Managing Discomfort Associated With Getting Braces

Posted on: 10 January 2018

If your child is having braces put on for the first time, it's likely that he or she will go through a week or so of discomfort. In addition, each adjustment will be somewhat uncomfortable for a day or two. The benefits of having proper orthodontic treatment far outweigh the potential mild and temporary discomfort that accompanies them. Still, there are some things you can do to help your child get through the uncomfortable hours and days following each appointment. 

Use Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers

If your child can safely take ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) or acetaminophen (Tylenol), then this is an excellent option for minimizing discomfort following the application and adjustment of their braces. They can take it an hour before their appointment to minimize any discomfort during the adjustment itself. In addition, they can take it for a day or two following the appointment, as needed. This is often all that's required to manage post-adjustment discomfort, as it tends to go away within a couple of days in most cases.

Use Orthodontic Wax

When your child first has his or her braces put on, it will take several days and, in some cases, up to two weeks, for their inner cheeks and lips to get used to the metal touching them. There might be certain areas that feel sharp and uncomfortable. Using orthodontic wax on the brackets themselves can help minimize the discomfort and relieve any pain from sharp parts.

One caveat: Using the wax constantly will lengthen the adjustment period, because the lips and cheeks won't have a chance to toughen up. Encourage your child to take off the wax for a few hours each day to facilitate the adjustment.

Use Special Mouthwash

Using a mouthwash specifically designed for easing the discomfort of orthodontic braces can help, particularly in the early days of having braces. Occasionally, braces can cause small sores on the inner lips and cheeks when they are first put on. The sores are painful, but not dangerous. Swishing with a pain-relieving mouthwash will keep them clean and help them to heal more quickly. Ask the orthodontist for a recommendation as to which brand is best.

In the vast majority of cases, the discomfort wanes quickly, but if your child is still getting sores or having swelling for more than a week or after having the braces put on, call the orthodontist to be sure that everything is progressing as usual. In rare instances, a child can be allergic to the metal brackets and might need a different type of material used. Don't hesitate to call services like Night & Day Dental with any questions or concerns.