Traditional and invisible braces can both be uncomfortable and painful, especially in the first few months of wear, and after they are tightened or your child switch's to a new set of trays. You can always offer over the counter pain relievers, however many parents wish to try alternative or natural pain relief methods.
Many of these tips are similar to what parents can do to alleviate teething pain. They may not completely alleviate your child's braces pain, but can make it more manageable.
- Suck on ice or frozen treats. Ice cubes are a simple solution for immediate pain relief. Frozen popsicles help quickly numb the gums and sore areas in the mouth. Just be sure to offer your child sugar-free treats to avoid cavities and understand that because the pain relief is temporary, a couple of frozen treats in a row is fine.
- Chew on frozen wash clothes. Often given to teething babies, frozen wash clothes can be chewed or sucked on to relieve pain. Keep a stash of these in freezer bags for easy access.
- Eat soft foods and avoid hard-to-chew or sticky foods. Soft foods, such as yogurt or eggs are easier to chew and require less jaw movement when your child is in severe pain. Sticky foods are never a good idea for braces wearers.
- Use orthodontist wax with traditional braces. Your child's dentist will provide orthodontist or dental wax to apply to wires that may scratch the inner part of your child's mouth. The wax helps reduce the friction between the appliance, teeth, and gums.
- Use a hydrogen peroxide rinse. Hydrogen peroxide is an antiseptic and can reduce inflammation. Combine one part water with one part 3% hydrogen peroxide and rinse for one minute. Because this mixture isn't palatable and shouldn't be swallowed, it should only be used with older children.
- Gargle with warm salt water or an oral saline rinse. Salt water helps heal sores, cuts, and ulcerations, so have your child rinse with salt water after their next adjustment.
- Apply a heating pad or warm wash cloth to the jaw. Heat can relieve pain and may work well when alternated with cold.
- Wear an amber beaded necklace. When warmed by body heat, amber allegedly releases "tiny amounts of succinic acid which passes trans-dermally into the blood stream and acts as an analgesic." The benefits of wearing amber as a pain reliever aren't proven, however it won't hurt to allow an older child to sport an amber necklace. At the very least, wearing the necklace may have positive psychological pain relief effects.
- Massage the gums. Use a finger to massage the gums around the braces. You can try rubbing the gums with an ice cube first to help reduce the swelling.
- Use wintergreen or peppermint essential oils. Peppermint is a natural antiseptic and the inhalation of peppermint oil vapor can provide pain relief.
- Take natural pain relievers. Ginger, turmeric, or holy basil have anti-inflammatory properties and should be used only after discussing with your child's doctor to ensure they won't interact with any other medications your child is taking.
There are several other natural pain relievers, such as acupuncture, that are worth exploring, and remember, the pain is usually temporary. If your child is in extreme pain, discuss options for pain relief with your child's dentist.
To learn more, contact an orthodontist clinic like Wright Center For Orthodontics.