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Tips to Make Wearing Braces More Comfortable

One of the most common questions people have about braces is “Do they hurt?” Even though the installation process itself is painless, it is normal to feel mild soreness or discomfort for a few days or even a week after. This can also happen after each orthodontic appointment, when the wires, bands, and other appliances are adjusted as part of the treatment process. Most patients experience some discomfort for at least a few days after adjustment, but there is nothing to worry about. We have come up with a list of great tips for how to deal with any soreness and make wearing braces more comfortable:

How to Make Braces More Comfortable

  1. Check Before Leaving the Our Office

    One of the easiest ways to make sure your braces are comfortable is to check before leaving the ortho office. After the orthodontist is done, make sure to go through this checklist:

    • Check for any wire ends that are too long and may poke into cheeks, gums, or your tongue
    • Check for brackets that may have a rough edge and cause discomfort or cuts
    • Make sure you have plenty of orthodontic wax, elastic bands, or other materials you need so that you don’t run out before your next appointment
  2. Eat Soft or Cold Food

    When you first get your braces put on, or after they get adjusted, it’s common for your teeth and gums to feel a little sore. Soft or liquid foods are great when your teeth are sore, and cold foods can help numb the sensation slightly and help with inflammation. Soups, stews, mashed potatoes are good choices while smoothies, yogurt, and ice cream are even better when you feel sore. You can even try drinking a glass of ice water (just don’t chew the ice!) Always make sure to eat braces-friendly food to make sure you don’t cause more discomfort or even damage your braces.

  3. Use Lots of Orthodontic Wax

    Orthodontic wax (also called dental wax) works great for brackets that are rubbing against the inside of your lips and wires that are poking in the back of your mouth. Just break off a pea-sized piece and rub it between your fingers to soften it up. Stick it to whatever part of the braces that is bothering you and check that you have the area covered. Just remember to remove the wax before you brush your teeth.

  4. Rinse with Saltwater

    If you have a sore in your mouth that is causing a lot of discomfort, try mixing half a teaspoon of salt into an 8oz glass of warm water and rinse the area for about 30 seconds.

  5. Using Pain Relievers

    Over-the-counter pain relief products can help with soreness and inflammation.

  6. Always Practice Good Oral Hygiene!

    Braces create more crevices and areas where food can get trapped, giving bacteria places to accumulate. This can lead to plaque buildup, tooth decay, and gum disease. Be sure to brush and floss thoroughly at least 2x a day to prevent any cavities or other issues. Interproximal brushes are great for those hard-to-reach places in between brackets and wires, and floss threaders or floss picks are great for flossing with braces.


At Carlson Orthodontics, our passion is creating a healthy, beautiful smile for our patients. That’s why we celebrate with every patient when their smile transformation is complete! We understand the power a great smile has on a person’s life and those around them, and since 2003 we have helped hundreds of patients change their lives one smile at a time. Contact us online for a free initial consultation, or call us at the closest location near you today and let us help create a smile you can celebrate.
  • Duluth Office: 1901 South Street, Suite 2 – Duluth, MN(218) 727-3789
  • Cloquet Office: 708 Stanley Avenue – Cloquet, MN(218) 879-3794
  • Superior Office: 3701 Tower Avenue – Superior, WI(715) 392-0229
  • Hayward Office: 10541 N. Ranch Road – Hayward, WI(715) 292-5148
  • Ashland Office: 1419 Beaser Avenue – Ashland, WI(715) 682-5958
  • Ironwood Office: 250 Roosevelt Street – Ironwood, MI(906) 932-9720