Our Strategies For Treating Orthodontic Pain

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Orthodontic pain can be a difficult challenge, especially when you feel like you don’t have many resources to help you with it. This pain typically occurs during or after orthodontic treatment, such as braces, retainers, and other aligners. These devices can provide excellent means for treating your oral health. But when pain arises, know that your primary care providers can offer other means for treating your orthodontic pain alongside your orthodontist. It’s essential to recognize what forms of dental pain are considered normal and not, and through this small guide, we can list out the many ways your primary dentist can help you receive treatment.

Understanding Orthodontic Discomfort Following Treatment

While discomfort often occurs during the first week of treatment, it’s generally mild and often passes. Some patients report it to be more severe than others, but more often than not, most patients will experience mild tension along the teeth, inflamed gums, and difficulties chewing and speaking. For those who experience pain after the first week and experience only mild symptoms, it’s usually treatable with the help of your primary dentist. Some of the most common medications that your dentist can prescribe or recommend to manage the pain include:

  • NSAIDs: This type of medication is frequently used to manage pain associated with swelling and inflammation. Typically, orthodontic treatment may cause inflammation due to gum and cheek tissue irritation from the wires and brackets. Some common NSAIDs include Ibuprofen, Motrin, Aleve, and naproxen sodium, and can be prescribed in higher concentrations for pain relief.
  • Analgesics: In some cases, analgesics can be used to help dull the body’s reaction to pain and mask its presence. This type of medication is often used with NSAIDs for effective pain relief.
  • Cold Therapy: Cold therapy can reduce inflammation and swelling, and some common forms of cold therapy include eating or drinking cold foods like ice cream. This therapy, most often associated with ice packs and ice cubes, should be used carefully and only for up to 15 minutes before allowing the area to warm again.
  • Targeted Nutritional Guidance: The most common source of pain is not paying attention to what you eat with braces. It’s vital that with braces, incredibly chewy, sticky, or crunchy foods can cause dental pain due to the stress it places on your braces. By monitoring what you choose to eat, you can easily prevent orthodontic pain from happening in the first place.

What To Do When Pain Persists After the First Week

If your pain persists beyond the first week, it can indicate a faulty appliance or an underlying issue. Scheduling an appointment with your orthodontist or primary dentist is recommended during this stage as they can properly diagnose your condition and treat it with the tools at hand. This includes inspecting braces for malfunctions, areas of tightened tissue, broken wires, and other concerns.