Getting braces can be both exciting and a bit frustrating. You can't wait to finally have the straight, perfect teeth of your dreams -- but those first few days with the braces on your teeth are anything but comfortable! Thankfully, there are a lot of things you can do to minimize your discomfort during your first week with braces.
Use wax from the get-go.
One mistake new braces wearers often make is waiting until they feel pain to apply wax. It's actually best to apply the wax to your wires and brackets before they irritate your cheek tissue. Make note of any areas where you can feel the braces directly against your cheek. Then, place a big wad of wax on each of those spots. With any luck, you'll avoid the dreaded cheek rubs completely, which will make eating and talking so much easier.
Your jaw will probably be a bit sore and stiff during your first few days with braces. This is because the braces are putting pressure on your teeth, moving them within your jawbone. Taking a dose or an over-the-counter NSAID pain reliever, like ibuprofen, can take the edge off of this discomfort. Don't worry -- most of the aching will subside after the first week once your teeth have begun to shift.
Stick to soft foods.
Your orthodontist probably gave you a list of specific foods to avoid. Things like whole apples and pretzels are likely off-limits, but most foods will be considered "okay to eat." That does not mean, however, that eating foods that require a lot of chewing is the best idea during your first week with braces. If you can stick to softer foods like oatmeal, yogurt, and applesauce for the first week you have your braces on, you'll put less strain on your jaw and help minimize pain. After your pain and discomfort begin to diminish, you can start working chewier foods back into your meal plans.
Use cold drinks to your advantage.
Whenever possible during this first week, reach for an ice cold drink. And sip it slowly. The coolness will help keep any inflammation in your mouth to a minimum. You could also ice your mouth, but this tends to be a bit more cumbersome than just sipping on a cold drink.
If your pain becomes too intense, don't hesitate to contact your dentist or orthodontist. They can take a look at your braces and verify that everything is adjusted properly, ensuring that what you're feeling is normal.