Life With Braces

Congratulations on choosing to embark on the journey to a beautiful and healthy smile with braces for your orthodontic treatment! There’s a lot to discuss with your orthodontic team about maintaining your braces’ cleanliness, dietary considerations, and general expectations of life with braces. But fret not; if there’s anything specific you’ve forgotten to inquire about, we’ve got you covered right here.

Ensuring our patients know how to effectively care for their braces and maintain optimal dental health while minimizing discomfort is paramount to us. Take a look at this handy guide we’ve prepared.

Now that you have your braces, how do you go about caring for them properly throughout your entire orthodontic treatment?

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WHAT CAN I EAT WITH BRACES?

No need to stress too much; these recommendations are only temporary and applicable during your treatment. You’ll soon be able to indulge in your favorite snacks like popcorn, BBQ ribs, and other beloved dishes.

However, it’s essential to remember that certain dietary choices should be avoided to prevent damaging your braces and minimizing the risk of tooth decay.

FOODS TO AVOID WITH BRACES:

  • Chewy foods: bagels, licorice
  • Crunchy foods: popcorn, chips, ice
  • Sticky foods: caramel candies, chewing gum
  • Hard foods: nuts, 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
  • Bread:  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 spinach, beans
  • Fruits: applesauce, bananas, fruit juice
  • Treats: ice cream without nuts, milkshakes, Jell-O, soft cake

ORTHODONTIC EMERGENCIES

Although rare, you may find yourself alarmed due to any of the following situations:

COPING WITH DISCOMFORT FROM BRACES AND APPLIANCES

It’s important to understand that experiencing some level of discomfort is normal when beginning treatment with braces or other orthodontic appliances.

The movements and pressure involved in your treatment may leave your mouth feeling tender initially. Rest assured, this discomfort typically subsides within a few days following each adjustment.

To alleviate discomfort, there are simple remedies available. In addition to over-the-counter pain relievers, you can use saltwater rinses. Mix one teaspoon of salt with eight ounces of lukewarm water in a glass, then swish and gargle with this solution. However, be sure not to swallow the water.

You may also notice irritation on the inside of your cheeks, lips, or tongue. Saltwater rinses can help alleviate this discomfort as well. Additionally, your orthodontist can provide orthodontic wax to cover your brackets, helping to prevent further irritation.

LOOSE TEETH

In addition to soreness and discomfort, you may notice that your teeth feel loose. This is a normal occurrence, as your teeth need to slightly loosen before the braces can effectively reposition them. Once your teeth reach their intended position with proper alignment, this sensation of looseness will diminish.

LOOSE WIRES AND BANDS OR LOOSE BRACKETS

Occasionally, some patients may consume foods that don’t fully damage their appliance but could cause minor issues. Wires and bands on your braces may become loose, prompting you to contact us right away for assessment and repair of the orthodontic appliance. If any pieces detach, please save them for our evaluation.

Loose wires causing discomfort inside your cheeks can be temporarily addressed with a simple DIY fix. You can use the back of a spoon or another blunt object, such as an eraser on the back of a pencil, to carefully nudge and secure the wire back into place. Alternatively, applying orthodontic wax over the wire can prevent it from causing irritation. Maintaining the correct positions of these wires and bands is essential for maximizing the efficiency of your treatment.

Additionally, brackets may come off due to residual food particles in your mouth or consuming inappropriate foods. You can attempt to reposition these brackets until you can visit our office for a more permanent solution.

HOW TO CARE FOR YOUR BRACES AND CLEAR ALIGNERS

BRUSH YOUR TEETH WITH BRACES

Maintaining excellent oral hygiene throughout your treatment is crucial to prevent issues such as tooth decay and cavities. When brushing your teeth, ensure you angle your toothbrush downward at a 45-degree angle to thoroughly clean each tooth.

Please remember to use dental floss and consider complementing the practice with an interdental brush or water irrigator to completely do away with any leftover food particles caught in between your teeth.

TAKE CARE OF YOUR APPLIANCES

Failure to take proper care of your orthodontic appliances can lead to accidents and potentially prolong your treatment. Be diligent in using any prescribed rubber bands, headgear, additional retainers, or attachments to ensure optimal treatment efficiency.

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HOW TO CLEAN YOUR CLEAR ALIGNERS

To clean your aligners effectively, use water and non-abrasive toothpaste. Alternatively, you can use liquid soap and a soft-bristled toothbrush to clean your appliance gently. Remember to remove your aligner trays during meals to prevent issues and reduce the risk of tooth decay and cavities.

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PLAYING SPORTS WITH BRACES

Exciting news for athletes! You don’t need to pause your athletic endeavors during orthodontic treatment. You can still engage in your favorite sports while wearing braces. However, we strongly advise wearing a mouthguard to safeguard both your teeth and the appliance. For those with removable appliances, simply remove them and store them safely in their case. 

If you were to suffer a sports accident or any other orthodontic emergency, make sure to get in touch with us and check your mouth for any damage. We will gladly help you out as soon as possible.

Contact our office today for your complimentary evaluation at (916) 924-8970.