Now that you have your braces, you might be wondering how to take care of them, and how they’ll impact your life. To ensure your treatment stays on track, it’s important to care for your braces properly and follow the advice of your orthodontist.
Eating with Braces
You will have to make a few adjustments to your diet while wearing braces - it’s important to avoid foods that can damage the brackets and wires of your braces. But don’t worry - you’ll be able to enjoy popcorn before you know it
Foods to avoid with braces
- Bagels, licorice or anything that is too chewy
- Popcorn, chips, ice and other crunchy foods
- Caramel, chewing gum, and anything sticky
- Nuts, and any other foods that are hard
- Corn on the cob, apples, and any other foods that you have to bite into
Foods you CAN eat with braces
- Soft cheeses, milk, yogurt, pudding and other dairy products
- Soft tortillas, muffins (without nuts!), pancakes and other soft breads
- Cooked rice, pasta and other grains
- Soft chicken, deli meats, meatballs, and other similar meats
- Salmon, crabcakes, and other easy to chew seafood
- Cooked vegetables such as mashed potatoes and steamed spinach
- Applesauce, bananas, and other soft fruits
- Milkshakes, jell-o, soft cakes, ice cream without nuts, and other soft treats
Soreness Caused by Braces and Appliances
The day your braces are placed, you’ll notice that your mouth and teeth feel a bit sore or tender. But don’t worry, this won’t last forever! Relieve the tenderness by swishing with warm salt water - dissolve one teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of lukewarm water. Rinsing for just a few minutes can help alleviate soreness. If a saltwater rinse doesn’t ease the pain, or if your pain is more severe, you can take an over-the-counter pain reliever.
You may also notice that the inside of your lips and cheeks, and your tongue are irritated in the first several days as they get accustomed to the braces. Orthodontic wax is a great tool to use until the tenderness goes away. Our office is happy to provide orthodontic wax for you.
If the pain is more severe and does not go away after rinsing, you can also try taking a pain reliever. It is 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 you can put over the braces to lessen the tenderness. If you need some wax, please let us know.
Your braces work by first loosening your teeth from their current positions so they can be guided to their new positions. So if your teeth start to feel a bit loose, don’t worry - it means the braces are working! Once your teeth are in their ideal locations, you’ll wear a retainer for a period of time to ensure your teeth remain in their new places.
Loose Wires and Bands
During the course of your treatment, it is possible for a band or wire to become loose. Call our office right away so we can repair your braces. If a piece of the appliance has fallen off, be sure to save it if you can and bring it with you to your appointment.
You can correct a loose wire on your own until you can get to our office. The eraser end of a pencil or the back of spoon can be used to gently push the wire back into place. Orthodontic wax can be used on the end of the wire if it is causing any irritation.
Take Care of Your Appliances
If your appliance becomes damaged, it is important to schedule an appointment with us as soon as possible. A damaged appliance won’t be able to work properly, which means your treatment time can be impacted.
Always follow all of the directions of your orthodontist. Your teeth and jaw will only move as needed if you wear your rubber bands, headgear and other appliances consistently and exactly as prescribed by your orthodontist. Likewise, you’ll only retain your new smile if you wear your retainer as prescribed by your orthodontist.
Playing Sports with Braces
If you’re an athlete, don’t worry - you can still participate in your favorite sports, even while in braces. We recommend all athletes who could sustain an injury to their mouths always wear a mouthguard to protect their teeth and appliance during athletic play. We can find the right mouthguard for you to that will offer the highest level of protection.
If your mouth gets injured while playing a sport, check your mouth and appliance immediately for loose teeth or damage to the appliance, then schedule an appointment with us.