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Sensitive Teeth & Braces

By November 15, 2011June 14th, 2016Orthodontics

Sensitive teeth are a common occurrence. We have all seen the numerous commercials about competing sensitivity reducing toothpastes. On a general level, many people deal with a level of sensitivity with their teeth. However, at Aura Orthodontics we realize that some of our patients face extra sensitivity. The following blog post discusses the various types of sensitivity and provides some helpful suggestions for how to care for sensitive teeth.

What’s the cause?

Before we offer any suggestions, it is important to know the cause. Tooth sensitivity can come from just about anywhere—sweet or sour foods, hot or cold temperatures, exposed root surfaces, and deep cavities or fillings. At Aura Orthodontics, our focus is helping patients that experience sensitivity due to biting and grinding teeth during their sleep. For some, even the simple act of biting down causes problems. What results is pain that ranges from mild to severe and at times is very sharp, almost like shooting pain directly to nerve endings. Overall, this is caused by nerve endings becoming easily exposed, which causes a lower tolerance for varying foods.

The most common cause of the sensitivity is due to over brushing. How can brushing cause tooth sensitivity? It is quite simple – if you brush your teeth extremely hard with tough bristles, you can expect to brush away your gum line. As your gum line recedes, it exposes porous root surfaces, which may cause some of your teeth to become extremely sensitive. The discomfort a patient experiences from braces is due to pressure that is placed on your teeth via the braces. This level of discomfort to your teeth and gums varies depends on each individual patient, and is different from other types of tooth sensitivity because it is not permanent and will only last a few days. At Aura Orthodontics, we make sure to educate our patients to help them reduce this pressure sensitivity resulting in a more pleasant treatment experience.

At times, when traditional braces are removed, patients will notice white spots on their teeth that are actually areas of decalcification. This often happens when patients were not as careful about brushing their teeth while they were wearing braces. If people with braces do not brush their teeth immediately after eating, the food can sit under those brackets for hours. This food acts as fuel for the acid-producing bacteria eventually leading to cavities. Sensitivity ensues and the damage only becomes fully evident when the braces come off. In some cases, there may be white spots, which indicate loss of minerals in the teeth, and those white spots are porous and become very sensitive.

What helps?

First and foremost your daily routine is critical. No matter the origin of your sensitivity, a good dental health routine is your best bet to enjoying a pain-free day – everyday.

Being vigilant about proper brushing and flossing helps prevent tarter buildup and the risk of exposing nerves. Using a soft bristled toothbrush when brushing causes less abrasion and reduces the potential of gum recession. There are also several brands of toothpaste, which decrease nerve sensitivity after regular use. Check out your toothpaste aisle wherever you purchase toothpaste and try a brand (Sensodyne ® and Colgate Sensitive Pro-Relief ® can be helpful). The key is to use it for at least two weeks – as this is when you may notice a decrease in tooth sensitivity.

For braces wearers, the actual placing of braces or a change in care is one of the largest causes for discomfort. These problems, though initially uncomfortable at times, usually stop as your mouth becomes accustomed to the new routine. Rinsing your mouth with salt water is one of the commonly advised tips for people experiencing discomfort from braces. Taking over-the-counter pain medications can sometimes work until the pain subsides. At Aura Orthodontics, we usually recommend Tylenol® over Advil® for our new patients with braces. Remember, it always best to check with Dr. Sharma before taking any medication. However, if you notice extreme sensitivity it is best to discuss with Dr. Sharma, who can recommend alternative solutions, like Invisalign braces, which are a great alternative to traditional wire and bracket braces.

To help prevent unnecessary discomfort, avoid hard, crunchy, or sticky foods. Things like nuts, taffy, gum or biting into an apple not only causes pain, they are often responsible for dislodging brackets and other orthodontic care. It is even recommended to try to eat softer foods. Hot foods may worsen your pain, so try ice creams or smoothies to reduce discomfort. Always consult Dr. Sharma before you actually decide to have a diet for an extended period of time.

