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How to Make Braces Stop Hurting When Tightened

Updated February 21, 2017

Straightening your teeth or realigning your jaw with braces can take years, and during this time you will have to get routine tightening adjustments to your braces. Following each tightening appointment, pain is very common as your teeth and jaw adjust to the new pressure. Dealing with this pain fast can help to stop it and keep brace pain under control.

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  1. Take over-the-counter pain medication an hour before your tightening. 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.

  2. Eat soft, mashed-up foods for the week following your tightening or until pain has subsided. For example, applesauce, mashed potatoes, mashed up pasta, soups with softened vegetables, yoghurt or puréed fruits and vegetables. Chewing hard foods will only increase mouth pain, so avoid foods that require chewing.

  3. Rub a pea-sized amount of oral pain-relieving gel onto your gums. This gel will help numb the gums and therefore lesson pain. Only use gel as directed and don't use more than advised by the gel's instructions.

  4. 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.

  5. Use a soft-bristled tooth brush and toothpaste for sensitive mouths for the week following your tightening. Brush slowly and gently over braces and teeth and do not press down or vigorously rub.

  6. Warning

    Always follow all instructions that accompany medications stringently to avoid any negative health effects. Should you have any adverse reactions to medication discontinue use and call your health care provider.

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Things You'll Need

  • Over-the-counter pain medication
  • Soft foods
  • Oral pain-relieving gel
  • 2 clean washcloths
  • Hot water
  • Toothpaste for sensitive teeth
  • Soft-bristled toothbrush

About the Author

Amy Davidson is a graduate from the University of Florida in Gainesville, with a bachelor's degree in journalism. She also writes for local papers around Gainesville doing articles on local events and news.

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