hydrated and comfortable throughout your orthodontic treatment.

  9. Patience and Persistence: Finally, it's important to remember that discomfort from braces is temporary and will improve over time. Be patient with yourself and your treatment, and don't hesitate to reach out to our staff if you're experiencing persistent or severe discomfort. With patience, persistence, and the right strategies, you can successfully relieve pain from your treatment and achieve the smile of your dreams.

Orthodontic treatment can cause pressure and discomfort, especially during the initial stages of treatment and after adjustments. However, by implementing the nine strategies outlined in this article, you can effectively relieve the pain and pressure from your orthodontic appliances and make your journey more comfortable. Whether you're using orthodontic wax, over-the-counter pain relievers, or simple home remedies like cold compresses and saltwater rinses, there are plenty of options available to help alleviate discomfort and promote healing. Remember to stay patient, maintain good oral hygiene, and communicate with our office if you're experiencing persistent or severe discomfort. With the right approach, you'll be well on your way to achieving a beautiful, healthy smile.

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