Orthodontic Braces and Jaw Pain: A Guide to Managing Discomfort
Braces are a common orthodontic practice used to correct misalignment in teeth. While effective, there’s also the potential for braces to cause discomfort and jaw pain. In this article, we will discuss what you need to know about orthodontic braces and jaw pain, its symptoms, how to manage it and prevent it from occurring.
Understanding Orthodontic Braces
Orthodontic braces use brackets that are attached to your teeth and connected with an archwire that applies pressure on your jaw joints. This helps move your teeth into their desired position over time but can cause pain or discomfort during the process. Depending on the type of braces you have, this process could take anywhere from one to two years.
Causes of Jaw Pain with Orthodontic Braces
When your braces are first applied, your teeth will be repositioned and tightness in the jaw area occurs as a result. This can cause pain or discomfort that can last for several days until your mouth adjusts to the new position. Other causes of jaw pain include an improper fitting set of braces, trauma or overuse of certain muscles in the jaw area due to talking or chewing.
Symptoms of Orthodontic Braces-related Jaw Pain
Orthodontic braces related jaw pain typically comes on gradually and worsens if left untreated. Symptoms may include tenderness in the jaw area, difficulty opening and closing your mouth, headaches, earaches, and a clicking sound when chewing.
When to Seek Medical Attention
If jaw pain persists or worsens over time while wearing orthodontic braces, you should seek medical attention. A doctor can help determine the cause of the pain and recommend treatments options such as adjusting your braces or taking medication to relieve the symptoms.
Managing and Alleviating Jaw Pain from Braces
There are several ways to manage and alleviate jaw pain caused by braces. These include avoiding hard or chewy foods that require a lot of chewing, using wax on the brackets to reduce friction in your mouth, taking ibuprofen for mild pain relief, doing gentle jaw exercises to increase mobility, applying cold compresses, and eating soft foods.
Tips for Preventing Jaw Pain with Braces
To prevent jaw pain while wearing orthodontic braces, it is important to follow all instructions given by your orthodontist, such as which type of food to avoid or how often to wear elastics. Additionally, you should practice good oral hygiene habits by brushing and flossing regularly. Lastly, make sure to attend regular check-ups with your orthodontist in order to monitor progress and make any necessary adjustments if needed.
Orthodontic braces can cause jaw pain that can be managed or alleviated through proper care. Following the instructions of your orthodontist and practicing good oral hygiene habits can help prevent jaw pain from developing. However, if the pain persists or worsens over time, it is important to seek medical attention.