Braces are wonderful devices that can provide you with a straighter smile and a more comfortable bite, but they don't come without some discomfort. Fortunately, there are things you can do to relieve the pain.
1. Salt Water Rinses
Warm water can soothe discomfort, while the addition of salt helps speed healing and reduce pain. Dissolve a teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water and swish it around your mouth for a few minutes. Repeat periodically throughout the day, whenever the discomfort begins to bother you. The added benefit is that the saltwater rinses will also help keep your mouth clean by keeping bacteria in check. This reduces the chances of any infections that could compound your discomfort.
2. Dental Wax
Dental wax is available at any pharmacy or drug store. This is a soft food grade wax that is very pliable and smooth. A lot of orthodontic discomforts is a result of adjusting to the bits of hardware on your teeth. They can rub against your cheeks and gums, causing pain. Smooth a small amount of wax over the troublesome parts as needed. This will provide a buffer between your soft tissue and the orthodontics.
3. Teething Gels
Teething gels help numb minor discomfort. They are typically advertised for use with teething infants, but there are some that are sold for adult orthodontic or toothache pain. It doesn't matter which product you choose, as they are essentially the same. Simply apply the gel to the part of your gums or cheek that is feeling discomfort for near immediate relief. Combine teething gel use with a mild over the counter pain reliever for the most effective relief.
4. Apply Cold
The numbing effects of cold can also reduce discomfort. More importantly, the cold also lessens swelling, which can be one of the causes of orthodontic pain. The simplest way to utilize cold is to drink ice water. This way you can swish the water around to the areas experiencing pain. Sucking on ice can also help, just take care not to chew the ice. Another option is to use a cold compress on your jaw in the areas suffering the most discomfort.
5. Diet Management
What you eat can also exacerbate the pain. Stick to liquids and soft foods when you are feeling discomfort. This is especially important for the first few days after you have the orthodontics installed, or for the day or two following an adjustment of your braces. Avoid anything that can become stuck in the orthodontics, like popcorn, as well.
Contact an orthodontist in your area if you are still feeling discomfort after initiating these tips.