Braces Are a Big Step

You’ve taken a big step by having braces put on. You're now officially on the path towards a healthy, beautiful smile. It’s an exciting time, but it also comes with a bit of a learning curve.

As you get used to your new orthodontic treatment, you may need to make a few adjustments, but it'll become second nature before you know it.

 

Tips for Living With Braces

As you get used to your new orthodontic treatment, you may need to make a few adjustments, but it'll become second nature before you know it.

 

Soreness

When you first get your braces, you may notice that your teeth and mouth feel a little tender or sore. This is perfectly normal, and we promise your mouth won't 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 just a couple of minutes (do not swallow the saltwater).

If your pain is severe and doesn't go away after rinsing, you can also try taking a pain reliever. It's normal for your lips, cheeks, and tongue to become irritated for one to two weeks as they toughen and become used to the braces.

We would be happy to give you some wax that you can put over the braces to lessen the tenderness. If you need some wax, please let us know.

Orthodontics for Teens

Care & Maintenance

Brushing with braces can take some getting used to. Maneuvering around brackets and wires takes a little practice. Be sure to brush thoroughly after every meal or snack, so any food particles are removed before bacteria has a chance to grow.

If you’re not able to brush right away, rinsing your mouth with water will help until you can get to a toothbrush.

Follow these tips for the best results:

  • Use a fluoride toothpaste with a soft, rounded-bristle toothbrush.
  • Braces wear toothbrushes out quickly, so be sure to replace yours as soon as it begins to show signs of wear.
  • Brush around every part of your braces, as well as every surface of your teeth.
  • Look for clean and shiny braces, with the edge of the brackets clearly visible. Fuzzy-or dull-looking metal indicates poor brushing.
  • Floss every night before you go to bed. Tools like floss threaders and waterpiks are helpful if you’re having difficulty with getting a good floss underneath the wires.

Eating With Braces

During your orthodontic treatment, you’ll have to avoid some kinds of foods and beverages. For more situations, common sense will tell you what foods to avoid.

Hard foods can break or damage wires and brackets. Sticky foods can get caught between brackets and wires. Minimize sugary foods; they cause tooth decay and related problems.

Don't worry, you'll be eating popcorn and snacking on potato chips again in no time. However, before you enjoy some of the treats you love, you'll need to avoid any foods that could damage your new braces.

Sticky Foods to Avoid

  • Gum (sugar-free or regular)
  • Licorice
  • Sugar Daddies
  • Toffee
  • Tootsie Rolls
  • Caramels
  • Starburst

 

Sugary Foods to Avoid

  • Cake
  • Ice Cream
  • Cookies
  • Pie
  • Candy

Foods You Can Eat

  • Dairy — soft cheese, pudding, milk-based drinks
  • Breads — soft tortillas, pancakes, muffins without 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 without nuts, milkshakes, Jell-O, soft cake

Hard and Crunchy Foods to Avoid

  • Ice
  • Nuts
  • Hard taco shells
  • Hard bread / Crust
  • Corn on the cob
  • Apples
  • Starburst
  • Bagels
  • Jolly Ranchers
  • Pizza crust
  • Hard raw vegetables
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Popcorn
  • Granola Bars

Drinks to Avoid

  • Soda (regular and diet)
  • Sweetened tea
  • Gatorade/Powerade
  • Kool-Aid
  • Drinks with sugar 

Beverages You Can Have

  • Water
  • Crystal Light
  • Non-carbonated diet drinks
  • Milk
  • Powerade Zero

There are also a few oral habits you’ll want avoid to keep your braces functioning perfectly.

Nail biting, pencil and pen chewing and chewing on foreign objects should be avoided. Do your best to find another way to keep yourself busy while undergoing orthodontic treatment.

Loose Teeth

It’s normal for teeth to get a little loose during orthodontic treatment. It just means they’re moving!

Your braces must loosen your teeth first to move them into the right position. Once your teeth have been repositioned, they won’t be loose anymore.

 

Loose Wires & Brackets

This problem is often caused by eating hard or sticky foods or playing with your braces. If the bracket is still attached to the wire, leave it alone and don’t connect any elastics to it.

You can cover it with orthodontic wax if it’s irritating the inside of your mouth. If any part of your braces has come off, save the piece bring it with to your next appointment. Please let us know when anything is wrong with your appliance.

 

Misplaced Archwire, Bracket, or Tie

As your teeth start to move, the archwire that connects them may also move and start to poke out near the back of your mouth and cause irritation.

You can often move this wire into a better position by using the eraser end of the pencil or a cotton swab. You can manipulate any misplaces wires or ties back into place by gently using a pair of clean tweezers.

If some of the wires or brackets have shifted, and begun causing irritation to your mouth, you can use orthodontic wax to cover the parts that are poking out.

This will help ease the discomfort, but make sure you get in touch with our office as soon as possible, so we can fix the actual problem instead of only masking the symptoms at home.

 

Caring for Your Orthodontic Appliance

Damaged appliances can increase your treatment process length, so be sure to take care of all your appliances.

Your teeth and jaw can only move into their correct positions if you consistently wear the headgear, retainer, or other appliances prescribed by your doctor.

 

Tips for Athletes & Musicians

You can still play sports like normal during your treatment, but remember to protect your teeth with an orthodontic friendly mouth guard.

If you have an accident during your athletic activity, check your appliances and your mouth immediately. If the appliances appear damaged or the teeth loosened, schedule an appointment.

If you play an instrument, you may find it a little challenging to become adjusted to playing with your braces. It’s normal to have some difficulty with proper lip position.

Sores can also develop, but the liberal use of wax and warm saltwater rinses will help your lips and cheeks toughen up more quickly than you’d think.