CARING FOR BRACES

EATING WITH BRACES
What can you eat? Let’s talk about what you shouldn’t eat! For the first day or so, stick to soft foods. Avoid tough meats, hard breads, and raw vegetables. Before long, you’ll be able to bite an apple again. But you’ll need to protect your orthodontic appliances when you eat for as long as you’re wearing braces.
 
FOODS TO AVOID
Chewy foods: bagels, hard rolls, licorice
Crunchy foods: popcorn, ice, chips
Sticky foods: caramels, Skittles, Starburst, gum is okay as long as it's sugar-free
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 will cause treatment to take longer.
 
GENERAL SORENESS
When you get your braces on, you may feel general soreness in your mouth and teeth may be tender to biting pressures for three to five days. This can be relieved by rinsing your mouth with a warm salt water mouthwash. Dissolve one teaspoonful of salt in 8 ounces of warm water and rinse your mouth vigorously. If the tenderness is severe, take aspirin or whatever you normally take for headache or similar pain. The lips, cheeks, and tongue may also become irritated for one to two weeks as they toughen and become accustomed to the surface of the braces. You can put wax on the braces to lessen this. We’ll show you how!
 
LOOSENING OF TEETH
This is to be expected throughout treatment. Don’t worry! It’s normal. Teeth must loosen first so they can be moved. The teeth will again become rigidly fixed in their new – corrected – positions.
 
LOOSE WIRE OR BAND
Don’t be alarmed if a wire or band comes loose. This happens occasionally. If a wire protrudes and is irritating, use a blunt instrument (the back of a spoon or the eraser end of a pencil) and carefully, gently push the irritating wire under the archwire. Simply get it out of the way. If irritation to the lips or mouth continues, place wax or wet cotton on the wire to reduce the annoyance. Call our office as soon as possible for an appointment to check and repair the appliances. If any piece comes off, save it and bring it with you to the office.
 
CARE OF APPLIANCES
To successfully complete the treatment plan, the patient must work together with the orthodontist. The teeth and jaws can only move toward their corrected positions if the patient consistently wears the rubber bands, headgear, or other appliances as prescribed. Damaged appliances lengthen the treatment time.
 
BRUSHING
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 their oral care specialist for a professional cleaning. Adults who have a history of gum disease should also see a periodontist during orthodontic treatment.
 
More and more people are getting braces today than ever before. The concept of beauty and hygiene has put more emphasis on healthy and straight teeth. If you have braces, you most likely know by now how important it is to take care of not only your braces but your teeth and your gums as well. You need to have enough discipline and be responsible for keeping your braces clean and in very good condition.
 
GOOD TIME TO QUIT SMOKING
Lastly, smoking is highly discouraged with braces as they tend to discolor teeth. Once your braces are removed, you may see a little white square on every discolored tooth. You may have straight teeth at the end of the time period, but you may need to go through another round of bleaching treatment to fix this problem.
 
ATHLETICS
If you play sports, it’s important that you consult us for special precautions. A protective mouthguard is advised for playing contact sports. In case of any accident involving the face, check your mouth and the appliances immediately. If teeth are loosened or the appliances damaged, call us at once for an appointment.  In the meantime, treat your discomfort as you would treat any general soreness.