You have braces, so now what? How do you take care of them? What can you eat? How should they feel? What should you expect?
Soreness 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 dissolving 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 salt water).
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 will be happy to give you some wax that you can put over the braces to lessen the tenderness. If you need some wax, please just let us know.
How to Care for your Braces
Brush twice every day, or, better yet, after each meal because bits of food get trapped in your mouth more easily when you have braces. If you do not brush these bits off, you might end up with little white spots called decalcification where the brackets used to be on the tooth when they are removed. If your teeth and gums are not clean, your teeth will not move as quickly, delaying when you get your braces off.
It is also critical to floss daily. This requires a little plastic and flexible threader that you can use to get the floss under the wires and really reach under the gums. Our office will provide you a fluoride rinse to help protect the enamel on your teeth as well.
What can I eat with braces?
- Switch to soft food - Soft dishes, such as poultry, seafood, soups, stews or pasta save your braces from unnecessary endurance tests.
- Preferably morsels - Cut harder food (such as steak, pizza or crusty bread) into small pieces so as to be able to chew it better. The same also applies to fresh fruit and vegetables.
- Not sticky - Take care with sticky or hard food such as nuts, caramel or chewing gum. They can damage your braces and cannot easily be removed when cleaning your teeth.
- The less sugar, the better - Foods containing a lot of sugar such as lemonade, chocolate, etc. attack enamel and during your treatment should have the lowest priority in your food plan. If you cannot resist sweets, you should brush your braces and teeth thoroughly afterwards.
If your teeth begin feeling a little loose, do not 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.
Loose wires and bands
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 and bring it 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. 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 pain.
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 is recommended that you wear a mouth guard to protect your teeth and your appliance. Let your doctor know if you need help finding the right mouth guard 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 salt water.