Life With Braces

Your Smile is Yours Forever.

Life with Braces


Now that you have your braces on, what’s next? Well, most importantly, it is essential for you to know how to properly take care of your braces so you maintain a healthy smile and keep your treatment on track. Braces do require a few lifestyle adjustments, but you will get used to them in no time! To get the best results, follow the guidelines below throughout your entire orthodontic journey.

Maintaining a Healthy Smile

For the first few days your teeth will be adjusting to your new braces, so try to stick to soft foods such as smoothies, soups and pastas. Throughout the duration of your treatment, try to avoid anything that could stick to your braces or get stuck behind the wire. Generally, the softer the texture the better – try to avoid tough meats, hard breads and raw vegetables. It only takes one bad bite to damage your braces so avoid foods that are hard, crunchy or sticky. Also, avoid biting into foods such as apples and carrots with your front teeth. Instead, cut food into smaller pieces and use your back teeth to chew. You will need to protect your orthodontic appliances when you eat for as long as you have braces.

Chewy foods – bagels, licorice, pizza crust, hard breads
Crunchy foods – popcorn, chips, ice, hard candies, hard pretzels
Sticky foods – caramel candies, chewing gum, gummy candies
Hard foods – nuts, candy
Tough foods – meat, bagels
Foods you bite into – corn on the cob, apples, carrots

Chewing on hard things – pens, pencils, ice cubes
Nail-biting
Smoking

When you get your braces on, you may feel general soreness in your mouth and your teeth may be tender to biting pressure for three to five days. During this time, make sure you eat soft foods – and remember that the more you try to chew the better they will feel. Common pain relievers such as Tylenol or Advil are recommended for relief from minor discomfort.

In addition, you may experience mouth sores due to the irritation of braces. These are most common on the cheeks, lips and tongue. This is not an emergency, but may be uncomfortable. Place wax on the braces to provide more comfort. Prompt relief may also be achieved by applying a small amount of topical anesthetic (such as Orabase) directly to the ulcerated surface using a cotton swab. Warm salt-water rinses can also help sooth mouth sores.

Feeling loose teeth is completely normal. Teeth must loosen first so they can be moved. The teeth will again become rigidly fixed in their new and corrected positions.

Creating your perfect smile involves teamwork. To successfully complete your treatment it is important that you attend all of your appointments and consistently wear your rubber bands or other appliances as prescribed. Not wearing your rubber bands and damaged appliances can lengthen your treatment time.

Good brushing is key to healthy teeth, particularly when you have braces. To avoid cavities and stains on your teeth, brush thoroughly after each meal or snack. If you cannot brush right away, rinse your mouth with water. Use fluoride toothpaste and a soft toothbrush. Braces can wear out a toothbrush quickly, so be sure to replace it as soon as it shows signs of wear. Brush around all the parts of your braces and every surface of your teeth. You are doing a good job if your braces look clean and shiny, and you can see the edges of the brackets clearly. Fuzzy brackets, dull metal and faded ties indicates poor brushing.

Flossing with braces can be more complicated but it is very important
to do on a daily basis in order to ensure good dental health. A floss threader can help you get dental floss underneath the wires. Ask our staff for tips is you are having trouble flossing.

You can still play sports during your treatment, but remember to protect your teeth with a protective mouth guard. If you are involved in an accident during athletic activity, check your appliances and your mouth immediately. If the appliances appear damaged or the teeth loosened, schedule an appointment in our office.

If you play a wind instrument, you may temporarily find it challenging playing with your braces. It is normal to have some difficulty with proper lip position and sores can develop, too. Liberal use of wax and warm salt-water rinses will help your lips and cheeks toughen. Keep practicing and you will feel back to normal in no time.

Emergency Care

During the course of your orthodontic treatment you may experience a problem with your braces while at home, school or work. Here are some common problems that you can permanently or temporarily fix on your own. While these suggestions will often solve the problem, please do not hesitate to contact our office if you need further assistance. Severe pain, trauma, excess bleeding, or facial injury may require emergency treatment.

Discomfort or embarrassment can result for this common problem. A piece of dental floss, interproximal brush or toothpick can be used to dislodge the particle of food. While flossing can be difficult with braces, the use of a Waterpick Water Flosser with an orthodontic tip can be beneficial dislodging food particles.

An irritating loose wire or a sharp arch wire that ends in the back of the mouth can be covered with wax. It can also be pushed back into place using an eraser, spoon or tweezers. If necessary, the wire can be clipped with nail clippers.

A bracket is considered loose or broken when you can see that is if off centered and it can slide back and forth along the wire. A band is loose if it moves up and down on your tooth. If either is causing discomfort, place orthodontic wax on it – this will also help minimize the movement. If something is loose or broken, call our office during regular office hours and we will schedule a time for you to come in to fix it. If a band or bracket actually comes off, wrap it in a tissue and bring it to your next visit.

If a spacer falls out more than 24 hours before your next scheduled appointment, call our office to make an arrangements to come in and have it replaced.

This is not an urgent situation. At your next scheduled appointment, just tell us about any missing elastics or tie wires.

Some patients can get mouth sores due to the irritation of braces. They are most common on the cheeks, lips and tongue. This is not an emergency, but may be uncomfortable. Place wax on the braces to provide more comfort. Prompt relief may also be achieved by applying a small amount of topical anesthetic (such as Orabase) directly to the ulcerated surface using a cotton swab. Warm salt-water rinses can also help sooth mouth sores.

When you get your braces on, you may feel general soreness in your mouth and your teeth may be tender to biting pressure for three to five days. During this time, make sure you eat soft foods – and remember that the more you try to chew the better they will feel. Common pain relievers such as Tylenol or Advil are recommended for relief from minor discomfort.

In addition, you may experience mouth sores due to the irritation of braces. These are most common on the cheeks, lips and tongue. This is not an emergency, but may be uncomfortable. Place wax on the braces to provide more comfort. Prompt relief may also be achieved by applying a small amount of topical anesthetic (such as Orabase) directly to the ulcerated surface using a cotton swab. Warm salt-water rinses can also help sooth mouth sores.