Getting braces can feel like a bit of a blessing and a curse. You'll finally get to have straight, beautiful teeth, but in the meantime, you'll have to deal with some jaw aches. Braces can be especially painful in the first few days after you have your braces tightened. The same can be said of invisible braces when you switch to a new aligner. Luckily, most jaw aches due to braces can be managed with these simple tips.
Hold an ice pack against the outside of your jaw where it hurts the most. If the ice pack is too hard or stiff, use a bag of frozen veggies. The ice will help relieve any inflammation in the soft tissues around your jaw, which should help stop the pain and any throbbing aches you're experiencing.
Rinsing with salt may sound strange if the aches are deep within your jaw. However, the salt can help draw extra fluid out of your mouth, relieving some of the pressure on the muscles and ligaments that are aching. Just stir a teaspoon of salt into a cup of warm water, and swish away.
When your jaw is aching, try not to work it too hard. Stick to soft foods for two or three days after you have your braces tightened to give your jaw muscles a break and allow them to adjust to the pressure being placed on them by the braces. You don't have to follow an all-liquid diet, but foods that require minimal chewing, like mashed potatoes, yogurt, and fish, are all good choices.
There's nothing wrong with taking a dose of ibuprofen or naproxen when your jaw aches are especially bothersome. Just take the medication according to the instructions on the bottle, as taking too much can cause serious stomach and intestinal issues. Make sure the medication you're taking is classified as an NSAID, as this means it reduces inflammation and pain. Non-NSAID pain relievers, like acetaminophen, won't be quite as effective in this case.
Stress can make your jaw aches worse in the days after your braces are tightened. If you're able to relax and alleviate your stress, your jaw will relax and the pain won't seem so intense. So, try sipping on some chamomile tea throughout the day. It will lower your level of stress and thereby ease your jaw aches.
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