Toothache Awareness

Toothache pain is a very real possibility for some people undergoing orthodontic treatment such as braces. It’s important that patients follow their dietary guidelines while wearing braces, and keep up with their daily oral hygiene care, to avoid a toothache from developing. February 9th is National Toothache Day, so we thought this would be a good time to talk about toothaches while wearing braces, and the best ways to avoid them.

Braces Should Cause Pressure – Not Pain

It’s normal to feel some generalized pressure in the mouth after being fitted with braces. This is especially true during the first four weeks, as patients are getting used to having the appliance in their mouth. The pressure and discomfort can usually be handled with over-the-counter pain medications. It will resolve on its own once you become accustomed to the braces.

According to research published in the National Library of Medicine, up to 1 in 3 patients experience localized toothache pain while wearing braces. And the pain is usually not from the braces themselves. The toothache is almost always caused by patients trying to test the limits of their dietary guidelines. They will try to eat sticky or hard food, which their orthodontist in Melbourne warns against, and they end up with a toothache. They may have to come in for an appointment to have their wire adjusted, or may have to take some ibuprofen for a few days to help with the pain.

Is it possible for braces to cause toothache pain? Yes, occasionally. Sometimes adjustments need to be made to the wire if patients are experiencing a lot of pain. In other cases, the wire or brackets can be unknowingly damaged during a sports injury or collision. Anytime you start to feel significant pain, you should give us a call at Melbourne Orthodontics so we can assess what is happening.

Tightening Braces Causes More Pressure

During each orthodontic checkup, the doctor will adjust the tension in the wire on your braces. This keeps the tooth roots moving in the bone, which causes the pressure and discomfort. Some patients will end up feeling a little bit of a toothache and pressure after each adjustment. As the teeth start to move, any pain and pressure will start to become less severe. The pain or discomfort after an adjustment can almost always be managed with pain medication.

Treating Toothache from Braces

A genuine toothache during treatment is extremely rare. We will work with your general practitioner dentist before the braces are placed on your teeth, to ensure that any cavities are filled and other problems are addressed prior to the process. But for those who do experience a slight toothache, there are ways to relieve the pain.

First, use whatever over-the-counter pain medication your orthodontist recommends. Follow the dietary guidelines! Eat soft foods that aren’t going to cause pressure or pain. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush, because this will cause less irritation on your gums. Rinsing your mouth with some saltwater can help to reduce any inflammation or swelling caused by the braces.

Stick to Your Diet!

It’s not unusual at all for your teeth to feel a little tender for the first few days after a checkup. The biggest favor you can do for your teeth is to follow the dietary guidelines that we give to you during your very first appointment. Be sure to stick to soft foods only for the first few days after every adjustment:

  • Yogurt
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Soft, cooked vegetables
  • Pasta
  • Soup
  • Oatmeal
  • Scrambled eggs
  • Ice cream

Another way to keep your teeth in great shape is to be rigorous with your daily oral hygiene regimen. Brush after every meal, especially after the evening meal. Floss at least once a day, preferably before bed. If you do all of that, it should minimize any toothache pain or discomfort from wearing braces.

If you think that you are a good candidate for braces (or your child), contact us at Reddick orthodontics to schedule your first appointment.