Proper Care for Braces
Life with Braces
Now that you have braces, it's important to know how to properly take care of them throughout your entire orthodontic treatment.
It's more important than ever to brush and floss regularly when you have braces, so the teeth and gums are healthy after orthodontic treatment. Patients who do not keep their teeth clean may require more frequent visits to the dentist for a professional cleaning and may develop permanent white stains that are noticeable after the braces are removed. Adults who have a history of gum disease may also need to see a periodontist during orthodontic treatment.
Eating with Braces
Don't worry; you'll be eating popcorn and snacking on potato chips again in no time! However, before you can start enjoying some of the treats you love, you will need to take special care to avoid any foods that could damage your braces.
Foods to avoid with braces:
Chewy foods - bagels, licorice
Crunchy foods - popcorn, chips, ice
Sticky foods - caramel candies, chewing gum Hard foods - nuts, hard candies
Foods that require biting into - corn on the cob, apples, carrots
Foods you CAN eat with braces:
Dairy - soft cheese, pudding, milk-based drinks
Breads - soft tortillas, pancakes, muffins w/o nuts
Grains - pasta, soft-cooked rice
Meats/poultry - soft-cooked chicken, meatballs, lunch meats
Seafood - tuna, salmon, crab cakes
Vegetables - mashed potatoes, steamed spinach, beans
Fruits - applesauce, bananas, fruit juice
Treats - ice cream w/o nuts, milkshakes, Jell-O, soft cake
Soreness caused from braces and appliances
When you first get your braces, you may notice that your teeth and mouth feel tender or sore. This is completely normal, and we promise your mouth will not be sore forever! To relieve the pain, we recommend dissolving one teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of lukewarm water. Swish and gargle this solution in your mouth for a couple of minutes. If the pain is more severe and does not go away after rinsing, you can also try taking a pain reliever (whatever you would normally take for a headache). It is also not uncommon for your lips, cheeks, and tongue to become irritated for one to two weeks as they toughen and get used to the braces. You can put wax on the braces to lessen this. We'll show you how!
If your teeth begin feeling a little loose, don't worry; this is normal! Your braces must first loosen your teeth in order to move them into the right position. Once your teeth have been repositioned, they will no longer be loose.
Loose Wires and Bands
The wires and bands on your braces may come loose. If this happens, please contact us as soon as possible so that we can check and repair your appliance. If any piece of your appliance comes off, be sure to save it and bring it to the office with you.
You can temporarily fix the loose wire by using the back of a spoon or the eraser end of a pencil to carefully and gently push the wire back into place. If the loose wire is causing irritation to your lips or cheeks, put wax or a wet cotton ball over the broken wire to relieve the pain.
Take Care of your Appliances Damaged
Appliances can increase the length of your orthodontic treatment, so make sure to take care of all your appliances. Your teeth and jaw can only move into their correct positions if you consistently wear the rubber bands, retainers, or other appliances as they are prescribed.
Playing Sports with Braces
You can still play sports even while undergoing orthodontic treatment. If you do play sports, it is recommended that you wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth and your braces (we would be happy to provide one free of charge-just let us know that you need one).
In case of a sports emergency, be sure to immediately check your mouth and your appliances for any damage that may have occurred. If you notice any loose teeth, or if your appliances have been damaged, please contact our office right away. You can temporarily relieve the discomfort with wax or by rinsing your mouth with warm salt water.