Braces gradually reposition your teeth back into place, and to make this happen, you need to visit an orthodontist office periodically for adjustment appointments. During your appointments, your orthodontist will tighten your braces, and while the process is not considered painful, some patients experience mild pressure for a couple of days after their appointments. Here are some at-home interventions to consider that should help keep you comfortable after getting your braces tightened.
Enjoy A Soft Diet
Your orthodontist may advise you against eating hard foods for a couple of days after your tightening appointment. Instead, he or she will recommend that you stick with soup, pudding, cooked fruits and vegetables, flavored gelatin, mashed potatoes, and pasta.
Avoiding very hot or too cold beverages may also help reduce soreness. While you can drink cool beverages, do not put ice in your drink or chew ice, which is never recommended while wearing braces.
Smoothies and milkshakes are also good choices, however, drink them at room temperature to reduce your risk for dental sensitivity. When making smoothies, avoid fruits that contain seeds such as strawberries because they can get stuck under your brackets and wires and between your teeth, further contributing to irritation.
Alternating Cold And Heat
When you get home from your tightening appointment, applying an ice pack or cold compress to your facial area may help relieve dental pressure. Ice will also help decrease the mild gum inflammation that may be present following an adjustment. The following day, mild gingival inflammation will be gone, and because of this, you can switch to warm compresses. This will help soothe mild tooth and facial muscle discomfort that is not uncommon after adjustments.
After a couple of days, pressure, soreness or gum irritation will be gone, however, your orthodontist will still recommend that you stay away from hard foods and popcorn. To further enhance the effects of cold and heat therapy, take an over-the-counter medication such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
While you probably won't need to take any medication, your dentist will not object if you do so. Rinsing your mouth with salt water will also soothe your symptoms as will applying an over-the-counter numbing gel to your gums.
After your adjustment appointments, consider the above interventions and try to be patient. Any soreness or pressure that you experience will quickly fade away. Always keep in mind that you will achiever straighter teeth and a more aligned bite after your orthodontic treatment has been completed.