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
This is typically the first question patients ask us. What can I eat? Let’s talk about what you shouldn’t eat! For the first day or so, stick to soft foods. Avoid tough meats, hard breads, and raw vegetables (anything that requires some effort to chew). Before long, you’ll be able to bite a cucumber again. But you’ll need to protect your orthodontic appliances when you eat for as long as you’re wearing braces.
Foods to Avoid
- Chewy foods: bagels, hard rolls, licorice
- Crunchy foods: popcorn, ice
- Sticky foods: caramels, gum
- Hard foods: nuts, candy
- Foods you have to bite into: corn on the cob, apples, carrots
Chewing on hard things (for example, pens, pencils or fingernails) can damage the braces. Damaged braces will cause treatment to take longer.
When you get your braces on, you may feel general soreness in your mouth and teeth may be tender to biting pressures for 3 – 5 days. Take Tylenol or whatever you normally take for headache or discomfort. The lips, cheeks and tongue may also become irritated for one to two weeks as they toughen and become accustomed to the braces. We will supply wax to put on the braces in irritated areas to lessen discomfort. You can also find ‘orthodontic wax’ at the pharmacy in the toothbrush aisle.
Loosening of Teeth
Don’t worry! It’s normal. This always makes us giggle 🙂 Of course your teeth are moving! But in all fairness, we acknowledge that it might be a little alarming to actually witness this for the first time. Teeth must loosen first so they can move. Then, the teeth will firm up in their new — corrected — positions after treatment is completed.
Loose Wire or Band
Don’t be alarmed if a wire or band comes loose. This happens occasionally. If a wire sticks out and is irritating, use a blunt instrument (eraser end of a pencil) and carefully, gently push the irritating wire back under the archwire. Simply get it out of the way. If irritation to the lips or mouth continues, place the wax we gave you during your bonding appointment on the wire or bracket to reduce the discomfort, then call our office as soon as possible for an appointment to check and repair the problem.
Rubber Band Wear
To successfully complete orthodontic treatment, the patient must work together with the orthodontist. The teeth and jaws can only move toward their corrected positions if the patient consistently wears the rubber bands or other appliances as prescribed. Lack of cooperation following instructions and damaged appliances lengthen the treatment time… so please … follow instructions.
If you play sports, it’s important you let us know. Athletes who have braces must wear a specific type of mouthguard that does not interfere with their orthodontic treatment. Ask us about this!