Here’s a recap of recommendations from Dr. Sharma and Aura Orthodontics:

  • Be vigilant about proper brushing and flossing
  • Using a soft bristled toothbrush when brushing causing less abrasion and reducing the potential of gum recession
  • Use a toothpaste specific for sensitive teeth like Sensodyne ® and Colgate Sensitive Pro-Relief ®
  • Rinsing your mouth with salt water if you experience discomfort from braces
  • If pain persists taking over-the-counter pain medications like Tylenol® until the pain subsides
  • If you experience extreme sensitive discuss your situation with Dr. Sharma who will recommend alternative solutions
  • Avoid hard, crunchy, or sticky foods
  • Try to eat softer foods and cold foods like ice creams or smoothies to reduce discomfort
  • Always consult Dr. Sharma before choose a specific diet because of your braces for an extended period of time

Braces are mainly meant for aligning your teeth. At times, the discomfort from braces may seem like too much. Always remember that new technology has made treatment much more comfortable for all patients. More importantly, any discomfort you feel will only last a couple days. The good news is that a straighter more beautiful smile is on the way.

Join the discussion 11 Comments

  • Naiana says:

    Stick to liquidy food like soup (not chukny) yogurt, apple sauce, baby food, and you can get creative and put ur veggies and fruit through a food processor and make smoothies to get the right nutrition for now, stay away from food that’ll get in between ur teeth and braces cause it’s really painful to try and get it out when ur teeth are still sensitive, gradually u should attempt solid foods because that will help ur gums and nerves adjust to the shift quicker.References : braces for years, =(

  • Tyler agent says:

    Thanks for the post, and I remember when I got my braces for the first time. And my orthodontist told me that I would feel a little discomfort the next couple of day. A little discomfort was no where near the extensive amount of pain that my mouth was experiencing. And it’s hard to explain the pain, but hey on the bright side of things I was able to have all of the slurpees that I wanted.

  • Anmoljot says:

    Hi i got braces today 2 hours ago (oh i was gonna get them from aura ortho but i got them from pacific west but they didnt tell me much) so is it okay to have a slurpee cause they pulled and pushed ur teeth that r really bad so get a slurpee because it is cold then brush afterwards my mouth is really sensitive

  • Haley says:

    I got braces about 10 hours ago, since then the pain has become unbearable! I can’t sleep, eat, or even close my mouth. Speaking is an issue because if I hit my teeth, very strong pain shoots through my mouth. It’s feeling worse and worse and no one knows what to do. I used paunkillers and even tried doubling my dosage but nothing is helping. What can I do for my mouth and how long will this last? Because to me this doesn’t seem like normal pain.

  • Emily says:

    I recently got a few of my braces re-aligned after 6 months of having braces. Well, my front tooth is now SUPER sensitive to cold liquids. I get a sharp pain just on that tooth. It’s been 3 days. Is this normal and will it go away?

  • Craig McKinney says:

    It’s currently 2:34Am and I got my braces yesterday morning, I slept all day because I was hungry but couldn’t eat now I can’t get to sleep and my teeth are hurting, I can feel the brace pulling my teeth and I hate it? It’s been a day and I know it’s quick but I’m seriously contemplating asking my dad to take me back and get them off, is there any ways of getting to sleep?

    • It is very common to experience this sensation during the first few days of braces. As with all patients who have braces, it is important to remember why you had them placed on in the first place. Getting through the first few days is the toughest but the most rewarding. For immediate relief I usually recommend Advil or Tylenol. It is important to take only those medications to which you have no allergies. I would recommend consulting your local orthodontist or dentist for more information. Good luck!

  • Muskaan says:

    I got braces two weeks ago. The first few days were quite tough, but I managed to get through alright. Since Friday the week after I got my braces on, I suddenly began to experience intense cold sensitivity in my right canine. It has been difficult for me to talk or smile outdoors (as I live in Britain where it is very cold at the moment), which is becoming extremely inconvenient. I called my orthodontist who said to book an appointment with the dentist to make sure nothing too serious was happening. I called my dentist who said they wouldn’t be able to do anything about it because the pain is being caused by the braces, so only the orthodontist would be able to do something. Really not sure about what to do now. Painkillers wont relieve the pain. I have been using Sensodyne toothpaste and mouthwash, and that has reduced the pain when I am indoors at least. What suddenly caused my tooth to become so sensitive, is it that the particular tooth has moved, exposing a nerve? Will the pain go away? Is there anything else I can do to relieve the pain?

  • Arielle says:

    I got braces 3 days ago and since then two of my back teeth are killing me. Hurts to bite down and everything, is this normal? I’m starting to wonder if I need to go get it checked out?

  • Sandra Sami says:

    I got braces 2weeks ago but for some reason my 16 hurts so much when I Bite on it only! All my other teeth are fine and the pain went away from the pressure but my 16 is really bad once I bite on it and also once I release the bite. Do you think the root is hurt in any way?

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