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The 7 Must Know Techniques to Braces Pain Relief

When most people think about having braces, the first thing they imagine is the immense pain associated with it. Some people even think that they will have to use a straw to take their meals every day! 

Well while this might be possible in cartoons and movies, it almost always never happens in real life. You see, the act of getting braces itself is not painful, so get that image out of your head!

braces pain relief

Once braces are fitted, people usually experience discomfort for the first few days because the teeth and mouth have not gotten used to having them. The discomfort usually goes away after a few days or at most one week.

People having braces do sometimes have pain or discomfort in their mouths but this is mainly due to the sores and discomfort caused by the braces rubbing against the cheeks, teeth and lips. When this happens, there are various quick ways to make sure the discomfort goes away:

1. Taking Pain Relief Medication

painkillers for braces

This is the most obvious solution. Taking painkillers such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen can help to relieve pain in the jaws and gums. This deep pain is normally brought about by the gradual shifting of one’s teeth as they get used to the new braces.

Pain relievers are not the best solution however as they can be addictive. They are still recommendable if your doctor prescribes adequate amounts for a short period of time.

2. Eating Cold or Frozen Treats

frozen treats for braces

Yes, you heard me right, eat as much cold treats as you like! Now, I’m pretty sure the kids love hearing this, so let me explain to the worried grownups how this actually works; frozen treats help to numb the teeth and any area in the mouth and cheeks where there might be sores. This acts as a quick relief and even helps treat swollen gums.

3. Using the Orthodontist Wax

Most orthodontists give their patients a special wax after each adjustment appointment.

Wax for braces * provides a kind of barrier between the inside part of the lips and cheeks and the bracket of the braces. This barrier prevents irritating your gums as well.

Applying orthodontic wax to the teeth, braces and gums greatly helps to reduce discomfort caused by the braces.

tooth and braces pain

So, how does this magic wax work?

buy from amazon

Well, when the braces are fitted, you might feel a protruding arch wire that is scratching the inner part of your mouth. The wax helps to reduce the friction between the brace, teeth and gums. 

Break off some wax from its container and squish some with your fingers to form a small mold. Place this mold directly on whatever bracket causes irritation. Don’t worry if you accidentally swallow some of it since dental wax is not toxic. Remember to take off this wax mold before brushing and flossing your teeth. Applying more wax right after a meal is recommended after your initial applications have broken down over time as wax tends to do.

4. Rinsing with Warm Salt Water

The other quick pain remedy is to use rinse with simple warm salt water. Salt has natural curing properties so next time you are going to have your braces adjusted, just gurgle some salt water. Salt water also helps to heal the sores, cuts and ulceration in your inner mouth and gums. So whenever you feel any discomfort, just rinse your mouth with salt water to hasten the healing process.

5. Massaging Your Gums

This is another effective brace pain remedy and the best thing about it is that you don’t even have to go to a masseuse to get it done! Just use one of your fingers to gently rub around your gums. For better results, stroke the gums with a block of ice before massaging them. This will help to relax swollen gums.

6. Practicing Better Dental Hygiene

Believe it or not, most pain experienced by people having braces is caused by poor dental hygiene! As a reminder to all brace wearers: when you have braces, cleaning your teeth alone just isn’t enough; you also have to thoroughly clean your braces!

Braces and other dental implements attract stains from chewing food and drinking beverages which can build up plaque in the teeth and stain them.

This is the reason why a majority of orthodontists strongly advice on brushing and flossing immediately after meals to remove food particles which may have stuck in your teeth.

You see, braces have rough edges that hide dental plaque. With time, the braces accumulate enough plaque that can cause dental conditions such as dental caries. So, to avoid this, always remember to brush your teeth after every meal, clean your braces well, floss regularly * and use mouthwash.

How to Brush Teeth with Braces Correctly

Use a toothpaste with fluoride and/or a mouthwash with fluoride as one of its main ingredients to rinse out food articles and act as a safeguard for those places in your mouth and teeth which a toothbrush may find hard to reach.

  • Brush EACH tooth with braces from the top down and up from the bottom carefully and gently.
  • After you have brushed ALL of your teeth with braces, use an interproximal brush *. Insert this down starting from the top and then going up from the bottom between two of the braces.
  • Make sure that you use several brushing strokes toward each direction before you move on to a next space between two of the braces.
  • Repeat this procedure until ALL of your teeth have been thoroughly cleaned.
girl wearing braces

Here is a step-by-step guide for effective flossing when you have braces:

  • Feed the floss’ short end through that space between your teeth’s uppermost portion closest to your gum and the main arch wire of your braces.
  • Using a gentle sawing-like motion, work the dental floss on each of the side of those two teeth where the floss is in between.
  • Remember not to use force around the arch wire of your braces.

