When you are new to braces, it can take some time to get used to the way they feel on your teeth. While the addition of brackets and wires can be uncomfortable at first, making simple changes to your daily routine could streamline your orthodontic care experience. Here are three easy ways to make your new braces more comfortable:
1. Try Orthodontic Wax
One of the first things new braces wearers notice is how foreign the brackets and wires feel against the soft tissues of your mouth. After a few hours, you may notice mild abrasions on the inner sides of your cheeks and lips, which can make it difficult to eat or talk.
However, you can prevent friction and help your mouth to heal by using orthodontic wax. This over-the-counter product comes in soft sticks, making it easy to pinch off a piece of wax to apply over the top of a sharp surface. As the orientation of your teeth change, you may need less and less wax, since teeth can naturally become more comfortable as they tip into place.
2. Take Mild Pain Relievers
If you find yourself experiencing mouth or jaw pain tied to a recent orthodontic alignment, try taking an appropriate dose of a mild, over-the-counter pain reliever. Talk with your dentist about which pain relievers are appropriate for your dental case and medical history, and keep a few in your purse, wallet, briefcase, or car, in case soreness strikes.
3. Keep Braces Clean
While the physical structure of braces and the orthodontic movements they cause can lead to discomfort, so can oral bacteria and inflammation. When you have braces, focus on cleaning your teeth thoroughly, including areas around brackets and under wires.
Since it can be difficult to clean your teeth and braces with standard toothbrushes and dental floss, consider investing in interdental cleaners, which have adjustable heads that are designed to be pushed through small spaces. Like pipe cleaners, interdental cleaners have soft, flexible bristles, making it simple to whisk away plaque and bacteria. Some interdental cleaners are fine enough to be pressed between the teeth, making it easy to floss with braces.
In addition to preventing plaque and tartar buildup, keeping your teeth shiny and clean can also improve your breath, while reducing your risks of developing problems like gingivitis.
In addition to taking care of your braces at home, make sure to always keep your orthodontic appointments so you can keep those wires and brackets in check. If you have ongoing problems with braces, report them to your dentist as soon as possible to find a solution.