Our Strategies for Treating Orthodontic Pain

Orthodontic Anchorage

When the time comes to start orthodontic treatment, it’s normal to be a little nervous. The process is very routine, and the outcomes can improve your appearance and oral health. There are a lot of underlying reasons to receive orthodontic care. Your jaw may be out of position, causing problems with your bite. You may have teeth that are out of alignment, which can cause a range of problems. Regardless of what you’re receiving, orthodontic treatment for an improved aesthetic appeal is a likely outcome. Some patients report experiencing some degree of discomfort after treatment.

Understanding Orthodontic Discomfort Following Treatment

While discomfort does occur after orthodontic treatment, it’s generally mild and often passes within 14 days of the procedure. This discomfort doesn’t always follow treatment, and some patients report it to be more severe than others. For those who do experience pain following their orthodontic care, it’s usually treatable using over-the-counter medications. Some of the most common medications used to manage the pain that occurs in some patients include:

  • NSAIDs – Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs are frequently used to manage pain involving inflammation or swelling. Orthodontic treatment may produce this kind of condition due to irritation of the gums and cheek tissue. Ibuprofen, Motrin, Aleve, and naproxen sodium are commonly found on pharmacy shelves without the need for a prescription.
  • Analgesics – Analgesics help dull the body’s ability to perceive pain, masking its presence. This medication is often used alongside NSAIDs as it works synergistically with them to help produce the most effective pain relief.
  • Cold Therapy – Cold can help reduce inflammation and swelling and numb the perception of pain. Some patients find relief from eating or drinking cold foods like ice cream. Sucking on ice is another approach that may bring some relief. Others use ice packs to help provide direct relief. Cold therapy should be used carefully and only be applied for up to 15 minutes at a time before allowing the area to warm again.
  • Targeted Nutritional Guidance – This is a fancy way of saying watch what you eat. However, the concern here isn’t for calories or fat but the textures of the food. Food that is exceptionally sticky, chewy, or crunchy may stress your orthodontic appliance. Monitoring what you choose to eat throughout your treatment is an important part of preventing orthodontic pain and damage to the appliance.

Following the placement of the orthodontic appliance, you should consult your dentist anytime you feel dental pain. In the majority of cases, this discomfort is going to be easily managed and not be a cause for concern. 

What To Do When Pain Persists Beyond Two Weeks

However, if it persists over a long period, it could be indicative of underlying issues. Ongoing communication with your dentist is the best way to protect against lasting harm. Your dentist will need to inspect your appliances to make sure they fit correctly. They’ll also need to check your progress to ensure everything is moving as it should. Finally, they’ll check for the presence of new decay or infection and take appropriate steps to control it.

Alireza Movassaghi, D.D.S and Other Dentist Torrance Dental Associates is proud to be the home of Dr. Alireza Movassaghi, a USC School of Dentistry Graduate with 30 years of experience. His mission is to expand access to dental care throughout the Los Angeles area. When not engaged in providing expert dental care for his patients, he's taking in the latest soccer game and enjoying fine cars.
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