Are you or your child new to braces, and you’re learning the ropes? Maybe you’ve filled your fridge with some braces-friendly snacks and took a temporary hiatus from the not-so-friendly snacks. You have orthodontic wax on hand, just in case, and you even have some specialized floss threaders to help you floss under your braces. 

Sounds like you’re prepared! Is there anything else you need to consider? Do you have to switch up your sleep routine to adapt to your treatment? 

Here’s what you need to know about sleeping with braces: top 5 tips!

How to Sleep with Braces: Top 5 Tips

Your sleeping habits won’t require any drastic changes throughout your treatment. Since it’s your first night with braces, there are some things you may want to consider to prepare for a restful sleep.

Once you’ve gotten used to your braces, and your teeth and gums have adjusted, sleeping will be a breeze!

Tip #1: Keep your teeth and gums clean.

Committing to a thorough oral hygiene routine is more important than ever when you have braces. It’s crucial that you clean your gums, clean between each tooth, and clean the spaces between your teeth and braces before you go to bed. By keeping your teeth and braces clean, you prevent any unhealthy symptoms from developing. 

Symptoms like inflamed gums, tender gums, yellow teeth, toothaches or bad breath due to poor oral hygiene can be pretty uncomfortable and distracting when you’re trying to sleep. Keeping your teeth and braces clean will serve you in many ways!

Tip #2: Try sleeping on your back.

If you tend to sleep on your side or stomach, try sleeping on your back for a few nights. When you lay on your side and stomach, your cheeks are pressed against the pillow, which can irritate your mouth. By sleeping on your back, the contact between your braces and mouth is minimized, so your cheeks can relax without being pushed against your braces.

If you continue to sleep on your side, that’s okay! You don’t have to worry about any considerable dangers when it comes to sleep position. You may just wake up with a bracket imprint on the inside of your cheeks and some minor soreness that goes away pretty quickly. 

Tip #3: Use dental wax if needed.

Dental wax, or orthodontic wax, can come in super handy with tender cheeks or gums. Wax can be placed over any brackets or wires that tend to irritate your cheeks. Can I sleep with braces wax? Yes! Before you go to bed, simply pull off a few pieces of orthodontic wax, place them over any brackets or wire ends that need attention – or place some wax on all of your brackets – to give your cheeks some relief.

While you sleep, the wax will provide a comfortable barrier between your braces and your mouth, so you can sleep soundly and wake up rested.

You don’t have to worry about swallowing any wax while you sleep too. Most brands use non-toxic, natural substances, like carnauba wax, beeswax or paraffin wax. Make sure that the brand you choose uses non-toxic ingredients, so if you dream of a juicy burger and mistake the wax for your next bite, you won’t get sick… you’ll just be a little disappointed.

Tip #4: Use Tylenol if you have to!

During your first week with braces, it’s normal to experience some soreness in your gums. If you’ve been eating soft foods and taking it easy on your braces to prevent discomfort, but you’re still feeling some soreness before bed and wondering how to stop braces pain immediately, you can take an over-the-counter acetaminophen medication, like Tylenol.

We suggest Tylenol or another acetaminophen medication, because ibuprofen and other NSAIDs can actually slow tooth movement (NCBI).   

After the first week or so of your treatment, you should feel good enough to sleep without pain medication!

Tip #5: Wear a nightguard or mouthguard if you grind your teeth. 

If you find yourself grinding your teeth in sleep with braces, it may be best to wear a mouthguard when sleeping with braces. If you bite down hard enough on a bracket or wire, you could wake up feeling pretty sore and uncomfortable in the morning. 

It’s best to wear a mouthguard to prevent any clenching or grinding tendencies from contributing to the soreness. 

Not sure which mouthguard or night guard is best for your smile? Dr. Saxe recommends over-the-counter nightguards which are available from online retailers or at Dick’s Sporting Goods.

Need more tips?

At your first visit, we’ll tell you everything you need to know to prepare for your orthodontic treatment! We’ll give you the tips and tricks you’re looking for to help you get a good night’s rest every night. 

We provide a number of different types of braces, including traditional silver braces, advanced self-ligating braces, various clear aligners, and Invisalign® for teens and adults!

If you’re looking for a top orthodontist in Las Vegas, we’d love to meet you! Request a complimentary exam for you or your child today.