Living with Braces
Online Dental Education Library
Our team of dental specialists and staff strive to improve the overall health of our patients by focusing on preventing, diagnosing and treating conditions associated with your teeth and gums. Please use our dental library to learn more about dental problems and treatments available. If you have questions or need to schedule an appointment, contact us.
Living with Braces
Braces need some “breaking in” before you feel comfortable with them. Your teeth will be tender up to a few days after an appointment. Avoid foods that are hard and/or sticky so we recommend you eat a soft diet. Don’t eat tough meat or raw vegetables as they may damage your braces. Once you get used to eating with your braces on, you may be able to enjoy most of your favorite foods. However, don’t put your braces to test by eating food that causes discomfort even when eating normally.
Foods that you should avoid
Certain types of food should be avoided to protect your braces from any form of damage. Avoid popping all sorts of things in your mouth and stop to think for a minute about what you are planning to eat. The following are some example of food you should avoid:
- Crunchy foods such as chips, popcorn, ice, and pretzels
- Hard foods such as candies and nuts
- Sticky foods such as caramels and gums
- Foods you need to bite into such as apples, corn on the cob, carrots, and ribs
- Chewy foods such as licorice, bagels, and candy such as Abba Zaba and Look bars
Nail biters should work towards quitting this habit for good. Chewing pens and pencils is also not a good idea with braces on. These habits may lead to longer treatment time due to periodic damage to the braces due to these actions. Think of the implications before you have the inclination to chew or bite something inedible.
Loosening before moving
The goal of braces is to loosen your teeth from their present position so that they can be moved their correct new positions. Don’t feel alarmed if you feel your teeth loosen. This is a normal part of the procedure. Once the teeth are moved into their new positions, they will get fixed again to give you the smile you deserve to have.
Mouth irritation and soreness
After you get your braces placed and tightened, you may feel soreness in your teeth and mouth, which may last for 3 to 5 days. You may also experience sensitivity in your teeth during eating. You can rinse your mouth for immediate relief by using a mild mouthwash, which you can make yourself by mixing together a teaspoonful of salt and 8 oz of warm water. Take a mouthful of this mixture and swish it vigorously.
If the desired effects are not achieved, a pain reliever such as aspiring, Tylenol, or Motrin should help. After this soreness subsidizes, you may experience irritation on your tongue, cheeks and lips in the initial weeks of your treatment. This irritation can be lessened by applying some wax on the braces. Remember, it is all part of your treatment and will go away in a few weeks time.
Irritating wire or band
At times a wire or a band may get loosened from your braces. This may cause you irritation and discomfort. You can push the protruding band or wire back in the archwire by making use of any instrument with a blunt edge as a temporary measure. This action may provide you relief until you visit our office. If irritation persists, apply some wax on the protruding wire. Make sure to bring any piece of the braces that might have come off when you visit us.
Brushing and dental care
Don't think that now that you have braces you don't need to worry about flossing or brushing. Regular brushing and flossing is required more than ever before. Your efforts in keeping your mouth clean will ensure the health of your mouth and gums. You don’t want your time and investment to go wasted simply because you were too lazy to clean your teeth. If you are unable to keep your gums and teeth clean, you may need to visit a dentist more often than usual to get your teeth professionally cleaned.
Following the plan consistently and caring for appliances
In order to achieve the perfect smile with a flawless alignment of the teeth and jaws, a patient needs to follow the treatment plan with consistency.
This includes wearing the prescribed appliances such as head gear and rubber bands recommended by us. The more inconsistent a patient is during the treatment, the more time treatment can take. Therefore, to minimize the treatment duration wear the prescribed appliances as directed.
Athletic activities and contact sports
If you are an active player of contact sports, make sure to consult with us about protecting your braces by the use of protective mouthgaurd. In case any form of accident occurs during sports or athletic activities, immediately check your mouth and appliances for any possible damage. If you feel any of your teeth loosened or your braces damaged, make sure to get an appointment with us immediately so we can assess the situation and alter treatment accordingly.