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How Braces Affect Tooth Sensitivity and How To Manage It

schwab orthodontics

Tooth sensitivity is a common occurrence, and most of us have experienced it, especially after eating or drinking something cold or hot. It occurs when the gum pulls away from the tooth, exposing the soft layer of dentin beneath. Many people are also asking the same question as you. Do braces affect tooth sensitivity?

In this post, we look at how braces affect sensitivity and how you can ease sensitivity after orthodontic treatment. But before that, let’s explore what causes tooth sensitivity.

What Causes Tooth Sensitivity?

You know that sharp pain or irritation that you sometimes get in your teeth? That’s what we call sensitivity.

Below are some culprits associated with tooth sensitivity: 

1. Cavities/ Tooth Decay/ Gum Disease

These are the common reasons for sensitivity. Bacteria causing cavities and tooth decay often causes weakening of the tooth enamel. This consecutively exposes the tooth nerves causing sensitivity to hot or cold foods and drinks.

2. Tooth Fractures

Holes or cracks in the tooth can also expose gums and nerve endings, causing sensitivity.

3. Vigorous Brushing

Forceful brushing of teeth, especially with hard-bristled toothbrushes, can gradually wear down the tooth enamel causing sensitivity.

4. Acidic Foods

Acidic foods like lemon, pineapple, and grapefruit are also known to cause sensitivity, especially when exposed nerve-endings contact the acid.

Tips to Ease Sensitivity after Orthodontic Treatment

1. Use Oral Anesthetics

Oral anesthetics like Orajel and Anbesol can relieve tooth sensitivity when rubbed on the sensitive tooth or gum. They desensitize your teeth and gums, relieving the discomfort of shifting teeth.

2. Gargle Ice-Cold Water

Coldwater is maybe the easiest and most convenient way for many people to relieve tooth sensitivity. Coldwater in your mouth helps numb the jaws to relieve pain and discomfort.

3. Eat Soft Foods

After braces are placed or after tightening, try eating soft foods like mashed potatoes and soup. This is because hard or crunchy food may cause sensitivity or get stuck between teeth, and you do not want that.

4. Take over-the-counter Pain Relievers.

Over-the-counter anti-inflammatories or pain relievers are known to effectively manage the sensitivity, especially to highly irritable people or those with a low pain threshold. You can even take them an hour before your orthodontic appointment to prevent sensitivity.

It is important to note that the medicine is not meant to be used for an extended period, so if the sensitivity or pain persists after several days, it would be best to check in with your orthodontist.

You should also consult with your orthodontist before self-medicating to know which meds work best.