It’s a great day when you’re going to take action to improve your smile. Along with this feeling of elation, you may also be experiencing some degree of nervousness. Orthodontic care may be something you need for any number of reasons. Perhaps you need to move your teeth into alignment, or perhaps you have a crossbite. Whatever need is driving you to get orthodontic care, it’s important to prepare for what lies ahead. For some, this includes a period of discomfort immediately following receiving your orthodontic appliance. While this generally only lasts for up to 14 days, it’s important to decide on how you want to address it.
How We Help Patients Ease Discomfort From Orthodontic Treatment
The majority of orthodontic patients who receive treatment don’t experience discomfort afterward. In those cases where discomfort does occur, it’s generally something that can be easily managed. The symptoms are generally limited to some soreness and inflammation. Even when discomfort is reported, it rarely lasts more than a couple of weeks after the procedure. During that time, most patients find that simple treatments available over the counter will help. Following are some examples of the treatments used:
- NSAIDs: This family of drugs is easily available and safe to use. They address concerns with swelling and inflammation, reducing them and the discomfort they can cause. Naproxen sodium, Motrin, Aleve, and ibuprofen are the most common examples found at your local pharmacy.
- Analgesics: This family of medicine functions by reducing the ability of the body to perceive pain. This is accomplished by blocking the pain receptors in the body. They are commonly used alongside NSAIDs due to their ability to work together. This is a trait known as synergy.
- Cold Therapy: Cold is known for its ability to constrict blood vessels and reduce blood flow. This, in turn, eases swelling and inflammation. Cold should only be applied for periods of up to 15 minutes to avoid damage. Good methods of applying cold include eating and drinking cold foods, sucking on ice, or a cold pack held to the face.
- Gum Massage: A gentle rubbing of the gums has been shown to ease discomfort by reducing inflammation. It encourages blood flow which helps to flush the fluids causing the inflammation away from the area.
Another important method of avoiding discomfort with orthodontic appliances is watching your diet. Some foods can put additional strain on your orthodontic appliance and teeth. This strain can lead to discomfort and aggravation of the tissues. Foods that are chewy, crunchy, or hard need to be avoided during this time. If you do find yourself experiencing discomfort, be sure to speak to your dentist. They’ll be able to provide guidance on how to address it and ensure it doesn’t point to more serious concerns.
Speak To Your Dentist For Orthodontic Pain Relief
There are numerous benefits that a patient may experience with orthodontic care. The aesthetic results are those most prominent in many people’s minds. However, it can also make it easier to care for your teeth and ensure they have greater longevity. Some orthodontic treatments can address issues causing jaw pain that can lead to TMD. Speak to your dentist about orthodontic care and managing any discomfort you feel afterward.