At-Home Care for Orthodontic Soreness

When braces are first applied, it can take several days to get used to the new appliances. During this time, the mouth may feel tender or sore. While soreness is rarely problematic enough to warrant additional dental care, contact your orthodontist if soreness becomes highly uncomfortable.

Causes of Orthodontic Soreness

When braces are initially applied or the archwire is changed during an orthodontic adjustment appointment, teeth start to gradually shift towards their new position. This initial movement causes adjacent tissue to become inflamed. This inflammation causes fibers that join the teeth to the jawbone and gums (periodontal ligaments) to swell. The swelling in turn leads to compressed nerve fibers, which are the true cause of orthodontic soreness.

What Can Be Done to Ease Soreness?

It is important to remember that orthodontic discomfort generally decreases within a few days. After the initial affixation of braces, it can take between one and two weeks for the tissues of the tongue, cheek and lips to adapt to the new orthodontic device. There are several home remedies, however, that will help ease initial discomfort:

Wax Application

Orthodontic relief wax is usually provided at your appointment and can be applied to the braces as required. If the soreness is being caused by braces rubbing on the cheek, lip or tongue, the wax provides a smooth, effective buffer between the two. Roll a pea-sized amount of wax into a ball and place it at the protruding and bothersome part of the appliance. Press the wax into place to efficiently cover any irritating wires.

Salt Water Rinses

Warm salty water is an excellent remedy for sore lips, gums and cheeks. The salt water mixture actually extracts excess fluid in inflamed tissue by way of osmosis, alleviating pressure on the nerves and easing soreness. To utilize this remedy, add a teaspoon of salt to approximately half a cup of lukewarm water. Swish the water around the mouth without gargling for one minute before spitting it out.

Chewing on Soft Foods

To further ensure comfort, you can also chewing on soft foods that won’t damage your braces. Apple and cheese slices work nicely, as do small celery slices. The chewing action compresses the fibers that fix the teeth and gums together (periodontal ligaments), thus pumping out the fluid accumulation that causes soreness.

Eat Berries

Not only do berries contain high levels of antioxidants, they can also substantially reduce intraoral swelling. Cherries, blackberries, blueberries and raspberries all contain natural anti-inflammatory properties which reduce soreness. Cherries are preferable because they are soft enough not to damage the braces and do not contain small seeds which tend to stick between the braces.

Pain Medication

While it is unlikely that orthodontic soreness will warrant over-the-counter pain medications, some patients choose to alleviate soreness this way.

If you have any questions or concerns about orthodontic soreness, please contact our office.

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Testimonials

Dr Johnson put braces on me a little over a year ago and I honestly can't say anything but good stuff about her and her staff. She's a straight shooter that shoots from the hip and tells you like it is and let's you know upfront what the process will be like and what she'll try her best to accomplish but she will tell you that she's not a magician either. For me that sealed the deal and won my business and friendship then and there. She doesn't over promise and under deliver, instead she's realistic about things and tells you she'll do her best which is all anyone can do or expect someone to do. I am extremely pleased with her best thus far and I still have a little bit left before they come off. She's made my entire process as convenient and painless as possible and I've yet to have anything break, come loose, or poke me. In fact the worst part was figuring out how to eat the first few days of having them on and not being able to bite my nails after 39 years of doing so. Dr Johnson is first class all the way around and does top notch work! I highly recommend her to anyone of any age that is needing braces. She had her work cut out for her with me when she did her initial consultation and 14 months after putting them on she's already over delivered from what I was expecting and she's not finished yet! I have no doubts whatsoever that I chose the perfect orthodontist for me everytime I look in the mirror and smile, or someone else compliments her work when I have my regular cleaning and check ups with my dentist. Siler City is a better place because of her and her services being there for those who need them!

Chris C.

Dr Johnson explain every step they are going to do. My granddaughter was not scared at all. Rosa is a very pleasant and caring person with the kids she also explains the steps that will be going on.

Betty M.

I made an appointment with Chatham Orthodontist for my 6 yr old who has an underbite and grinds her teeth. The receptionist was very friendly when I called to inquire about treatment. She explained to me how my insurance would work and what my option would be. When I arrived she was very friendly and ready for us. Dr. Johnson was great, also really friendly and very thorough. She explained what she thought best and why ans gave me a plan of action. When I mentioned my concern for my other child, she made time to fit him in for an initial consult as well. Again with him she was very thorough. The office experience was friendly and welcoming without being pushy. I left feeling very good about the care of my children’s teeth. I would definitely recommend this office!

Camila M.

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