Life with Braces

Now that you have your braces, how do you take care of them? It's important for you to know how to properly take care of your braces throughout your entire 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 new appliances.

Foods to avoid with braces:

  • Chewy foods — bagels, licorice, hard rolls
  • 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 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

Soreness Caused From Braces and Appliances

After your braces are put on, you may feel general soreness in your mouth, and your teeth may be tender for three to five days. If the tenderness is severe, take ibuprofen or whatever you normally take for a headache or similar pain. Until your mouth becomes accustomed to the appliances, your 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 may also experience some canker sores or blisters. Wax can help alleviate the discomfort, as can rinsing your mouth with a warm saltwater mouthwash. Dissolve one teaspoonful of salt in 8 ounces of warm water, and rinse your mouth vigorously.

Loose Teeth

If your teeth begin feeling a little loose, don't worry; this is normal! Your braces must first loosen your teeth to move them into the right position. Once your teeth have been repositioned, they will no longer be loose.

Loose Wires and Bands

Don't be alarmed if a wire or band comes loose as this happens occasionally. If a wire protrudes and is irritating, carefully use a blunt instrument (back of a spoon or the eraser end of a pencil) to gently push the irritating wire 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.

Brushing

It's more important than ever to brush and floss regularly when you have braces! We want to make sure that your teeth and gums are healthy after orthodontic treatment. When you get your braces, we will review the proper way to brush and floss to maintain a healthy and beautiful smile. Some of the risk factors of poor oral hygiene during orthodontic treatment include cavities, decalcification of enamel ("white spots"), and gingivitis/periodontitis (gum disease).

Patients having a difficult time maintaining good oral hygiene may require more frequent visits to the dentist for a professional cleaning, and adults who have a history of gum disease should be monitored by a periodontist during orthodontic treatment.

Playing Sports With Braces

Playing sports while wearing braces is not a problem at all – as long as you wear a mouthguard! Being hit in the mouth while wearing braces can be a very painful experience, and a mouthguard can help protect your lips and cheeks from trauma. Please ask if you have any questions regarding the mouthguard you are currently using, or if you would like us to provide you with one.

 

Brushing Instructions
  • brushing diagram

    Brushing: Step 1

    Place your toothbrush at a 45 degree angle to your gum.

  • brushing diagram

    Brushing: Step 2

    Brush gently in a circular motion.

  • brushing diagram

    Brushing: Step 3

    Brush the outer, inner, and chewing surfaces of each tooth.

  • brushing diagram

    Brushing: Step 4

    Use the tip of your brush for the inner surface of your front teeth.

Flossing Instructions
  • flossing diagram

    Flossing: Step 1

    Wind about 18 inches of floss around your fingers as shown. Most of it should be wrapped around one finger, and as the floss is used, the other finger takes it up.

  • flossing diagram

    Flossing: Step 2

    Use your thumbs and forefingers to guide about one inch of floss between your teeth.

  • flossing diagram

    Flossing: Step 3

    Holding the floss tightly, gently saw the floss between your teeth. Then curve the floss into a C-shape against one tooth and gently slide it beneath your gums.

  • flossing diagram

    Flossing: Step 4

    Slide the floss up and down, repeating for each tooth.

life with braces