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 teeth and braces throughout your entire orthodontic treatment.
Eating with Braces
For most situations, common sense will tell you what to avoid. Although braces are glued to your teeth, they can still come off if you are not careful. Hard foods, sticky foods and foods high in sugar must be avoided. 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. Nail biting, pencil and pen chewing, and chewing on foreign objects should be avoided.
Foods to avoid with braces:
- Chewy foods - bagels, licorice
- 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 w/o 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 w/o nuts, milkshakes, Jell-O, soft cake
Soreness caused from braces and appliances
There will be some discomfort after each visit, which will last from 24 to 72 hours. Tylenol, or ibuprofen (ie: Advil) should be comforting if necessary. You can also try to relieve the pain by rinsing with warm salt water.
It is also not uncommon 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!
Cleaning your Teeth and Braces
Now that your braces are on, you must be sure to brush your teeth and gums better than ever before. Extra care must be taken in the area between the gums and the brackets. This area is particularly susceptible because it is usually the most neglected are when brushing. Food and plaque that collects around the appliances can cause:
- white spots
- puffy gums
- unpleasant odors
It is therefore vital that your teeth be kept extremely clean. Brush after every meal: don't rush your brush! Floss each night at bedtime. In addition to brushing and flossing, there are other helpful aids. Dr. Lowry particularly likes the Water-Pik (http://www.waterpik.com/oral-health-products/) to help aid in rinsing the food out of your teeth. The following are also recommended.
- A good, soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste.
- Electric toothbrushes: especially the Sonicare, or the Oral-B plaque removal system.
- Super Floss or Floss Threaders.
- Oral irrigation devices: such as the Water-Pik device.
- Orthodontic Wax for mouth irritations.
- Fluoride-containing mouthrinse (daily formula: .05% Fluoride).
If your teeth begin feeling a little loose, don’t worry; this is normal! Your braces must first loosen your teeth in order to move them into the right position. Once your teeth have been repositioned, they will no longer be loose.
Loose Wires and Bands
The wires and bands on your braces may come loose. If this happens, please contact us as soon as possible so that we can check and repair your appliance. If any piece of your appliance comes off, be sure to save it and bring it to the office with you.
You can temporarily fix the loose wire by using the back of a spoon or the eraser end of a pencil to carefully and gently push the wire back into place. If the loose wire is causing irritation to your lips or cheeks, put wax or a wet cotton ball over the broken wire to relieve the pain.
Take Care of your Appliances
Damaged appliances can increase the length of your treatment process, 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 rubber bands, headgear, retainer, or other appliances prescribed by your doctor.
Playing Sports with Braces
Game, Set, Match - we have great news for athletes! You can still play sports even while undergoing orthodontic treatment! If you do play sports, it’s recommended that you wear a mouthguard in order to protect your teeth and your appliance. Let Dr. Lowry or his staff know if you need help finding the right mouthguard for the best protection.
In case of a sports emergency, be sure to immediately check your mouth and your appliance for any damage that may have occurred. If you notice any loose teeth, or if your appliance has been damaged, please contact our office right away. You can temporarily relieve the discomfort with wax or by rinsing your mouth with warm saltwater.