discomfort and Soreness

How Much Discomfort is Normal?

It is normal for your teeth to be sore for 2-3 days after your braces are placed and after each adjustment.  Your cheeks, lips and tongue will also become tender and feel irritation, which can last for 1-2 weeks until they toughen up and become accustomed to the braces rubbing against them.  Everyone experiences pain differently, but be assured your teeth won’t hurt forever and it will be worth it in the end! 

Pain Relief

You can take over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen (Advil) and acetaminophen (Tylenol) to relieve discomfort as long as you aren’t allergic. Rinsing your mouth with warm salt water (1 tsp. salt to 8 oz of warm water) can help with overall mouth irritation.  Some patients prefer topical pain relievers such as Oragel or Rincinol.  Wax will help relieve sore spots  by creating a protective barrier on the outside of your braces.  Over time it gets better!

Loose Teeth

While a bit unsettling, it is also normal for you teeth to feel loose. In fact, this is reassurance that your braces are doing their job! They must first loosen your teeth to move them. Don’t worry, once your teeth are in the correct position and your braces are removed, they will no longer feel loose as the bone tissue forms around them.  

Sports MouthGuards

If you play sports, we recommend you wear a protective sports mouthguard.  Because we are moving your teeth into a new position, most mouthguards for braces can’t be custom fitted and as a result don’t fit that well.  It is important to wear a mouthguard during treatment to prevent damage to your appliances and also prevent injuries to your teeth, cheeks, lips and gum tissue.  You can buy braces-specific mouthguards at your local sports store, the supermarket or online.  A mouthguard only works when you wear it, so don’t forget to pack it before practice or for your big game!

When to Call

There are very few true orthodontic emergencies.  If you experience trauma to your face or mouth or feel true emergency care is necessary and cannot wait until normal business hours, call our office at  319-385-5270.  Our head assistant is on-call and can help determine the next step.  For severe emergencies (extreme pain, difficulty breathing or swallowing, etc.) call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.