9 Tips On How To Make Your First Week In Braces Easier
Welcome to the world of braces! If you just had them put on, you have taken the first big step in achieving the straight beautiful smile you want. It is true to say that the first week in braces will be an adjustment period and can sometimes bring some uncomfortability.
Your body will be trying to adjust to the strange, new additions in your mouth. But, the good news is, there are some things you can do to make your first week in braces more comfortable and minimize any new pains.
Understanding What Your Braces Are Doing
When you understand exactly what your braces (or any other orthodontic treatment) are doing in your mouth, it can shed more light on the remedies that will help during the first week.
Whether you have gotten traditional braces or Damon braces (or even another orthodontic treatment like Invisalign), these appliances all work by strategically applying constant pressure to your teeth. These orthodontic treatments work by using the pressure to squeeze your teeth together and/or shift them into proper alignment. This happens at a slow and consistent rate that allows your jawbones to adapt and does not cause permanent damage.
If you just got braces, this is something very new for your mouth. So, that constant pressure is going to possibly mean some occasional discomfort, especially on your first day of braces and during the first week. Specifically, you may experience some tenderness in your mouth. This can also happen when your braces are adjusted throughout your treatment.
Now that you have a better understanding of how braces work and why you may be feeling discomfort, let’s take a look at ways to make your first week in braces easier:
#1 – Be Prepared Before Leaving Your Visit With Your New Braces
Before you leave your orthodontist’s office after getting your braces put on, there are a couple things to make sure happen first:
- Be clear on the next steps – Make sure you know what you’re supposed to do until your next appointment and don’t be afraid to ask your orthodontist questions. This includes being clear on things like using elastics (if they’re part of your treatments), specific dental hygiene recommendations, etc.
- Check the ends of the wires – Use your finger or tongue to check the ends of the archwires. This will ensure that if for some reason they are extending into areas that might poke your cheeks or catch your tongue it can be addressed before you leave.
- Have enough supplies – Don’t leave the office without plenty of dental wax, elastic bands, cleaning tools, etc. that you’ll need before your next appointment.
#2- Use Over-the-Counter Pain Medicine the First Few Days
As we mentioned earlier, your teeth, gums, and jaw are not used to the pressure that your braces will be putting on them now. The pressure and movement of your teeth can also increase blood flow to your gums, which is what will cause inflammation and pain.
Until your mouth becomes more acclimated to what is happening, over-the-counter pain medicine will provide relief. Proactively taking a couple a day will help keep soreness at bay. It can also be helpful to use a heating pad or warm cloth against the outside of your jaw.
#3 – Be Mindful of What You Eat With New Braces
A common question is what to eat the first week of braces. You may be happy to know that you can eat as soon as you leave the office with new braces. But, with increased blood flow to your gums, your mouth will be more sensitive to temperatures. To minimize any additional pain, you want to try to let cold foods warm up and hot foods cool down closer to room temperature before eating.
For the first few days, you also want to focus on only eating soft foods while your mouth and teeth adjust to the braces. Pasta, soup, yogurt, soft veggies, seedless bread, etc are good options. Stick to these types of food for the first 3 – 4 days and then you can move to more solid foods. We will give you a list of hard foods to avoid during your treatment to prevent damage to your braces and teeth.
#4 – Dental Wax Makes a Big Difference In the Beginning
As we mentioned earlier, one of the things you want to make sure you have when you leave the office with your new braces is dental wax. The soft skin on the inside of your mouth is not used to rubbing against anything else but your teeth.
So, until this skin toughens up a little more, dental wax will help prevent the braces brackets from rubbing too much and causing sore spots. Your orthodontist will explain exactly how to use the wax.
#5 – Use a Saltwater Rinse
A solution of warm salt water can do wonders in relieving significant irritation in your mouth. You simply add a tablespoon of salt to one cup of warm water. A salt water rinse naturally helps relieve pain and promotes faster healing of any mouth sores. Just make sure you use it as a rinse and do not swallow the water.
So, if you are feeling a lot of discomfort during the first few days, try rinsing your mouth out with this saltwater solution for 30 seconds five to six times a day.
#6 – Practice Good Oral Hygiene Habits
Using good oral hygiene practices and ensuring your teeth stay properly cleaned will help avoid any further problems during your orthodontic treatment. Most importantly, you want to make sure you brush your teeth and braces after every meal to remove any food that might get stuck in your brackets.
Ideally, you want to get into a good routine early in your treatment of brushing twice a day, flossing at night, and using fluoride products as instructed. (Yes, you can floss with braces!).
#7 – Use A Soft Bristle Toothbrush
To piggyback off the tip above, when you are brushing your teeth, it will help to use a soft-bristled toothbrush. Especially during the first week, the feeling of hard bristles against your sensitive gums can quickly cause more pain.
#8 – Don’t Be Afraid to Speak Up
Sometimes, it could be possible that what is causing your braces pain is more difficult for you to pinpoint on your own. This is where having an orthodontist you trust and can talk to is important. It is possible for your braces to be a bit too tight or not tight enough for your mouth. This can cause more persistent or acute pain.
If this is happening to you, don’t be afraid to share this with your orthodontist. Your braces can always be adjusted to determine if that is the cause of any issue.
#9 – Continue to Stick With the Good Habits
Many of these tips/habits that we covered above are good things to continue throughout the entire span of your orthodontic treatment. Doing so will help minimize the chance of any issues popping up and keep your treatment as comfortable as possible.
Remember, if at any point you have pain that becomes acute, take some over the counter pain medicine, use a saltwater rinse, and if needed, say something to your orthodontist.
Your First Week In Braces Doesn’t Have To Be Tough
Of course, each person’s experience during their first week in braces will be different. But overall, following the tips we covered in this article will make your treatment a much more enjoyable journey.
Braces pain can happen. But, once you’ve made it through the first week, things will only get better and you may not even notice your braces anymore. You’ll be happily on your way towards the straight teeth you’ve been wanting.
You can trust the orthodontic team here at Cook & Gutsche Orthodontics to help make your first day in braces to your last as comfortable as possible. If you have questions about braces or are interested in starting your treatment journey, contact our office today. We are here to help!