Teenagers who get braces generally get the traditional metal type that sit on the outside surfaces of the teeth. As an adult, though, you have more options when it comes to orthodontia. One way that adults often choose to have their teeth straightened is to get lingual braces. These are the same thing as the traditional "metal mouth" braces young teens wear, but they are attached to the back surfaces of your teeth. When you smile, no one will be the wiser that you have braces at all! Unfortunately, lingual braces get a bad rap for being more uncomfortable than braces applied to the front surfaces of the teeth. Here are some ways you can reduce your discomfort while you get used to your lingual braces.
Use OTC Medications
Part of the discomfort you'll feel is similar to what kids feel when they have braces put on. Having brackets installed is fairly painless, but once they start moving your teeth, that can be very uncomfortable. Since your teeth have been in place for at least a decade (or decades, depending on how old you are), it would make sense that you might have a bit more pain than a child whose teeth have been in place only for a couple of years.
Using over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen or acetaminophen can reduce your discomfort. If you can take these safely, take them as needed for the first couple of weeks after getting your braces on, as well as for a couple of days after each adjustment.
Baby Your Tender Tongue
Lingual braces are applied to the inside surfaces of your teeth. This means that your tongue will be touching them just about all of the time. While this might not seem like a problem, at first, your tongue will likely react by becoming painful and possibly ulcerated as it adjusts to the metal intruders that you call "braces." Until your tongue hurts, you might not realize how much you depend on it. Thus, your sore tongue can really make you quite miserable.
Time will take care of the problem, but in the meantime, you will need to limit yourself to only soft, cool foods. Chilled pudding, yogurt, applesauce, cottage cheese and soft or canned fruit will be soothing to a sore tongue. You can also ask your dentist for a prescription mouthwash that will ease your pain. These mouthwashes contain lidocaine or other local anesthetics to help calm down those irritated nerve endings.
Treat Canker Sores
When your tongue gets irritated, you're likely to develop canker sores, also called aphthous ulcers. While people who get traditional braces might get canker sores on the inner surfaces of their lips and cheeks, those wearing lingual braces tend to get them on and under the tongue. These can be exquisitely painful! The good news is that they will generally go away on their own, but you can suffer quite a bit in the meantime.
You can buy over-the-counter medication to numb canker sores, and they do help. You can also try swishing with cold whole milk; it tends to coat the surfaces of the mouth and can lessen canker sore pain. There are a lot of home remedies that you can try, too, but it's always best to consult with your doctor or dentist before putting non-food items in your mouth.
The good thing about lingual braces is that once you get over the initial discomfort and get used to them, you'll be able to enjoy straighter teeth without the world knowing that you have braces. If you are having a lot of pain with your braces, call your dentist or orthodontist for help; chances are good that he or she will have some excellent suggestions for you to try. For more information on braces for adults, go to websites like http://www.dentistryoffayetteville.com.