Life with Braces

You're now sporting your new metallic (or ceramic) look! On your way to a straight smile, it's vital that you care for your braces. Properly taking care of your braces throughout your entire orthodontic treatment will help you avoid unnecessary appointments and discomfort. Here's how:

Eating with Braces

Before you know it, you will be able to indulge in all the popcorn, pizza crust, and hard candies you want. Until then, however, you will need to take special care to avoid any foods that could damage your new appliances. Just one "treat" could result in extra appointments and adjustments - although we'd love to see you and say hi!

Foods to avoid with braces:

  • Chewy foods — bagels, licorice, pizza crust, beef jerky
  • Crunchy foods — popcorn, chips, ice
  • Sticky foods — caramel candies, chewing gum, taffy
  • Hard foods — nuts, hard candies
  • Foods that require biting into — corn on the cob, apples, carrots —slice them instead and bite with your back teeth
  • Pens and pencils — okay, it's not food, but chewing on these can break brackets!

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

Do your teeth and mouth feel a little tender or sore after your last appointment? This is perfectly normal and we promise your mouth will not be sore forever! To relieve your discomfort, 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 the soreness is more severe and does not go away after rinsing, you can also try taking a pain reliever. 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.

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

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

Yes! You can still play sports even while undergoing orthodontic treatment! If you do play sports, it's recommended that you wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth and your appliance. Let your doctor 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 appliance for damage. If you notice any loose teeth or appliance damage, please contact our office right away. You can temporarily relieve the discomfort by applying wax or rinsing your mouth with warm saltwater.

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