Life with Braces
Now That You Have Braces
You’ve taken a big step by having braces put on, and are now officially on the path towards the healthiest, most beautiful smile possible. It’s an exciting time, but it also comes with a bit of a learning curve.
As you get used to your orthodontic treatment, you may find yourself having to make a few adjustments, but it will become second nature before you know it.
Eating With Braces
What can you eat? Firstly, let’s talk about what you shouldn’t eat!
For the first day or so, stick to soft foods. Avoid tough meats, hard bread, and raw vegetables.
Before long, you’ll be able to bite a cucumber 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, 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 will cause treatment to take longer.
When you get your braces on, you may feel general soreness in your mouth and your teeth may be tender when biting for three to five days.
You can relieve this by rinsing your mouth with warm salt water. 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 a 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!
This is to be expected throughout treatment. Don’t worry! It’s normal. We need to loosen your teeth first so we can move them.
It’s just a sign that your braces are doing exactly what we want them to. Your teeth will continue to change positions over time, and once they settle into their new positions, they’ll stop feeling loose.
Caring for Your 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 or other appliances as prescribed. Damaged appliances lengthen the treatment time.
Loose Wire or Band
Don’t worry if a wire or band comes loose. This happens occasionally. If a wire protrudes and is irritating, use a blunt instrument (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.
Brushing with Braces
Now 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 the dentist for a professional cleaning.
Adults who have a history of gum disease should also see a periodontist during orthodontic treatment.
Tips for Athletes & Musicians
You can still play sports as normal during your treatment, but remember to protect your teeth with an orthodontic friendly mouth guard, or to remove your Invisalign aligner during practice or the game.
If you happen to be involved in some kind of 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 liberal use of wax and warm salt-water rinses will help your lips and cheeks toughen up more quickly than you’d think.