All About Braces

Brushing and Flossing

It’s more important than ever to brush and floss regularly when you have braces, so the teeth and gums are healthy during orthodontic treatment. Patients who do not keep their teeth clean may require more frequent visits to the dentist for a professional cleaning. Adults who have a history of gum disease should also see a periodontist during orthodontic treatment. Watch the two videos below on the proper care of braces during orthodontic treatment.

Eating with Braces

What can you eat? Let’s talk about what you shouldn’t eat! For the first day or so, stick to soft foods. Avoid tough meats, hard breads, and raw vegetables. Before long, you’ll be able to eat most of what you ate before you got your braces. That said, you’ll still need to protect your orthodontic appliances when you eat by trying to avoid some foods.

Foods to Avoid

  • Chewy foods: bagels, hard rolls, Twizzlers
  • Crunchy foods: popcorn, ice
  • Sticky foods: caramels, gum
  • Hard foods: nuts, candy
  • Foods you have to bite into: corn on the cob; uncooked apples, carrots

Chewing on hard things (for example, pens, pencils or fingernails) can also damage the braces. Damaged braces will cause treatment to take longer!

General Soreness

When you get your braces on, you may feel general soreness in your mouth and your teeth may be tender to biting pressures for 3 – 5 days. Take Tylenol or whatever you normally take for headache or discomfort. Your lips, cheeks and tongue may also become irritated for one to two weeks as they “toughen up” and become accustomed to the braces. We will supply wax to put on the braces in irritated areas to lessen the discomfort.

Loosening of Teeth

This is to be expected throughout treatment. Don’t worry! It’s normal. Teeth must loosen first so they can move. The teeth will firm up in their new — corrected — positions after treatment is completed.

Loose Wire or Band

Don’t be alarmed if a wire or band comes loose. This happens occasionally. If a wire sticks out and is irritating, use a blunt instrument (eraser end of a pencil) and carefully, gently push the irritating wire back under the archwire. Simply get it out of the way. If irritation to the lips or mouth continues, place wax or wet cotton on the wire to reduce the annoyance. Call our office as soon as possible for an appointment to check and repair the problem.

Rubber Band Wear

To successfully complete orthodontic treatment, the patient must work together with the orthodontist. Although your teeth can almost always be straightened, the teeth and jaws can only move toward their most ideally corrected positions if rubber bands and/or other appliances are worn consistently and as prescribed. Lack of cooperation following instructions and damaged appliances lengthen the treatment time… so please … follow instructions.

Athletics

If you play sports, it’s important you let us know. A protective mouthguard is recommended for playing contact sports.