7. Chewing More

That’s right chew a little bit more. Chewing helps to exercise your mouth increasing the blood flow to supporting structures in around the teeth. This, in turn, helps to heal the sores and lesions in your mouth reducing the associated discomfort. Care should, however, be taken to ensure brace wearers only chew soft materials that will not cause decay to the teeth such as sugar-free gum or Twizzlers.

Foods to Avoid

Those who wear braces can still eat the foods they enjoy by cutting them into small portions or pieces to make chewing easier. There are certain foods, however, which need to be avoided altogether:

  • Tough-textured foods and those with hard surfaces such as bagels, hard rolls, and apples.
  • Sticky foods which need to be chewed thoroughly before swallowing like caramel soft candy and taffy.
  • Corn that is on the cob (slice off the kernels from the cob to enjoy corn).
  • Snacks items such as nuts, hard variety pretzels, raw carrots, and popcorn.
  • Ice cubes.
  • Bubble gum and chewing gum.
  • Beef jerky and ribs (take off the meat from the bones and you can eat them).
  • Chicken wings (cut off the meat from off bones if you want).
  • Pizza crusts, pickles, and fruit roll-ups.
foods to avoid for braces

Avoiding Injuries by Wearing Mouthguards

Wearing braces and engaging in sports can be a cause for injury. This is why mouthguards for braces is necessary for protection in contact sports such as basketball, boxing, wrestling, lacrosse, field and ice hockey, volleyball, football, and baseball. Even participation in non-contact athletics such as mountain biking, badminton, gymnastics, skateboarding, and tennis may pose risks of mouth injury.

The type of mouthguard – customized by a dentist or the usual boil and bite — will depend on the kind of sport you plan to engage in. Molded mouthguards by dentists tend to be expensive; the purchase of a generic mouthguard which you can mold yourself may be a cheaper option. You may also want to consider mouthguards in wider versions and double mouthguards in boil and bite and flexible varieties.

mouthguards for braces


On a final note, remember that you will always need fluoride protection against cavities. When you wear braces, the risk of tooth decay may become higher since it is really so much harder to maintain clean teeth with braces on.

Ask your orthodontist for additional protection in the form of products which boost fluoride supply to your teeth while you’re wearing braces such as those that are capable of repairing early cavities in the roots of your teeth.

If you liked our article, please share it and use the comment section below to tell us about your experiences or ask any questions. Thanks!

  • gh says:

    some of my teeth feel loose sense they attached a bracket and wire to my wisdom teeth is that normal or not?

    • Susan says:

      Hey Gh!

      This is an unfortunate situation. It is possible for your teeth to feel loose since having dental work done. They should not be loose. We recommend talking to your orthodontist about this problem as soon as possible. They will be able to tell you if what you are feeling is just sensation or if there is truly a problem occurring.

  • Joe says:

    Try OraChill for braces pain. It works!!

  • Alyssa Berardi says:

    I tried all of these I have rubber bands and nothing works post some of the techniques for rubber bands.

    • Help me says:

      This is stupid nothing works

      • Susan says:


        It’s hard when you can’t find a solution to your pain. If you have that much pain and you cannot find relief, you need to speak with your orthodontist to discover the cause. What we recommend in this article works for the majority of people.

    • Susan says:

      Hey Alyssa!

      It’s hard when you can’t find a solution to your pain. I can add few more tips to the pain relief. As I’ve adviced in the previous comments, try to avoid crunchy or hard foods, such as raw vegetables and chips, and opt for more soft foods meantime. Choose smoothies, yogurt, soups, pudding and mashed potatoes. After the pain subsides, you can resume your normal eating habits. You can also try a local anesthetic over-the-counter gels, such as Orabase *, Orajel * or Anbesol *. They form a protective barrier to help orthodontic and denture irritations. Use a cotton swab or your finger to apply the numbing gel to the areas of discomfort.

      If you still have that much pain and you cannot find relief, you need to speak with your orthodontist to discover the cause.

  • Eugene Lewis says:

    I suggest using the modern Invisalign technologies if you are worried about the pain caused by the regular braces. This treatment is less painful and brings results faster, so you won’t have to endure them for a long time. It’s available for both adults and kids. To find out more, visit this blog: http://blog.sesamehub.com/robison-tyler/2018/06/ten-reasons-to-bring-your-teen-to-robison-orthodontics-for-invisalign-treatment/

    • Susan says:

      Hey Eugene!

      Thanks for sharing this blog and clinic. Invisalign is a type of clear braces, and many dentists and orthodontist are recommending it. They are less painful than regular braces. However, it cannot be used for all conditions. Invisalign is used mainly for relining teeth, not fixing things like overbite or underbite.

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