How to Keep Your Child Comfortable with Braces

Parents of children should know that some adjustments may be necessary to keep their child comfortable throughout the orthodontic process. A little soreness is normal after having braces put on or adjusted, and these handy tips should help your child enjoy the rest of their treatment. 


Right after your child has gotten braces, or if they’ve just been tightened, it’s OK to have them take an over-the-counter pain medication to reduce any tenderness. Rinsing with warm salt water a few times a day should help as well. This discomfort should go away on its own after a few days. 


If you have an athletic child, then it’s extremely important that you have them wear a mouthguard specifically designed to fit over orthodontics whenever they go to play. This will not only protect their teeth, lips, and gums from an unexpected impact, but it will also preserve their appliance and ensure a small accident on the field doesn’t lead to additional months of treatment.


Does your child play a wind instrument like clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, or trombone? If they started playing before getting braces, it might take them a few days to adjust, but eventually, they won’t even think about their appliance. Applying some dental wax to particularly sensitive areas can help tremendously as well.


Ideally, your child should try to sleep on their back with braces, as lying on their side can lead to the appliance uncomfortably pressing on the back of the lips. Be sure to apply dental wax to any areas of irritation at bedtime, and be prepared to be patient. The first couple of nights might not be great, but after a few days, your child’s mouth will adapt, and they should be able to sleep like normal.


The general rule of thumb is NO HARD, STICKY, or CHEWY foods. These foods can dislodge or break parts of the child’s braces which slows down treatment and can be costly if it occurs regularly. Check out our graphic on the FAQ page for a more comprehensive breakdown of friendly and unfriendly foods for braces.