Life With Braces

braces4Your journey to straighter, more beautifully aligned teeth has begun. To help make your experience as pleasant as possible, and to help protect your smile during this process, we have provided a helpful resource on how to care for your braces. Our experienced orthodontists and our skilled team are always available to help if you have questions, so don’t hesitate to contact us for more information.

Please click on the links below to jump to the desired section. Or feel free to browse all the content at your convenience. This information is provided to help you get the most out of your orthodontic treatment, and we encourage you to review it as often as needed.

What to Eat and What to Avoid

Some small dietary sacrifices must be made to achieve the smile you’ve always desired. Fortunately, popcorn, candy, and other treats will still be there when treatment is complete. Certain foods can be damaging to your orthodontic appliances, so please avoid the following during the straightening process:

  • Bagels, licorice, and other chewy foods
  • Popcorn, chips, ice, and other crunchy foods
  • Caramels, chewing gum, and other sticky foods
  • Nuts, hard candies, jawbreakers, and other hard foods
  • Corn on the cob, apples, carrots, and other foods that must be bitten into

Try not to look at life with braces as restricting. See it instead as an opportunity to enjoy a healthier, more nutritious diet! Of course there will be times when you are tempted to eat something that’s not recommended, but if you stay strong, your smile will thank you. Remember, there are lots of food options (healthy as well as indulgent) you can eat, including:

  • Dairy products such as soft cheese, pudding, and milk-based drinks
  • Bread, including soft tortillas, pancakes, and muffins without nuts
  • Grains such as pasta and soft cooked rice
  • A variety of meats such as soft cooked chicken, meatballs, and lunchmeats
  • Seafood, including tuna, salmon, and crab cakes
  • Vegetables such as mashed potatoes, steamed spinach, beans, and many more
  • Fruits, including applesauce, bananas, and berries
  • Desserts like frozen yogurt, milkshakes, Jell-O, and cake

If you’re ever not sure whether something is ok to eat, we welcome your questions.

Managing Soreness and Loose Teeth

The latest advances in braces, including traditional braces, Empower® brackets, and Invisalign®, make straightening teeth easier and more comfortable than ever. However, you may still feel some tenderness or soreness in the beginning of treatment, which should fade over time. To help manage your discomfort during this process, you may wish to gargle with a saltwater rinse. Simply dissolve one teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of room temperature water, swish the fluid in your mouth (without swallowing), and spit out. If you are still bothered, an over-the-counter pain reliever can help.

Your lips, gums, and other soft tissues may also experience some discomfort as they adjust to the orthodontic appliances. Usually it only takes about a week or two to get used to the new sensation; however, we will also provide wax upon request. Simply apply the wax to the brackets to minimize roughness.

Unless precipitated by an injury or another unusual event, feeling mildly loose teeth is of no concern. Some mild wiggling is normal as your teeth shift to their new positions. Once treatment is completed, your teeth should remain firm in their new location.

What to Do With Loose Wires or Bands

Sometimes a band or wire can come loose. If this happens, it’s important for you to contact our office when you notice the problem or by the next morning if it’s after hours. Additionally, if part of your appliance falls out, you should save it and bring it along to your appointment. If possible, carefully place the loose wire back into position by using the eraser of a pencil or the back of spoon. Wax or a wet cotton ball can help minimize discomfort if the wire rubs against your cheeks or lips. We will do our best to get you scheduled as quickly as possible when you call.

Care of your braces is important to achieving your desired end result. Damage to your orthodontic appliances could potentially elongate the straightening process. Consistency is key, and the wires, elastics, headgear, retainer, and other equipment is designed to hold your teeth in the correct position. If you’re not sure what the purpose of any appliance is, we’re happy to explain.

Brushing and Flossing Your Teeth With Braces

Excellent oral hygiene is just as, if not even more than, important with braces as without. To help you brush and floss correctly and effectively, we have created a simple video that details each step of the process:

Playing Sports With Braces

You won’t have to sit on the sidelines due to your braces, so enjoy the game! If you’re playing an active sport, our specially designed orthodontic mouth guards can help protect both your orthodontic appliances and your smile during the event. Ask our staff if you need one of these for the activity you enjoy. If an accident or injury occurs, be sure and examine your teeth for any damage to your equipment. If your teeth feel unusually loose, if there is anything broken or bent, or if you would prefer to have a professional evaluate your teeth, contact us right away. We’ll fix any problems, provide wax to reduce any discomfort, and ensure your treatment is going according to plan.

Recommended Toothbrush

Proper brushing can help keep your smile healthy, functional, and appealing. A standard toothbrush can work fine, but we typically recommend Sonicare® for the best results possible. Sonicare® toothbrushes utilize sonic technology to help break down food particles and clear away plaque. This device can also make brushing easier and more fun. If you’re interested in this type of toothbrush, we can tell you more about it at your next appointment.

We hope this resource proves helpful while you’re improving the look and the function of your teeth. If you have additional questions, or if you would like to schedule an appointment, please contact our office today.