Life with Braces
Learning to properly take care of your braces is an important part of getting a great outcome from treatment. Failure to do so can mean broken appliances, extra expenses and treatment plan delays.
Eating with Braces
Many people are worried that they will have to give up all their favorite foods because they are wearing braces. However, with a few modifications, most foods can still be enjoyed. It is very important that you are careful not to damage appliances though.
Foods that you may need to avoid or modify how you eat while wearing braces:
- Chewy foods — bagels, licorice
- Crunchy foods — popcorn, chips, ice
- Sticky foods — caramel candies, chewing gum
- Hard foods — whole nuts, hard candies, peanut brittle
- Foods that require biting into — corn on the cob, whole apples, carrots
Foods that can freely be enjoyed while undergoing orthodontic treatment:
- Dairy — soft cheese, pudding, milk-based drinks
- Breads — soft tortillas, pancakes, muffins w/o nuts
- Grains — pasta, soft cooked rice
- Meats and poultry — chicken, meatballs, lunch meats
- Seafood — tuna, salmon, crab cakes
- Vegetables — mashed potatoes, steamed vegetables
- Fruits — applesauce, bananas
- Sweets — ice cream without nuts, milkshakes, Jell-O, cake
Caring For Appliances
Protecting and cleaning appliances properly is very important for maintaining a healthy mouth and staying on track with your treatment plan. Teeth only move when appliances like rubber bands, headgear and retainers are being worn consistently and exactly as directed.
Click here to read more about the proper care of your appliances.
Playing Sports With Braces
Athletes need not fear. They can still participate in athletics during orthodontic treatment, but it's recommended that they wear a mouthguard to protect the mouth and appliances. Let your doctor know if you need help finding the right mouthguard for the best protection. In the event of an injury or sports emergency, check your mouth and appliance for any damage and call us right away if you notice any loose teeth or damaged appliances. You can temporarily relieve the discomfort with wax or by swishing with warm saltwater.
Dealing With Common Orthodontic Problems
These are some of the most common issues you may experience while wearing braces. Most of them are temporary and can be managed at home, but if you have questions don't hesitate to call the office.
Right after braces are put on, some patients experience soreness or tenderness, which is a normal problem that is only temporary. If you are experiencing discomfort or pain, dissolve one teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of lukewarm water and use it to swish and gargle for just a couple of minutes as often as needed. You can also use pain relievers like Tylenol or aspirin. Sometimes the lips, cheeks and tongue can be irritated by the new appliances. The irritation usually dissipates as the mouth becomes accustomed to the braces, but dental wax can be put on areas that are rubbing to help the braces feel more comfortable.
Sometimes teeth begin to feel a little loose during orthodontic treatment. This is a normal part of the process as the braces move them into the right position. After treatment is over, teeth will not feel loose.
Loose Wires or Bands
Wires and bands can come loose or break, which needs to be fixed as soon as possible. Let us know about the problem and bring all pieces of the appliance to your scheduled appointment. Loose wires can be temporarily fixed by carefully pushing the piece back into place with the back of a spoon or the eraser end of a pencil. Use dental wax or a wet cotton ball to cover the wire if it is causing irritation to your lips or cheeks.