Let’s get straight to the heart of things and state outright that orthodontic appliances rarely cause pain. Parents often worry about the level of pain their children will have to deal with when getting orthodontic appliances. There are numerous stories built from rumors about children who have experienced intense pain or injury to the gums, lips and mouth area. These types of injuries are very rare, and the side effects of a misaligned bite are far worse than any potential injury your child could sustain.
The Initial Couple Days
While the look of wires and brackets may look like something daunting, the placement of the initial braces is painless. A common myth about appliances is that they are drilled into the teeth, which would understandable cause pain. Screws are not used to put braces in place, and they do not penetrate the gums in any way.
Some minor soreness is to be expected as the mouth and jaw adjust to the pressure created by the process of realigning your child’s teeth. However, this soreness typically goes away in a few days and it doesn’t cause serious discomfort. Symptoms of pain typically dissipate entirely by the end of the first week.
The most common issue associated with orthodontic appliances is irritation. This happens when the mouth rubs against the appliance. A special wax can be used to reduce the irritation, and it can help eliminate the pain altogether in most cases. The wax is placed on the outside of the appliance. Eventually, the mouth will get used to the appliance and irritation will be less of an issue.
Specific portions of the appliance can be fitted with a piece of wax that is specially molded for the section causing the irritation. The wax is easily applied by all but the youngest of patients. With younger children, parents can apply the wax to the appliances to help relieve discomfort.
The mouth simply needs some time to adjust to any appliance that is placed by your orthodontist. Most people forget they are wearing the appliance after a short period of adjustment. Problems associated with eating and talking will also go away after the child becomes used to the appliance.
While pain is typically non-existent or very low, everybody has a different tolerance for pain. Over-the-counter medications can be used to treat the pain. Acetaminophen or ibuprofen are typically all that is needed to relieve pain. Stronger pain medications shouldn’t be required to treat the symptoms. There is also a very low chance of the need to apply topical anesthetics.
One highly effective method of treating pain is by using chewing gum. Chewing gum doesn’t interfere with most appliances, and you can use it to increase the flow of blood around the mouth. Of course, you should go over any questions or concerns with your orthodontist. Depending on the type of appliance, you’ll have to avoid certain foods. Gum chewing may reduce soreness on the gums, and it offers a good alternative to medications. This should come as a relief to parents who want to keep their child free of medications as much as possible.
Using Invisalign Instead of Braces
There are a variety of options available now for people who need to correct their alignment. Invisalign generally requires less time for treatment with most people needing anywhere from two months to two years. Other remedies can take six months to two years. They also are removable, invisible and cause less pain. There is also less plaque buildup, and they can be individually customized. However, traditional alignment methods can create straighter teeth right away in some more severe cases. Of course, they are also harder to keep clean, and there may leave stains or spots at the end of the treatment cycle. There are positives and negatives to both options, so it’s important to discuss the choice with your orthodontist.
The Process of Getting Adjustments
Alignments are required on a regular basis, and these adjustments can cause some discomfort during the first few days. The discomfort is usually short-lived, and it’s generally not as bad as the initial setting. During any adjustment period, the same remedies can be applied to reduce pain. During the adjustments, you’ll also likely get some additional wax to help keep your mouth free of irritation.
Rare Injuries and Damage
The majority of injuries are caused by a blow to the mouth that messes up the alignment of the appliance. Improper home care can also create issues. If there is ever an accident, it’s important to seek an appointment as soon as possible. Sports or recreation activities may cause the wires and brackets to lacerate the gums. This could cause bleeding and pain, but most accidents are fairly easily remedied.
Over time, if the appliance isn’t cared for properly, wires may begin to protrude. This can cause serious irritation on the inside of the mouth. These issues can usually be remedied by a quick visit to the preferred practice. Most injuries are just a minor inconvenience that won’t set back the treatment’s timeline.
Schedule an Appointment with Tisseront Orthodontics
At Tisseront Orthodontics in Reston, Va., you can receive a free consultation with Dr. Stephan Tisseront to learn more about your orthodontic options. Our orthodontist takes care of children, teenagers and adults at our top-of-the-line office, and he offers these treatments:
• Lingual braces – worn on the backs of teeth
• Invisalign – aligners for teenagers or adults
• Ceramic orthodontia – made with clear wires and color-matching brackets
It is also possible to reduce your orthodontic treatment time by using a small device from AcceleDent Aura that helps to accelerate the movement of your teeth into the correct positions.
Call us today at 703-773-1200 to schedule an examination with Dr. Tisseront in our state-of-the-art orthodontic facility.
11720 Plaza America Drive, Ste. 110 Reston VA 20190-4762