Braces work by applying consistent pressure to your teeth to gradually move them into healthier positions, which can have a lasting impact on the health of your teeth, gums, and bite. Rubber bands can help braces do their job more effectively. However, making such a significant change requires a bit of discomfort, which can be worse for some patients than for others.
Thankfully, there are things you can do to treat the pain caused by your rubber bands and braces. Continue reading for some practical tips on how to get through the discomfort to a healthier smile on the other side.
Want to find out if you or your child needs braces? Visit Reese Orthodontics in Charleston, SC for leading orthodontic care.
How Do Rubber Bands Work?
Rubber bands apply additional pressure to your braces, which can speed up your treatment to meet the schedule set by your orthodontist. While some patients will be fine with the pressure provided by the archwire, others can benefit from having rubber bands.
These bands naturally feel uncomfortable for a few days. Some patients describe the added pressure as a “headache” in their teeth. The bands can also chaff against your lips, especially before your skin gets used to it.
While some discomfort is normal, remember that no part of your braces should be causing stinging, shooting, or lasting pain. If it is, you should contact your orthodontist and schedule a visit so they can make sure your braces aren’t broken.
Steps to Treat Rubber Band Pain
If you know your braces aren’t broken but still feel discomfort from the rubber bands, you can follow these steps to try and relieve the pain.
#1 Use orthodontic wax
Ask your provider for orthodontic wax, a substance that you can coat your braces with to create a barrier between the rubber bands and your lips. This can be especially helpful for instrument players who wear braces.
#2 Try OTC Medications
To treat discomfort, inflammation, and pain, you can try using OTC pain relievers. Just remember that these medications have side effects when used in the long term, so you shouldn’t rely on them to mask discomfort that can be treated in other ways.
#3 Apply ice
Wrap some ice in a cloth or buy an ice pack to reduce inflammation and discomfort in your lips and cheeks.
#4 Use a saltwater rinse
A warm (not hot) rinse of about a cup of water and ½ teaspoon of salt could help reduce discomfort from rubber bands by lowering inflammation. This rinse can also help fight oral infections, which could be useful if your braces have caused any cuts or sores in your mouth.
#5 Change your diet
The food you eat can inflame or improve the discomfort you experience from your rubber bands. Crunchy, stringy, chewy, and hard food can make the pain worse, while soft foods can make it better. You should be following your orthodontist’s dietary instructions anyway, but a braces-friendly diet can also help with the pain.
#6 Improve your dental health
Maintaining healthy oral hygiene can help with discomfort caused by your rubber bands. Excess food particles and plaque, cavities, and other obstructions can make everything in your mouth more sensitive and uncomfortable. Remember to continue to brush twice a day, floss once, and regularly use mouthwash while you have braces.
#7 Chew more
Chewing is a healthy workout for your jaws and teeth that can improve blood flow, which can help reduce inflammation and pain. Use soft, chewable foods like eggs, soft bread, noodles, etc. to give your mouth a gentle massage.
#8 Talk to your orthodontist
If you still experience regular discomfort after trying some of these easy fixes, speak with your orthodontist about possible changes you can make to alleviate it. While you may have to get used to some pain, especially if you have sensitive gums, braces and rubber bands should not be painful outside of the initial adjustment period.
Choose Reese Orthodontics
If you’re an adult who is considering braces, you need professional advice on your treatment and payment options. For orthodontic treatments in Charleston, SC, Reese Orthodontics offers the latest technology and treatment plans. Our advanced and comfortable orthodontic treatments can be customized to suit your needs. A consultation with Reese Orthodontics includes scans, a comprehensive exam, and a conversation with the orthodontist to discover which treatment options are right for you.
Schedule an appointment with us today to stay ahead of your oral health and receive the best possible treatment in your area.