Brushing and Flossing
It is more important than ever to brush and floss regularly when you have braces, so that your teeth and gums stay healthy during orthodontic treatment. Because braces make brushing and flossing more challenging and require adjusting your habits to keep a healthy smile, patients who do not keep their teeth clean may require more frequent visits to their Primary Care Dentist (PCD) 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
Perhaps one of our most-asked questions about life with braces is “What can I eat?” Let’s talk about it! For the first day or so after an adjustment, stick to soft foods. Avoid tough meats, hard breads, and raw vegetables. 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 also damage the braces. Damaged braces will cause treatment to take longer and may result in additional appointment time.
When you get your braces on, you may feel general soreness in your mouth, and teeth may be tender to biting pressures for 1 to 7 days. If necessary, you can take ibuprofen (Advil® or Motrin®) or naproxen (Aleve®) for a brief time. All non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications help with the discomfort, but also prevent tooth movement. The lips, cheeks, and tongue may also become irritated for 1 to 2 weeks as they toughen and become accustomed to the braces. Orthodontic wax is an easy way to solve this challenge. We will supply wax to put on the braces in irritated areas to lessen discomfort.
Loosening of Teeth
Yes, your teeth may become a bit loose during treatment. While this is scary, it’s totally normal! This is to be expected throughout treatment. Teeth must loosen first so that they can move. 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, carefully use a blunt instrument (like the eraser end of a pencil), disinfect it with rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide, and carefully, gently push the irritating wire back under the archwire. You should only try this if your discomfort becomes unmanageable with only orthodontic wax. Simply get it out of the way. If irritation to the lips or mouth continues, place additional wax or wet cotton on the wire to reduce the annoyance. Call or text our office as soon as possible for an appointment to check and repair the problem.
Elastic (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, a protective mouthguard is recommended for playing contact sports.