Toothaches can be horrible — especially if you get one that your dentist has to treat and you have to wait for an appointment to get some relief. Sometimes, however, there’s nothing wrong with your teeth and your dental provider won’t be able to do anything to get rid of the pain. If you just got braces or recently had them adjusted, it’s perfectly normal for your mouth to be a little bit sore. But it’s definitely no fun.
Fortunately, there are several simple things you can do at home to help with braces pain. Learning how to deal with tooth pain from braces early on in treatment can save you a lot of misery as your teeth move into perfect position. Below are six tricks to try when trying to figure out how to ease tooth pain from braces.
1. Take Ibuprofen and Acetaminophen
Ibuprofen, found in brand names such as Motrin and Advil, does a good job of relieving braces pain and reducing inflammation. If you’ve just had your braces adjusted, a little discomfort and mild pain may follow your appointment. Read the package directions on a bottle of ibuprofen to find out the right dose for your age and take as needed.
Acetaminophen is also a pain reliever, most commonly found in the brand name Tylenol. Do not take acetaminophen if you suffer from liver damage or drink alcohol heavily. You can alternate taking ibuprofen and acetaminophen every four to six hours to get maximum braces pain relief.
2. Get Extra Sleep
Whether you’re waiting until morning to see the orthodontist, or you’ve just gotten braces or had them tightened, you’ll want to start your next day feeling as rested as possible. Your body recovers from the day during its sleep cycle, so getting more rest will always make you feel better when your body’s dealing with pain. Try to go to bed early the night after your appointment. Coping with braces pain can interrupt sleeping, but doing small things like turning off electronics an hour before bed and sipping a hot, soothing (non-caffeinated) drink can help you doze off quicker.
3. Brush Carefully
When you have braces, brushing roughly can increase tooth sensitivity. Use a toothbrush made for sensitive teeth and talk to your orthodontist about what toothpaste he or she recommends for your type of tooth sensitivity. There are several brands on the market that are specifically made to be gentler on teeth. In general, toothpastes that whiten your smile, as well as extremely hot or cold drinks, are more likely to cause sensitive teeth to act up. Try to avoid chewing ice if you are experiencing sensitivity and tooth pain from braces.
4. Use a Drop of Clove Oil on Your Gums
Clove oil is a type of essential oil that has been used for thousands of years to ease minor pain. It is made from pressed clove buds and has some therapeutic qualities. The oil can be used to numb tooth and gum pain for a few hours at a time. Depending on the purity of the clove oil, it may be safe to use a drop or two on your gums after it’s been diluted. If you are using clove essential oil, place a drop of the oil on a cotton ball and slide the cotton ball into your mouth against the sore area. Alternatively, you can use a clean finger to place a drop of the oil directly on the aching tooth or gums. Repeat the process every few hours as needed for pain.
5. Gargle Coconut Oil
Swishing coconut oil in the mouth might seem strange, but people who practice Indian Ayurvedic medicine have been doing it for centuries. It’s become trendy lately as hipsters have embraced this old-time ritual, as it’s how to ease tooth pain from braces in a non-pharmaceutical way. The practice of swishing coconut oil in the mouth (or other oils, such as sesame or sunflower oil) is called oil pulling.
To get braces pain relief, try placing a half to one teaspoon of your preferred oil in your mouth and swish it around gently for about five minutes. Spit it out when finished. Some people work up to swishing it around for 20 minutes at a time. If you like doing it, you can use coconut oil as a supplementary mouthwash a few times a week. However, swishing coconut oil around in your mouth can’t take the place of regular brushing, flossing or use of an antibacterial mouthwash. All it can do is help your teeth and braces feel a little cleaner (kind of like using a Waterpik®), with the extra benefit of giving you sweet, tropical-smelling, coconut-infused breath.
6. Apply a Heat or Cold Pack
If your jaw is aching or sore due to a recent dentist visit, wisdom teeth removal or orthodontist appointment, you can also try using hot or cold therapy. Use a microwavable heating pillow or an ice pack on sore areas. If the area feels swollen, use an ice pack to reduce swelling. If it is just generally sore, but it isn’t swollen, you can use a heated pillow.
If you just got your brackets put on or recently had them adjusted and want to know how to deal with tooth pain from braces, some of these at-home remedies may help you.
At Dunn Orthodontics, your comfort is our top priority. Please schedule an appointment if you have concerns about your braces pain. Our qualified dental professionals will help you figure out additional options if you can’t find pain relief through these methods.