Now that you have your braces, how do you take care of them? It’s important for you to know how to properly take care of your braces throughout your entire orthodontic treatment.
Eating with Braces
Don’t worry, you’ll be eating popcorn and snacking on potato chips again in no time! However, before you can start enjoying some of the treats you love, you will need to take special care to avoid any foods that could damage your new appliances.
Foods to avoid with braces:
- Chewy foods — bagels, licorice, Starbursts, Skittles, Lollipops, Laffy Taffy, Air Heads, Fruit Roll ups, Gummies, etc.
- Crunchy foods — popcorn, chips, ice, granola, croutons
- Sticky foods — caramel candies, bubble gum
- Hard foods — nuts, hard candies
- Foods that require biting into — corn on the cob (cut off the cob), apples (slice apples)
Foods you CAN eat with braces:
- Dairy — soft cheese, pudding, milk-based drinks
- Breads — soft tortillas, pancakes, muffins without nuts
- Grains — pasta, soft cooked rice
- Meats/poultry — soft cooked chicken, meatballs, lunch meats
- Seafood — tuna, salmon, crab cakes
- Vegetables — mashed potatoes, steamed vegetables, beans
- Fruits — applesauce, bananas, fruit juice, berries, melons
- Treats — ice cream without nuts, milkshakes, Jell-O, cake
Soreness Caused from Braces and Appliances
When you first get your braces, you may notice that your teeth and mouth feel a little tender or sore. This is perfectly normal, and we promise your mouth will not be sore forever! To relieve the pain, we recommend a saltwater mouth rinse and take Ibuprofen.
To create your own, dissolve one teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of lukewarm water. Swish and gargle this solution in your mouth for just a couple of minutes (do not swallow the saltwater).
If the pain is more severe and does not go away after rinsing, you can also try taking a pain reliever. It is also 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 that you can put over the braces to lessen the tenderness. If you need some wax, please let us know.
If your teeth begin feeling a little loose, don’t worry; this is normal! Your braces must first loosen your teeth to move them into the right position. Once your teeth have been repositioned, they will no longer be loose, and we’re on the right track toward straight, shining teeth.
Loose Wires and Bands
Sometimes the wires and bands on your braces may come loose. If this happens, please contact us as soon as possible so that we can check and repair your appliance. If any piece of your appliance comes off, be sure to save it in an envelope or plastic bag to bring to the office with you.
You can temporarily fix the loose wire by using the back of a spoon or the eraser end of a pencil to carefully and gently push the wire back into place. Another option would be to use a pair of tweezers or needle-nosed pliers, try to put your wire back into place. If you cannot put the wire into a comfortable position, and covering the end with wax doesn’t help, as a last resort use a small fingernail clipper to clip the wire behind the last tooth to which it is securely fastened. If the end of the wire is still sharp place wax on it.
Take Care of Your Appliances
Damaged appliances can increase the length of your treatment process, so be sure to take care of all your appliances. Your teeth and jaw can only move into their correct positions if you consistently wear the rubber bands, headgear, retainer, or other appliances prescribed by your doctor.
Playing Sports with Braces
Game, Set, Match — we have great news for athletes! You can still play sports even while undergoing orthodontic treatment! If you do play sports, it’s recommended that you wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth and your appliance. Let your doctor know if you need help finding the right mouthguard for the best protection.
In case of a sports emergency, be sure to immediately check your mouth and appliance for damage. If you notice any loose teeth or appliance damage, please contact our office right away. You can temporarily relieve the discomfort by applying wax or rinsing your mouth with warm saltwater.