Now that you have your braces, how do you take care of them? It’s important for you to know how to properly take care of your braces throughout your entire treatment.
Don’t worry, you’ll be eating popcorn and snacking on potato chips in no time! However, before you can start enjoying some of the treats you love, you will need to take special care to avoid any food that could damage your new appliances.
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
For the first few days, eat only soft foods. Avoid tough meats, hard breads, raw vegetables, and anything that is sticky or chewy. We ask our patients to lower their sugar intake, this include sodas and juices. This will help with your braces and the overall health of your gums and teeth. In order to protect your braces, avoid the following foods:
- Chewy/Sticky Foods: Caramel Candies, Chewing Gum (with sugar or sugar-free), Bagels, Licorice, Gummy Bears, Taffy
- Crunchy Foods: Popcorn, Ice, Chips
- Hard Foods: Nuts, Hard Candies, Bread with Hard Crusts
- Foods You Have to Bite Into: Corn on the Cob, Apples, Carrots
Cut these into SMALL pieces and eat carefully! These foods can break your brackets off your teeth, potentially lengthening your treatment time.
When you first 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. This is perfectly normal and we promise your mouth will not be sore forever! Take Tylenol (acetaminophen) or whatever you normally take for headache or discomfort. The lips, cheek and tongue may also become irritated for one to two weeks as they toughen and become accustomed to braces. We would be happy to give you some wax to put over the braces to lessen the tenderness.
Loosening of Teeth
If your teeth begin feeling a little loose, don’t worry; this is normal. Teeth must loosen first so they can move. The teeth will firm up in their new – corrected – positions after treatment is completed.
Loose Wires and Bands
The wires and bands on your braces may come loose. If something does happen to break, make sure to call our office and let us know prior to your appointment so that we can schedule adequate time to repair whatever is broken. Otherwise, we may have to push back the repair to the following appointment, which can prolong the time spent in braces. 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 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 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 corrected positions if you consistently wear the rubber bands, headgear, retainer, or other appliances prescribed by Dr. Leong.
Game, Set, Match – we have great news for athletes! You can still play sports even while undergoing orthodontic treatment! Dr. Leong is a huge sports fan and understands the enthusiasm his young patients have for school sports!
If you do play sports, it’s recommended that you wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth and your appliance. Let Dr. Leong know if you need help finding the right mouthguard for the best protection. Most sporting goods stores carry mouth guards that are specifically designed to fit around orthodontic appliances.
In case of any accident involving the face, check your mouth and your braces. If the teeth are loosened or your braces are damaged, call our office immediately to schedule an appointment.