Adjusting to Life with Braces
For the first few days after the braces are placed, the teeth are usually sore or tender. Over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen will help relieve this discomfort. Other areas of the mouth, such as the lips, tongue, and checks may also be sore as they adjust to the surface of the braces. Using orthodontic wax on the braces as directed will help relieve the discomfort caused by rubbing. Rinsing the mouth with warm salt water will also help speed up the adjustment process.
Brushing and Flossing with Braces
Brushing and flossing with braces is undoubtedly more difficult, it is also more important than ever. Food tends to accumulate around braces, especially near the gum line. If teeth are not cleaned and flossed regularly, cavities and/or periodontal disease may develop. After the braces are placed, instructions on how best to brush and floss will be given. However, it’s important to continue seeing your general dentist every six months. Regular cleanings will help remove any calculus you may have missed when cleaning your teeth and will help prevent issues like gum disease.
Eating with Braces
After the braces are placed and after they are adjusted, the teeth will most likely be sore for a few days. It may be necessary to alter your diet to softer foods. After the tenderness has subsided, patients may return to their normal diet. However, limitations in the diet are required. Some foods can damage braces; damaged braces will lengthen the time of treatment.
Patients with braces should avoid:
- -Chewy Foods: bagels, hard rolls, licorice, tough meats, etc.
- -Crunchy Foods: popcorn, ice, hard pretzels, etc.
- -Sticky Foods: gum, gummy bears, caramels, Skittles, etc.
- -Hard Foods: nuts, candy, etc.
- -Foods You Bite Into: corn-on-the-cob, apples, carrots, pizza crust
- -Chewing on Hard Things: pens, pencils, fingernails
Loosening of Teeth
It is normal for teeth to periodically become loose during orthodontic treatment. As they are repositioned, it is important for teeth to loosen and become more mobile prior to being moved. The teeth will loose mobility after the braces are removed.
Poking Wire or Loose Bracket
Every now and then a wire or bracket will become loose. It is important to call our office if a bracket comes off so that it can be repaired. If a wire protrudes or if a loose bracket is irritating, place dental wax over the area to reduce irritation. Call our office and we will schedule an appointment to repair the issue.
You can still play sports even while undergoing orthodontic treatment! We do recommend that athletes wear a mouth guard to protect the teeth and appliance. A mouth guard that is designed to fit around the braces is advised when playing sports involving contact.