Life With Braces
Now that you have braces, you will need to make a few changes. Learning to take care of your braces and teeth will be important for the next several months. Proper care and oral hygiene will help you keep your teeth healthy and braces in good condition.
Watch What You Eat
You can still eat a wide variety of foods, but some will be off limits during your treatment. For the time being, you want to avoid eating those foods that will cause damage to your braces. Foods to avoid are:
- Chewy foods such as bagels and licorice
- Crunchy food such as popcorn, chips or ice
- Sticky foods like caramel candy/chewing gum
- Hard foods like nuts and hard candies
- Foods you need to bite into such as corn on the cob, apples and carrots
That list may have you thinking you will be going on a very restrictive diet. However, there are many foods you can eat with braces including:
- Dairy, including soft cheeses, puddings, smoothies and milk-based drinks
- Breads including muffins minus the nuts, pancakes, soft tortillas
- Grains including soft cooked rice and all types of pasta
- Meats and poultry such as soft cooked chicken, meatballs, lunch meats
- Seafood including tuna, salmon and crab cakes
- Vegetables like steamed spinach, beans and mashed potatoes
- Soft fruits like applesauce and bananas
- Treats such as ice cream that does not have nuts, milkshakes, Jell-O and soft cake
- Fruit juices – although you should go easy on the juice because it has a high sugar content
Choose foods that will not stick to your braces or be hard enough to break them or dislodge the arch wires. Make good food choices, and you will have fewer trips to the dental office for repairs and adjustments.
Expect Some Discomfort
The first few days of wearing braces you will probably notice soreness. Your mouth and teeth may feel a little tender as you adjust to your new braces. This is perfectly normal, and the discomfort will not last during your entire treatment. To help with the pain, dissolve one teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of lukewarm water. Swish this solution around in your mouth, and gargle with it for a couple of minutes. Be sure to spit it out, and do not swallow it.
If the saltwater solution does not provide relief, you can use over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. It may take a couple of weeks for your lips, cheeks and tongue to toughen up and get used to the braces. Sometimes a coating of wax over the braces will help. We are happy to supply you with wax for this purpose.
When Things Feel Loose
Your teeth and the bone around them are going through some changes as the braces do their work. You may notice your teeth feeling a little loose during this time, which is normal. The teeth will loosen as they migrate to the new position. Once they are in place, they will become stable in the bone once again.
You may also notice that the wires and bands on your braces may become loose every now and then. If this should happen, give us a call. We will check your appliance and make adjustments and/or repairs as needed. Be sure to call if any piece of your appliance breaks off. Save the part, and bring it to the office when you come.
To temporarily fix a loose wire before you can get to our office, use the back of a spoon or the eraser end of a pencil. Carefully and gently push the wire back into place. If you experience irritation from the wire, use wax to cover the irritating part or put a wet cotton ball over the broken bit.
Take Good Care of Your Appliances
When you take good care of your braces, your treatment will progress on time. Damaged appliances can lengthen the time it takes to move the teeth into the desired position. Consistency is needed to ensure the teeth move into their correct positions on time. Be sure to wear the rubber bands, headgear, retainer or other appliances your doctor prescribes for you.
Playing Sports with Braces
Worried that your braces will sideline you? If you are an athlete, we have great news! You can still play sports while wearing braces. It is important to wear a mouthguard while on the field or court to protect your teeth and your appliance. Talk to Dr. Schatz about a custom mouthguard for the best protection.
If you do get a mouth injury while playing, contact our office right away. Any loose teeth or damage to your appliance should be addressed as soon as possible. Use a saltwater rinse to relieve discomfort and for damaged wires, place wax over the broken part.
New braces will take a little getting used to, but keep in mind the final result – a smile with beautifully straight teeth. If you have questions, be sure to contact Schatz Orthodontics today.