Braces

Braces 101

Eating with Braces

Wearing braces should never be painful, but you’ll find in the beginning that your mouth may feel a bit sore. We recommend sticking to a diet of soft foods until your mouth has gotten used to the braces. During the course of your treatment, you will need to make a few modifications to your diet. If you wear bracket and wire braces, you’ll need to avoid any foods that are too hard, crunchy, sticky or chewy to avoid damaging your appliance. We also recommend avoiding food and drinks that are high in sugar.

Foods to Avoid

  • Chewy foods: bagels, hard rolls, licorice
  • Crunchy foods: popcorn, ice, chips
  • Sticky foods: caramels, gum
  • Hard foods: nuts, candy
  • Foods you have to bite into: corn on the cob, apples, carrots
  • Chewing on hard things (for example, pens, pencils or fingernails) can damage the braces. Damaged braces may cause treatment to take longer.

Some foods can be modified to work with braces. Instead of eating raw carrots, for instance, cook them for a bit to make them softer. You can cut corn off the cob, and cut crunchy foods like apples into bite sized pieces. If you ever have a question about your diet, you can always discuss it with us.

General Soreness

The first few days after you get your braces will probably be a bit sore and tender. This will last approximately three to five days. Rinsing your mouth with warm saltwater can provide relief – dissolve a teaspoon of salt into 8 ounces of warm water and swish in your mouth. If your soreness is more severe, you can take an over the counter painkiller, such as Tylenol. Cold compresses and cold foods and drinks can also help. If you have irritation to the inside of your mouth, you can use orthodontic wax. It can take some time for the inside of your mouth to get used to the braces, but orthodontic wax can help soften any areas that are irritating.

Loosening of Teeth

If your teeth feel loose during treatment – good! That means the treatment is working. In order to move to their new locations, your teeth must first loosen from their current locations. Once treatment is finished and you wear your retainer, your teeth will become affixed to their new places.

Loose Wire or Band

During the course of your treatment, it’s not uncommon for a wire or band to become loose. Don’t worry! If a wire is protruding and is irritating the inside of your mouth, use a blunt instrument (the eraser end of a pencil works great!) to gently push the wire back under the archwire. If irritation continues, you can use wax or wet cotton on the wire. Be sure you call our office to schedule an appointment so we can correct the issue for you.

Care of Appliances

That means wearing your rubber bands, headgear or clear aligner as prescribed, and taking good care of your appliances and your teeth. Failing to do so can lengthen treatment time or even result in cavities.

Brushing

It’s more important than ever to take care of your teeth and gums while you’re in braces. Your braces will create a lot of nooks and crannies for food particles to become stuck, so it is important to take extra time when brushing and flossing.  We will teach you everything you need to know and give you an oral hygiene kit so you have all the tools you need for great oral health.  It is also important to continue to see your regular dentist for check-ups and cleanings during your orthodontic treatment. Patients who are not diligent about their oral care while in braces may require more frequent visits to their dentists. IF you are an adult patient who has a history of gum disease, it may be wise to see a periodontist while in treatment to ensure your gum disease is kept at bay.

Athletics

Wearing braces doesn’t need to prevent you from doing things you love, but you may need to take some extra precautions, especially if you are an athlete. A blow to the face or mouth can be even more damaging while in braces, so we recommend all athletes who play contact sports or are involved in any activity where an injury to the face could occur wear a properly fitting mouthguard.

Please contact our practice to schedule an appointment for an orthodontic evaluation. If needed, early treatment now will give your child a healthy, beautiful smile for the future.