Pain Relief for Braces: Tips for Swollen Gums & Sore Teeth

how to get rid of pain in teeth and gums from braces

“No pain, no gain,” they say, and while it’s true a beautiful smile is at the end of your orthodontic treatment, you’ll definitely have some pain from braces along the way. Although some tooth and gum pain is inevitable after a tightening or a new aligner, there are things you can do to find pain relief from braces.

Follow these tips for how to get rid of pain in your teeth and gums from braces. From numbing gels and analgesic mouthwashes, to what foods to eat after you’ve inserted a new aligner tray or had your wires tightened, soon you’ll be smiling without wincing.

Why Do Braces Hurt So Much?

Whether you have metal braces or “invisible” aligner trays, braces put pressure on your teeth to move them into a new alignment. This pressure can make your teeth and gums sore. You can also get mouth irritation from the wires, brackets or the edges of aligner trays, which can make your cheeks or gums swollen and sensitive.

Whenever your orthodontist adds something to your treatment, such as rubber bands, your pain may increase. The discomfort should be bearable, however, and get better as each day passes. The good news is that the pain from your braces is a sign that your teeth are moving, and that means you’re one step closer to your goals of straighter teeth and a more aligned bite.

Plus, enduring the pain from braces now may help you avoid some mouth pain later. An improper bite is a common source of jaw pain, and crowded, crooked, and misaligned teeth can be more susceptible to cavities and gum issues. So try to grin and bear it a little – as long as the pain is within normal limits. If the pain from your braces lasts more than a few days or is so severe that you cannot eat soft foods or sleep, check with your orthodontist.

How Long Does Pain from Braces Last?

Pain from braces should only last a few days after you’ve had new braces put on, had your braces tightened, or moved to a new aligner tray. Some people can experience soreness for up to a week after a tightening. If you’re changing your aligner trays weekly, this can mean that you’re experiencing cyclical levels of discomfort throughout your treatment time.

If you’re experiencing pain from braces, you don’t have to just shut up and smile through it, however. Here are some things you can do to get relief.

Teen getting braces fitted at orthodontist office

Tips for Relieving Braces Pain

As you approach your first orthodontist appointment to get spacers or fitted for aligners, remind yourself of these tips for how to deal with the tooth and gum pain that braces and aligner trays can bring.

1. Proactively Take a Pain Reliever

As you head into your orthodontist appointment or immediately after, have the recommended dose of over-the-counter pain medicine, such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or naproxen at the ready. Using the pain reliever before the pain arrives can help minimize your discomfort as it spikes.

Also have a topical pain relief, such as a mouth sore gel on hand, so you can apply it directly to the sore spots after your appointment. More on this below!

2. Ice Your Teeth and Gums

Apply an ice pack or a baggie of ice cubes covered in a towel to the outside of your gums for 20 minutes at a time to get some pain relief after getting your braces tightened. You can also suck on (do not chew!) an ice cube or eat a popsicle or bowl of ice cream to help cool your mouth and lower pain levels.

Girls eat ice popsicles to relieve tooth and gum pain from braces

3. Eat Soft Foods

Right after getting your braces tightened isn’t the best time to crunch on raw carrots or bite into a double cheeseburger. Ease your tooth pain by eating softer foods such as pasta, potatoes, scrambled eggs, puddings, or other foods that don’t require a lot of biting and chewing.

Prep ahead for your or your kids’ orthodontist appointment by stocking up on soft foods and planning meals with them. Now is the time for your favorite noodles, casseroles, pudding, or soup!

You might need to eat softer foods for a few days or even up to a week, so opt for a menu with less chewing and crunching at the beginning, then gradually working your way up to your regular diet.

4. Use a Numbing Gel for Teeth

A numbing gel allows you to get immediate pain relief on exactly the spots that hurt. If your teeth or gums are sore from your braces, get instant relief with Orajel™ 4x Medicated for Tooth and Gum, in a cream or gel formula. Simply apply with a finger or a cotton swab along the base of the teeth at the gumline for cooling pain relief.

People over 12 can use this topical pain reliever up to 4 times daily or as directed by your dentist. Ask your doctor before using with children ages 12 and under.

Orajel™ is the #1 oral pain reliever brand for adults and this formula provides fast, clinical strength pain relief in an easy-access tube. And unlike pain relief pills, there’s no waiting for soothing relief. The analgesic cream or gel formula works right away, on contact with the teeth and gums. When you’re dealing with the pain from braces, immediate and effective relief is what you need.

5. Use Wax to Cover Sharp Edges

Your orthodontist probably gave you a small container of soft wax that you can push over the edge of sharp wires, bonds, or edges. If you’ve gotten a mouth sore or swollen gums from braces, wax can help keep the braces from rubbing against your cheek or gums.

6. Try an Analgesic Mouthwash for Braces

Another trick for relieving pain from braces is to use an analgesic tooth rinse. While some mouthwashes for braces focus on adding fluoride to strengthen teeth, pain-relieving mouthwashes such as Orajel™ Toothache Rinse are designed to soothe irritated gums and provide all-over oral pain relief. Plus, you can use it up to 4 times daily after meals or at bedtime, or as directed by your dental provider.

Hang in There with Pain from Braces & Aligners

When it comes to pain from your braces, patience can be the hardest virtue to acquire. Waiting to get your braces off can seem like forever. Orajel™ products can’t speed up the clock to get your braces off sooner, but they can help to instantly ease pain from braces and other tooth pain and gum irritation, whenever it arises.

Stay stocked up on Orajel™ Medicated Tooth & Gum Cream or Gel and Orajel™ Analgesic & Astringent Rinse for Toothache throughout your orthodontic treatment. Follow these tips to deal with the pain from braces, and soon the swollen gums and sore teeth will be a distant memory. All that’ll be left is to flash your beautiful smile!.

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