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If your dental braces are causing discomfort, here are some helpful tips

When you get dental braces fitted, it’s not uncommon to feel a little discomfort. In this post I offer some tips on managing pain you may feel when having braces fitted or adjusted. If you find this useful, please share.

Be prepared

Like a good Boy or Girl Scout, be prepared. Before you visit the clinic, take pain relief, like Panadol. It is much more effective when taken before the pain starts, rather than after. It also pays to have eaten a decent meal. This is because you will probably feel a bit ‘weird’once your braces are fitted (it can take a little while to get used to all the bumps in your mouth), and you might not feel like eating.

What can you eat?

For about three days after having braces fitted, most people feel a little sore. So, pre-plan the meals you would like to eat during this time. I suggest you stick to soft food, like scrambled eggs, but there are plenty of tasty choices available. For recipe ideas, check out our Facebook and Pinterest pages. Depending on your treatment, you could be wearing braces for between six months and two years. During this time it pays to be careful about what you eat. As a rule, don’t eat anything you can’t crush between your finger and thumb. You should also avoid chewy or sticky foods, sticky or crunchy foods, like toffee or muesli bars or biting straight into a raw carrot or crunching on popcorn. Fruit, like apples, is okay — just cut it into small pieces first.

Children with braces

If your child is getting braces, and they are particularly active, during those first few days, feed them a protein shake before school. This way you can be certain they’re getting all their energy requirements for the day, even if they don’t eat as much as usual. They’ll be much happier: active kids burning through calories but not eating much can get a bit ‘tetchy,’ to say the least.

Protecting your mouth

Braces can sometimes irritate the inside of your cheek. So, we provide a little container containing braces wax. If it’s a bracket that’s causing the problem, use the wax to create a little pad on the bracket. Or, if a piece of wire is the culprit, put a long ‘sausage’of wax over the bracket. At Turner Lim, you needn’t come to the clinic if you run out of wax. Just phone up and we’ll put some in the mail. While you’re waiting for new wax to arrive, silicon earplugs are an excellent alternative — you can even use chewing gum, though it’s not ideal.

Got a pencil?

A pencil with an eraser on the end can also be useful for pushing back a distorted wire, and there is no risk of hurting your finger.

More tips for pain relief

For patients with particularly sensitive mouths, I often recommend taking Nurofen as well as Panadol. Also, some types of braces, like SureSmile, use heat activated wires. These wires are in their working form at room temperature. If you ‘chill them down’ by eating or drinking something cold, they go into a soft, bendy state. You’ll notice less pressure when this happens.

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