Congratulations, Brace-Face! You are officially on your way to being a real life adult. We know growing up can be really great or really terrible and the first week of having braces is usually the latter. With that being said, they are necessary to having a healthy and beautiful smile, so here is our advice for you to get through the first week of having those braces.

Brushing

No rushing when brushing! That is the golden rule of keeping your breath fresh, teeth healthy, and braces pristine. When you have braces, it’s extra important to maintain a great brushing routine. You don’t have to brush super hard or super long, just super thoroughly. Take two minutes every day to slough off that nasty plaque and debris. Bacteria feeds off sugar and causes cavities. You definitely don’t want to go in for a filling when you’re already dealing with the braces.

You might be used to brushing twice a day, but you’re going to have to take it to the next level if you have braces. It’s easy for random stuff to get stuck in your brackets and wires, so we actually recommend patients with braces to brush three times a day. We know, three times a day seems like three times too many. It sucks, but it’ll be worth it when you see your pearly whites in a perfect smile, straightened and stain-free.

Flossing

Almost everyone who tells the dentist they floss every day is lying. Except for you. You know better. You actually floss every day… or at least you’re going to. Flossing and brushing are the dynamic duo of oral health. If you practice both every day, you can reduce the risk of tooth decay, gum disease, and all that other yucky stuff. After you get braces, flossing will be even more important because there are so many more nooks and crannies that sugar and bacteria could be hiding with the brackets and wires in place.

When flossing, make sure to get in between and under the teeth to gently scrape out all the plaque. We recommend using about 18 inches of waxed floss because regular floss tends to get stuck in the brackets and cause a mess. If it’s just taking to long, you can invest in a water flosser, which is a machine that spurts pressurized water between your teeth to remove debris.

Waxing

After you first get your braces, you may feel slight pain or soreness. That’s totally normal. It’s caused by the movement of the teeth being pushed or pulled by the wires and brackets. If you feel severe pain or experience bleeding, however, you’ll want to contact your orthodontist.

Usually, the brackets and wires used for braces are made of metal. When you first get them fitted, they might poke and prod your mouth in an uncomfortable way. That’s where wax comes in! Soft dental wax is used to alleviate any sharp edges and corners from your braces. Just pull a piece off and affix it to the offending area an ta da! Instant peace of mind (and mouth).

You can usually get wax at most convenience stores or at the dentist’s office. If a certain wire is just too long to cover with wax, you can always ask your dentist to cut or adjust it.

Sometimes, you might not even notice that a piece of metal is poking your mouth until you get a painful sore a few days later. In that case, we recommend rinsing your mouth with warm salt water to clean the area and applying a generous amount of wax to the part of your braces that caused it. The sore should heal and it may form a callus, which is tougher skin. If it does, don’t worry about it – that’s just the body’s way of forming a natural shield.

Eating

Your orthodontist will probably give you a list of foods you should stay away from and a list of foods you can eat.

Since your teeth are probably sensitive, we recommend eating soft foods like:

  • Yogurt
  • Soup
  • Cheese
  • Mashed potatoes

Avoid sticky, hard, crunchy  or chewy foods like:

  • Apples
  • Caramel
  • Faffy
  • Jerky
  • Popcorn

These foods are hard to clean, they can easily get stuck in your teeth, and they can damage your braces. For any tea and coffee aficionados, try using a straw, so you don’t stain your teeth.

After you eat, you should always brush and floss. It might seem weird to brush or floss if you just had lunch at school or had a snack after soccer practice, but it’s the only way to get rid of leftover food that could wreak havoc on your teeth. Plus, at least you’ll know you’re not walking around with food in your teeth!

Socializing

Having all this extra stuff in your mouth can make it difficult to speak. A lot of patients develop a lisp from braces, but it usually goes away after the second or third week. At Showtime Smiles, we firmly believe that every cloud has a silver lining. In this case, every bracket has a straighter tooth. Though you may be tempted to stay home and lock yourself in a room, we encourage you to go out and practice talking. Enunciate more and use your hands to help you illustrate your points. You may even come out of this experience as a more eloquent and expressive communicator!

Having braces can also be a great conversation starter. We offer WildSmiles Braces at Showtime Smiles. They’re essentially regular braces, but they come in cool colors and shapes. Kids can choose from pink flowers to green stars for their brackets. It’s a creative and fun approach to braces that’s sure to get people talking!

Whether you’re at a party with friends or simply going to school, we highly recommend bringing a small orthodontic care pack.

Here’s what it should include:

  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Floss
  • Wax
  • Mouthwash (optional)

This will make it easy to keep your teeth clean in case you’re craving a sweet drink or snack.

Emergencies

If you have an orthodontic emergency, call your orthodontist immediately. If a tooth is knocked out or the jaw is injured with braces on, you’ll want professional help as soon as possible.

Emergencies can’t always be prevented, but there are certain situations that you can reduce your chances of being in one. When playing heavy contact sports, always wear a mouthguard and helmet whether or not you have braces. They protect your mouth and jaw. Ask your orthodontist about mouthguards for braces, so you can stay safe.

Your first week with braces may seem long, but it’ll be over soon. Before you know it, you’ll have a dazzling smile! Just keep these tips in mind to keep your teeth clean and healthy throughout the process. At Showtime Smiles in McKinney, we try to make the process of getting braces as simple and painless as possible. Give us a call if you have a question or problem with yours!

If you are considering visiting an orthodontist or getting braces, feel free to contact us!

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