Life With Braces

Now that you have your braces, it is very important to take care of them properly. Taking care of your braces will not only help to keep the gum tissue healthy, it will also reduce the time it takes to complete your orthodontic treatment and get your braces off.

Eating with Braces:
Eating with braces is pretty much just common sense. You need to pay attention to what you eat and avoid foods that could damage your braces.

Foods to AVOID with braces:

  • Sticky foods – caramel, taffy, bubble gum
  • Hard foods – nuts, hard candies, ice, Jolly Ranchers, other hard candies
  • Foods that require biting into – corn on the cob, apples, carrots

Foods you CAN eat with braces:

  • Dairy – soft cheese, pudding, milk-based drinks
  • Breads – soft tortillas, pancakes, muffins w/o nuts
  • Grains – pasta, soft cooked rice
  • Meats/poultry – soft cooked chicken, meatballs, lunch meats
  • Seafood – tuna, salmon, crab cakes
  • Vegetables – mashed potatoes, steamed spinach, beans
  • Fruits – applesauce, bananas, fruit juice
  • Treats – ice cream w/o nuts, milkshakes, Jell-O, cake

When you first get your braces, you may notice that your teeth and mouth feel a little tender or sore. This discomfort is perfectly normal, and we promise your mouth will feel much better in a day or two. To relieve the initial discomfort, we recommend eating or drinking something cold and taking an anti-inflammatory: Ibuprophen (Advil or Motrin) or regular aspirin. It is also not uncommon for your lips, cheeks, and tongue to become irritated for several days to a week as they toughen up and become used to the braces. We have given you some wax in your patient care kit which you can use to place over any irritating bracket or wire which will reduce the irritation.

Loose Teeth:
If your teeth feel a little loose, don’t worry; this is normal. Your braces must first loosen your teeth in order to move them into the right position. Once your teeth have been moved, they will stabilize and no longer be loose.

Loose Wires, Bands and Brackets:
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 braces. If any piece of your braces comes off, be sure to save it and bring it to the office with you. You can temporarily fix a poking 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. If the loose wire is causing irritation to your lips or cheeks, put wax or a wet cotton ball over the broken wire to relieve the irritation.

Take Care of your Appliances:
Damaged appliances can increase or extend 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.

Brushing with Braces:
When you have braces, it’s very important to brush and floss regularly in order to keep your teeth and gums healthy throughout your treatment. We will provide you with special brushes and floss designed to keep your braces clean and shiny. Using a dry brush with a small amount of toothpaste, place the bristles where gums and teeth meet. For 10 seconds on each tooth, use circular, vibrating motions around the gum lines. Every tooth of both arches should be brushed slowly. Brush the lower teeth from the gum line up and the upper teeth from the gum line down. Brush the roof of your mouth and your tongue too!

Flossing with Braces:
Carefully thread waxed floss or dental tape between braces and under the archwire. You may find a floss threader helpful or use the SuperFloss included in your patient care kit. Carefully floss the sides of each tooth Pay special attention to the areas close to the gum tissues. Alternate flossing the upper arch one day and and lower arch the next.

Playing Sports with Braces:
You can still play sports even while undergoing orthodontic treatment. If you do play sports, it is recommended that you wear a mouth guard in order to protect your braces, teeth, lips, and cheeks. We will provide you with a mouth guard, available in different colors, that is designed to be used with braces. When you get your braces off, we can fabricate a custom athletic mouth guard in a color of your choice at no charge. In case of a sports emergency, be sure to immediately check your mouth and your appliance for any damage that may have occurred. If you notice any loose teeth, or if your appliance has been damaged, please contact our office right away. You can temporarily relieve the discomfort with wax or by rinsing your mouth with warm salt water. If for whatever reason we are not available, there is always an orthodontist on-call to help with any questions or emergencies.