Malocclusion, or misalignment of the teeth or jaw, can lead to several issues. These include chipped or cracked teeth, more plaque buildup, and problems eating and speaking. There are two treatments for this condition: aligners and braces. Both may cause discomfort, but correcting the malocclusion is well worth it.
Still, both teeth straightening treatments can differ in the discomfort they may cause, and there are some ways to reduce that discomfort so you can live life normally. This article will discuss the differences in discomfort between aligners and braces before diving into what to do if you experience pain.
Aligners vs. braces
Braces exert pressure on the teeth to move them into place. Each time they’re tightened, that pressure increases slightly. As a result, patients with braces may experience some toothaches and pains the first few days after each adjustment. Additionally, braces may rub against the lips and inner cheeks on occasion. They can also make speaking slightly more difficult.
Aligners often cause less discomfort in terms of tooth pain. But keep in mind that they may cut into the gums if too long and require some trimming.
What to do if you experience discomfort
Here are a few ways to deal with the discomfort caused by teeth-straightening treatments:
1. Drink cold or salty water
A temporary solution to the discomfort is to drink cold water. This can numb the discomfort for a little bit, and you can do this without removing your aligners. Additionally, cut down on sugary and acidic drinks, which can cause harm to your teeth. As for mouth sores caused by these treatments, salt water can help reduce the discomfort from these.
2. Take OTC painkillers
Over-the-counter pain killers like aspirin or ibuprofen can help reduce pain and discomfort. As with any medication, follow all instructions on the label and consider speaking with your provider first if necessary.
3. Use a topical painkiller
A topical painkiller is a product that you apply to the area in your mouth to block nerve signals, numbing the pain. Whether you have braces or aligners, topical painkillers can relieve pain temporarily by numbing the area. If you have aligners, remove the device before application.
4. Visit your provider
If the pain is overwhelming and doesn’t go away, consider scheduling an appointment with your provider. They may make adjustments to your devices to keep you on track while reducing pain and discomfort.
Minimize tooth pain during your treatment
Moving your teeth into the correct position may cause some discomfort, but preventing the serious dental issues caused by malocclusion can be well worth it. Fortunately, there are ways to minimize this pain. For one, clear aligners tend to be more comfortable than braces for both the teeth and other surfaces inside the mouth. Regardless of the device, you can drink cold water for tooth pain and salt water for sores in your mouth. OTC painkillers and topical painkillers may also help to deal with pain.
If no at-home solutions work, consider visiting your provider. They’ll ensure the devices fit correctly and recommend other things you can do to minimize pain.