Life With Braces
As your new braces work to give you a perfect smile, you’ll need to know how to properly care for them so they can do their job. Life with braces doesn’t have to be difficult, but there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind in caring for your braces. Take a look below to learn the ins and outs of living with braces.
What to Expect with Braces
You may be sore for the first few days after getting braces. We recommend using Tylenol and eating soft foods for the next 3-4 days.
You will also notice small blue colored bite blocks glued onto the teeth. These were placed to reduce chances of breaking lower brackets while eating and to help the teeth move faster. They will take some time to get used to them.
It’s quite common to feel some aches and tenderness when you first get your braces. Don’t be alarmed, though. These usual pains won’t last and you can gargle with warm salt water to alleviate the soreness. Simply dissolve a teaspoon of salt in a full glass of water and gargle away!
In some cases, the soreness from braces can be a bit more painful and may require taking mild pain relievers. As your mouth adapts to your new appliances, your lips and cheeks can often become agitated. At your request, we can provide you with wax to cover your braces and help reduce the irritation.
Aside from possible aches and pains, some concerns may arise, such as loose teeth. While loose teeth can be alarming, it’s perfectly normal with braces. As your new braces work to straighten your teeth, they will loosen a bit as they are moved into the correct position.
Sometimes new braces can also irritate your lips or cheeks. A small amount of orthodontic wax can be applied to provide relief. Pinch off a small piece of wax and roll it into a ball the size of a pea. Flatten the ball and place it completely over the bracket. The wax is non-toxic and harmless if it is accidently swallowed. Remember to get a new piece of wax after eating or drinking.
Much like the concerns of loose teeth and pains from braces, the wires, brackets, and bands of your braces may come loose over time. Whether your braces comes loose or pieces break off, be sure to contact us and save any broken pieces. We’ll get your braces repaired in no time.
If needed, you can always push a loose wire back into position with a pencil top or something similar. Sometimes, these loose wires can press against your cheeks or lips, causing irritation. In this case, use wax or a cotton ball to reduce irritation while you wait to come in and get your braces fixed.
If the bracket breaks or comes loose but is not bothering you, you can leave it attached to the wire. Otherwise, you can attempt to use a tweezer and remove the tiny rubber band off the 4 pegs of the bracket. You can then remove the bracket from the wire and discard it.
If you come in for an emergency appointment, we can remove the bracket for you and make you comfortable. We will replace any broken bracket at your next regularly scheduled orthodontic appointment (it will not slow down your treatment progress).
When it comes to caring for your braces, avoiding the foods listed above and wearing any additional appliance such as bands or headgear is crucial, as damage to your braces often lengthens the time you’ll have them on. Crooked teeth and misaligned bites will only be corrected if you utilize your bands, retainers, or headgear. If not, the entire process will take longer and you’ll have to continue avoiding all those tasty foods.
Adding to the proper care of your braces, it’s important to keep them protected when playing sports, as you can damage both your braces and mouth if you’re not careful. Accordingly, we recommend that our patients where a protective mouthguard to avoid any potential harm to your braces.
Learn more about making the best of your orthodontic treatment in our comprehensive guide to braces!
Emergency Orthodontic Care
While orthodontic emergencies are uncommon, it’s still a good idea to be prepared when a potential problem does arise. In any case, patients should promptly notify us of any problems and schedule an appointment to have it repaired. If you’re experiencing severe pain or have a loose wire, be sure to contact us!
Oral Hygiene Instructions
Proper oral hygiene is crucial during your time in braces! Patients with poor hygiene are prone to cavities and gingival inflammation. Furthermore, you can develop permanent white spots on your teeth caused by decalcification.
Brushing – Make sure to brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste after EVERY meal (at least 2- 3 times per day)! We highly recommend using a prescription toothpaste such as Prevident®. You need to brush for 2 minutes each time. You may want to use an electric toothbrush with a timer built in (such as a Sonicare™ or Oral-B™). Don’t forget to brush the gum line very thoroughly!
Flossing – You need to floss at least once per day.You can use traditional floss with a floss threader, superfloss, or pre-strung floss sticks (make sure to use the ones specially made for braces). You may also want to use a water flosser such as Waterpik®.
Fluoride Mouthwash – Lastly, a daily fluoride mouthwash such as Colgate® Phos-Flur is highly recommended to strengthen enamel and prevent white spot lesions.
Food And Your Braces
There’s a list of foods you’ll have to refrain from eating to avoid any damage to your braces. We know how hard it is to give up some of your favorite foods, but avoiding them will make the process much easier. If it’s your first week with braces, you’ll definitely want to take a look at our suggested foods because your mouth may actually be a little sore (which is totally normal).
The following types of food could potentially harm your new appliances, take a look:
- Hard and Chewy Foods – Bagels, pretzels, nuts, and other foods that require excessive chewing can break brackets and damage wires.
- Food that Crunch – Similar to hard-to-chew foods, crunchy chips and popcorn also pose a threat to your brackets.
- Sticky Foods – Sorry candy lovers. Taffy, caramel, and gum are all risky when it comes to braces. These foods can not only pull off your brackets, but also get stuck in areas that are hard to reach for cleaning.
- Big Bites – Foods that need to be bitten into like apples, carrots, and corn on the cob should be avoided. Needless to say, they too may break or damage your braces.
Fortunately, there are still plenty of other foods you can enjoy with braces. As many of the foods you should avoid include tasty treats, ice cream and pudding are great options to get your sugar fix and prevent damage to your braces. Additionally, here is a list of just a few foods you can eat:
- Dairy Products – Soft cheese, milk, pudding, and ice cream
- Bread – Muffins (no nuts), waffles, and tortillas
- Grains – Cooked rice and pasta
- Meat and Seafood – Boneless meat and poultry, tuna, and crab cakes
- Fruits and Vegetables – Bananas, juice, mashed potatoes, peas, and beans
When you’re at Showtime Smiles, you’re under the care of the best orthodontic team in the McKinney area. Our board certified orthodontist, Dr. Bar, has a certification granted by the American Board of Orthodontics. The distinction comes with years of extra residency, additional education and more hands-on patient care. When you choose a board certified orthodontist, you know that you are choosing someone that the dental industry deems the top of the class!
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Please call the office before coming in