Braces can be worn by people of all ages who need to improve their chewing or straighten their teeth. Braces can be traditional (or metal), lingual, colored, and clear, but only an orthodontist can determine which type is more suitable for each individual. If you feel you need advice, make an appointment at an orthodontic clinic like Aces Braces for a consultation.
Dealing with braces-caused inflammation
Your teeth, tongue, cheeks and lips will likely feel a little sore from the braces, but this is perfectly normal. While the soreness may last 1 to 2 weeks, there are some steps you can take to alleviate the irritation (note that soreness may return when your dentist tightens your braces during regular check-ups, so learning these tips will prove helpful on the long run).
Begin by identifying the areas where the metal in your braces rubs the hardest against your cheeks and lips, and cover those portions up in dental wax. Also try rinsing your mouth with soothing saltwater several times each day. Simply add one teaspoon of table salt into a glass of water, but make sure the water is warm or at least at room temperature; stir until all salt dissolves. Then gargle for one minute, without swallowing, and spit the contents out once you are ready.
Aside from gargling with saltwater, you can also coat the sore areas with a gel for mouth sores that will take the pain away for a couple of hours; an anesthetic mouthwash can be used as well. Furthermore, antiseptic rinses with hydrogen peroxide work well against braces-triggered irritation and inflammation.
Oral pain relievers containing acetaminophen or ibuprofen can also help. You can get these medications over the counter, but it is better to ask your dentist for a recommendation based on your particular medical history and orthodontic situation; this way, you can rest assured that you won’t do more harm than good, and that the tablets really are effective at lowering the discomfort caused by your braces. Another easy fix for relieving soreness and gum swelling is ice that you can suck on (never chew), or a glass of cold water or a slushie that you can drink during the first couple of days when you feel more pain.
Following the tips above is good, but not enough to relieve your discomfort; that is why altering your diet is a must, at least initially, if not throughout treatment. You should stop eating and chewing any hard items, such as candy, chips, nuts, ice cubes; even the habit of chewing on pencils and bones must be eliminated. Avoid eating gum, taffy, and other sticky sweets or foods, as well as biting into anything; instead, cut your food into pieces, and focus more on soft foods like soups and mashed potatoes.