If you are planning to get braces to correct the alignment of your teeth, you may be looking forward to the results of your treatment. However, you may also be concerned about the discomforts that are sometimes associated with a new appliance in your mouth. Here are a few minor discomforts or inconveniences that sometimes occur with the installation or adjustment of metal braces and how to remedy them.
Abrasions on Your Inner Lips, Gums or Cheeks
The soft tissues of the mouth can be quite sensitive. Thus, it may take time for your mouth to adjust to the metal brackets and wire of your appliance. If you notice that your gums, inner lips, or cheeks are becoming irritated from consistent contact with the braces, you can coat the offending areas of your brackets or wire with a bit of orthodontic wax.
The wax is typically provided by your orthodontist and can be applied as often as needed. Over time, your need for the wax will likely decline. However, soon after your braces are first applied, the wax can be quite helpful at relieving your discomfort.
Soreness After an Orthodontic Adjustment
Braces straighten the teeth by applying pressure to coax the teeth into a new, more desirable position. A bracket is affixed to each tooth and a wire is attached to the brackets using elastic ligatures. Periodically, the wire is tightened throughout the treatment process to progress the alignment of the teeth. Each time the wire is tightened, your mouth may feel a bit sore. Some people even experience slight headaches after an orthodontic adjustment.
To alleviate the discomfort, you can use over-the-counter pain medication, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. The medicine should be taken as prescribed.
Difficulty Cleaning Your Teeth
Once you get braces, you will need to become accustomed to cleaning your teeth in a slightly new way. Without your braces, navigating a brush and floss about your mouth was simple. As you get used to your appliance, cleaning your teeth will be less cumbersome. However, immediately after the installation of your braces, cleaning your teeth can seem inconvenient. Here are a few tips to help:
- As you brush on the top side of the brackets, angle your toothbrush downward to access as much of your actual tooth as possible. Likewise, angle the brush upward when brushing on the lower side of the brackets. Still, don't neglect the brackets themselves, as plaque can accumulate on them as well.
- When flossing, use a floss threader. A threader can help you navigate the floss around your brackets to clean between your teeth effectively. If the process still seems too cumbersome, use an oral irrigator to clean the areas between your teeth.
Talk with an orthodontist from a clinic like Orthodontic Smilemaker if you have specific questions about your treatment.