When a patient begins orthodontic treatment, they often have questions about basic activities like eating, talking, and sleeping. While many people believe getting braces or Invisalign® will disrupt their everyday routines—that’s not the case! Because rest is such an important element of wellness, here are some tips on how to sleep comfortably with braces.
Sleeping after getting braces
For the first few days after getting braces, a patient might experience a small transition period when cheeks, teeth, or gums are sore. This is normal, but the discomfort should be both mild and temporary! Of course, trying to sleep with even minor soreness can be challenging. Fortunately, we have all the info you need.
Best sleeping positions
Is there a way to snooze with your braces comfortably? You might find that TYLENOL® provides you with the comfort you need, but if not, some sleep positions are generally recommended over others.
Stay on your back
The best way to remove any pressure from your mouth that may lead to nighttime discomfort is to sleep on your back. This way, you’re not sleeping against the brackets, which could create sore spots. And you’re not putting weight on one of your cheeks like you would by being on your side. If at all possible, try to stay on your back at night, and if you’re still experiencing discomfort, ask our team about potential over-the-counter solutions, like wax, OrajelTM, or a mouthguard.
How orthodontic treatment can help you sleep better
When a patient reports poor sleep, they often don’t know that we can help resolve issues like bruxism and a restricted airway to improve their rest. A very common misconception about braces and Invisalign is that they interfere with sleep. Although you may have to make temporary adjustments to your nighttime routine at first, braces actually boost sleep-related wellness in the long term.
Improving airway structures
When we see a new patient, airway structure is one of the first things we look at during the initial exam. One of the most important things that braces can do is improve your airway, which is the structure of your mouth that allows you to breathe. For example, if your teeth are misaligned or crowded, it can make breathing difficult, and therefore sleeping as well. When braces or other appliances align your teeth, they can expand the dental arch, make room for the tongue, and correct bite problems that impact breathing. Breathing comfortably is one of the most important elements of wellness, and braces can help with improving sleep problems.
Your teeth are connected to your health
Sleep is foundational to your overall health and function—and this is directly connected to your braces or Invisalign. By undergoing orthodontics, you are treating the structure of your airway, therefore improving your long-term wellness. If you are a well-rested person, you reap benefits like improved focus as well as hormone and mood regulation. However, there are also specific slumber-related problems that will only get worse if not addressed.
One problem that braces can help correct is bruxism, otherwise known as grinding. Many people choose a mouthguard if they grind and clench while sleeping. But, unlike a mouthguard that only blocks future damage, braces can help fix underlying bite problems that predispose you to bruxism in the first place. Proper bite alignment means that your teeth fit together within your jaw correctly. It can eliminate the risk of grinding or clenching. When left untreated, bruxism could lead to temporomandibular disorder (TMJ), broken teeth, headaches, and increased sensitivity in the gums.
Long-term discomfort from misalignment
Bruxism is only one example of the many ways that you could suffer from tooth misalignment. While everyday activities, like sleeping, may be impacted, having crooked teeth increases your chances of developing gum disease (periodontitis) and tooth decay (cavities). Undergoing braces or Invisalign to align your teeth will make for a future of dental wellness that is clean and comfortable.
Preventing further issues
To ensure your braces and Invisalign don’t cause you any unnecessary problems, there are some things you can do to keep your dental hygiene in tip-top shape while undergoing orthodontics!
Keeping your routine in check
Having a clean mouth is very important. The best thing you can do when you have braces or Invisalign is develop a comprehensive dental hygiene regimen and stick to it. Because you have appliances covering your teeth for most—if not all—of the time, it’s easier for bacteria to get trapped and grow in your mouth. This means your teeth won’t stay as clean as they would normally. Having a cavity or gum disease is more complicated with braces, so try to prevent these problems by consistently brushing and flossing!
Navigating minor discomfort in orthodontics
Some initial discomfort when you first get braces is very normal. Though soreness should resolve itself within a few days, we believe that every patient deserves the most pleasant experience possible, and there are some tools you can use to aid any tenderness.
Should I expect pain?
Although some people report mild discomfort during the first few days of having braces, preventative measures (i.e., soft foods, orthodontic wax, and being gentle with your mouth) can make you feel more comfortable.
Fixing common issues with brackets
The most common causes of mild pain during the adjustment period are either from aligners or braces moving teeth through gums and bone or from brackets rubbing against the inside of your mouth and cheeks. To remedy these issues, try using orthodontic wax to create a barrier between the brackets and the spot(s) they’re rubbing against. Additionally, taking an orthodontist-approved dosage of TYLENOL® may help reduce inflammation.
Staying comfortable during the transition
Fortunately, there are many tools to prevent discomfort. For the first few days after getting your appliances, try to stick to a diet of cool, soft foods. Your teeth, gums, and cheeks may be inflamed, which means chewing harder foods could be slightly painful. Cold foods also have numbing properties to ease inflammation and soreness. Be patient—before long, you won’t even notice your braces!
For more information on treatment or to schedule an appointment, please call Hutta & Price Orthodontics at 614-855-8800!