With braces, you can bring your teeth into proper alignment and get the smile you’ve always wanted. But, to achieve that goal, you’ll have to put up with a little bit of discomfort and soreness along the way. While braces are not outright painful, you will likely still benefit from a mild pain reliever in the days after getting braces put on. The help with pain relief will also come in handy after adjustments that temporarily ramp up the pressure on your teeth. Not all pain relievers are made equal, however, so use this guide to find the very best one for you.
Inflammation is the Bad Guy
The brackets attach to your tooth enamel and the wires never even touch your gums, so why do braces make your mouth feel so sore after their initial install and adjustments? The answer is inflammation.
As the wire tightens, it puts pressure on the teeth, convincing them to slowly move into their proper positions. Inflammation spreads through the gums and the muscles in your jaw, causing soreness and discomfort soon after.
Your discomfort could continue for the better part of a week, depending on the level of adjustment. As the inflammation slowly goes down during that time, your discomfort will steadily decrease as well.
Taking Anti-Inflammatories Makes Sense, Right?
If you want to skip to the end of the discomfort, it might seem like it just makes sense to take anti-inflammatories. Unfortunately, that move could actually backfire. In exchange for fewer days of discomfort, taking anti-inflammatories could extend the time you need to stay in braces —and not just by a little bit.
The Problem with Anti-Inflammatory Medication
Anti-inflammatory medications, like ibuprofen, have recently landed on the list of substances that impact the movement of teeth. That is terrible news for those in braces since it can translate to more time waiting for your teeth to arrive in their ideal position. It turns out that the inflammation is actually beneficial in helping the teeth get moving. By halting inflammation altogether, you slow the movement, making your adjustments much less effective.
That’s not where the problems end, either. Anti-inflammatories stop the chemical reaction needed to restore the structure that helps keep your teeth in place once they are shifted around. Worse yet, they decrease the amount of procollagen in your tissues, which serve as a strengthening building block during bone remodeling. As those effects occur, your teeth might be quicker to shift back into their original positions once the braces are removed, especially if you don’t wear your retainer as instructed.
Acetaminophen for the Win
While it is important that you skip the anti-inflammatories, there is an over the counter medication you can take: acetaminophen. This pain reliever can decrease soreness while leaving the inflammation to do the heavy lifting.
By not touching the inflammation, it will not slow down tooth movement, helping keep your progress right on track. This medication also does not have an effect on the creation of procollagen nor the chemical reaction needed to restore your tooth structure.
For those reasons, acetaminophen is well regarded as the best pain reliever to use after getting braces and having adjustments done. You can discuss dosage amounts and timing with your dentist to find out just how to properly take this medication.
Tips for Reducing Discomfort from Braces without Medication
If you only feel mild discomfort, you can skip the pain relievers altogether and find relief in other ways. A warm saltwater rinse, for example, can feel quite soothing and can be done as many times as you wish throughout the day.
To make your rinse solution, just mix a ¼ teaspoon of table salt in a glass of warm water. Remake the solution each time you need a rinse to ensure it is fresh and just the right temperature.
A gum massage can provide immense relief from soreness as well, especially around the jawbone. Just use your pointer and middle finger to rub around your gums using a circular motion. Repeat as needed to keep discomfort at bay.
Fix Shifting Teeth Without Braces
You do have options, of course, if you want to skip traditional braces in favor of cutting-edge technology. Invisalign Clear Aligners by VanLaecken Orthodontics offers a high-tech aligner system to correct your smile.
The clear aligners gradually move your teeth into their ideal positions without brackets, wires, and all the fuss. They are also virtually invisible while you wear them, allowing you to smile with confidence through your treatment period and beyond.
The custom fitted system speeds up the tooth straightening process as well, which reduces the time it takes to create your perfect smile. That means less discomfort overall, helping you stay focused on your daily activities without disruption. You really cannot lose when using this system, so reach out to our orthodontists today to learn how to get started.
Source: “Pain Reliever for Shifting Teeth,” Laster Orthodontics