Here at Saddle Creek Orthodontics, we frequently hear from patients who are worried that getting braces will be painful. Fortunately, it doesn’t hurt at all when braces are being put on, so there’s no reason to be anxious about the initial placement appointment. However, there may be a bit of soreness once the wire and brackets are engaged, even though our cutting-edge technology is designed to reduce discomfort. Mild tenderness is common in the first week after getting braces, but don’t let that scare you! We’ve put together 5 of our favorite tips for getting through your first few days in braces. Keep reading below to learn more!
Minimize discomfort before leaving our office
There are a few easy steps you should take every time you get ready to leave our Germantown or Collierville office. The first is checking that the wire ends of your braces aren’t poking into your cheek or tongue. This will help reduce discomfort between visits. You’ll also want to ensure you have an adequate supply of orthodontic basics, like dental wax and elastic bands. Finally, take careful note of Dr. Fagala’s “assignments” for you until your next appointment. These may include instructions on how to wear your elastics, adjust an expander, use headgear, or simple guidelines to follow for efficient oral hygiene.
Plan out your meals and snacks ahead of time
The adhesive we use to attach brackets to the surface of your teeth dries quickly but takes about 24 hours to set fully. You can eat during that time, but it’s important to pay attention to the guidelines you’ve been given for braces-safe foods. It may take a day or two to get used to eating with your new braces, so try starting with softer foods first. Soups, pasta, yogurt, mashed potatoes, applesauce, and boiled vegetables are excellent options, so make sure to stock up before you have your braces put on! As a bonus, the warmth of soup and mashed potatoes can be soothing, while yogurt’s cool temperature and smooth texture can help relieve soreness.
Give some thought to pain relief
Modern orthodontic treatments are more comfortable than ever before, but as noted above, you may experience some mild discomfort or tenderness occasionally. This usually occurs in the first few days after your braces are put on and can happen after adjustment appointments as well. Any sensitivity should be temporary and will dissipate on its own, but get a jump on it now by making sure you have an over-the-counter pain reliever on hand! It’s usually okay to take this right before your bonding appointment and any adjustments but get Dr. Fagala’s sign-off on it first. A warm washcloth or heating pad placed on the outside of your jaw is also an excellent way to relieve the minor aches and pains associated with your braces.
Brush up on at-home remedies
It’s not unusual for the inside of your lips and cheeks to be irritated right after you get braces. As your mouth toughens up, this will disappear, but there’s no need to suffer in the meantime! Saltwater rinses are a tried-and-true home remedy for relieving soreness and something that can be repeated several times a day. Simply mix one teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of warm water, then swish it around your mouth for about 30 seconds before spitting it out.
If there are specific areas of your braces irritating the inside of your mouth, try warming up a small piece of orthodontic wax between your fingers and sticking it on the places that are bothering you. This will provide a barrier between your braces and the sensitive tissues inside your lips and cheeks. You’ll need to remove the wax before brushing your teeth or eating, but it can be reapplied as needed.
Be extra careful with your oral hygiene
Brushing and flossing is probably second nature to you by now, but getting braces can throw a wrench in that! Getting comfortable with oral hygiene as an orthodontic patient takes time, but it’s an essential part of treatment. While it may feel strange at first, you’ll get the hang of it in no time! We’ll show you how to brush and floss correctly after your braces are on, but here are some additional tips in case you need a little extra help.
- Aim to brush your teeth in the morning, after meals and snacks when possible, and every night before bed. Use fluoride toothpaste and brush for at least three minutes each time for the best results. If you’re out and about, try to rinse your mouth with water before and after eating, then brush as soon as you’re able to.
- Tilt your soft-bristled toothbrush at a 45-degree angle and use medium pressure to brush along the top and bottom of your brackets. Take care to brush the surface of every tooth and get in behind your molars. Pay attention to your gum line, too!
- Floss once each day. You may find it time-consuming to use traditional floss with your braces; an orthodontic flosser or floss threader can make the process a whole lot easier! Make sure you floss up and down the side of each tooth all the way up to the gums before moving on to the next teeth.
- Nothing should take the place of your regular flossing routine. However, tools like interproximal brushes can be great for getting into all the nooks and crannies your braces create. Waterpiks are also an excellent way to rinse away food particles in hard-to-reach places.
Get your braces journey off to the best start with SCO
Like most new things in life, there’s an adjustment period that comes with braces. Your tongue and lips will need to get used to sharing space with the brackets and wires, and you’ll probably feel like your braces are very noticeable at first. This won’t last forever! You’ll get used to your braces more quickly than you’d think, and after some time has passed, you’ll hardly notice them anymore.
Remember that we’re always here to answer any questions you have about your orthodontic journey. Working together as a team will give you the best experience and the best results!
Are you interested in how braces can transform your smile and want to learn more about our treatment options? Get in touch today to schedule your FREE consultation with Dr. Fagala in our Germantown or Collierville office.