How to Make Your Braces Hurt Less

Dental braces are a type of orthodontic treatment used to correct teeth that are crowded, crooked, protruding, out of alignment or have irregular spacing. By moving the teeth into the ideal position, dental braces help to create a more attractive and healthier smile for both children and adults.

Anyone who has ever had to wear braces knows that there is a significant amount of pain and discomfort that comes from wearing them. And while the pain is inevitable after having the braces tightened, there are several things that you can do to help elevate that discomfort. It is also possible to eradicate general everyday brace pain. A proper diet and precautions are your best tools for making your braces hurt less.


Things You Will Need

  • Acetaminophen (or Ibuprofen)
  • Anbesol
  • Soft toothbrush
  • Sensitive toothpaste
  • Salt
  • Water
  • Dental wax


An orthodontic wire is poking at the gums

  1. Pinpoint the pain’s origin. You cannot go about relieving pain until you figure out where it’s coming from. Perhaps the braces are digging into your cheeks or gums, a wire is poking you or they just feel too tight.
  2. Get them adjusted. If the pain is coming from tightness or a sharp, poking wire, schedule an appointment with an orthodontist as soon as possible. The best person to adjust the braces is the person who put them on, but other experts should be able to help you if that person is not immediately available. You don’t want to wait too long in pain.
  3. Take acetaminophen or Ibuprofen (according to directions) to ease your discomfort. Take the medicine an hour before you have your braces tightened. Following the appointment, take another dosage according to the medication’s instructions for timing and dosage amount. Continue taking doses as directed until pain is gone. Heed all warnings and don’t take more than the recommended daily intake on the medication’s label.
  4. Apply Anbesol to the tender areas of your gums and teeth. This will offer short-term pain relief. This pain relief liquid and salve has been helping teething babies and others with toothaches for ages. The company now makes a formula to help with braces pain. Check your local drug store or buy Anbesol for Braces online.
  5. Brush your teeth with a soft-bristled toothbrush while using toothpaste for sensitive teeth. This will help with your tender gums and teeth.
  6. Add a teaspoon of table salt to a full glass of lukewarm water. Swish the salt-water mixture in your mouth for at least 60 seconds. This will help to heal any sores or cuts due to your braces.
  7. Run two clean washcloths under hot water and wring out, then let them cool down for 1 minute. Gently press warm cloths against your jaw on either side of your face and let sit for 15 minutes. This will help alleviate soreness while lessening swelling associated with tightening. Continue applying warm compresses as needed every hour.
  8. Eat soft foods. Your mouth will only be further irritated if you indulge in corn on the cob, hard nuts and candies and other stuff that’s hard to chew. Opt for mashed, pureed, tender and easy-to-chew foods instead.
  9. Apply dental wax to the brackets of your braces. Orthodontists and dentists should both have given you a supply of soft, supple dental wax so that this will ease the pain of the brackets being cemented to your teeth. Press small pieces of the wax directly on top of the sharp metal brace pieces. Get a large supply and store in an airtight container or bag so it stays soft. Apply the wax every morning after brushing. Remove it to brush at night. Try sleeping without the wax on and discard old wax as it will accumulate bacteria.

Tips & Warnings

  • Gargling with salt water may sting at first, but it will sooth and help heal any sores.
  • Practice positioning your mouth so you learn to keep your cheeks as far away from your braces as possible. You can practice eating with your cheeks puffed out a bit and talking in a way that does not make your cheeks rub against your teeth. It may feel silly at first but you will get used to it.
  • Kissing may kill at first, but this does not mean you can’t kiss anyone for the whole time you are wearing braces. Use the wax or Anbesol if you are going on a hot date. Warn your date you have braces that may have wax on them so the person is not surprised or grossed out. If your braces pain is so intense you think you need a prescription pain reliever, you better get to the orthodontist fast. No braces should hurt that severely. Something is seriously wrong.