Life with Braces
Eating with Braces
Having braces will necessitate some changes to your diet. For the first day or so, stick to soft foods. Avoid tough meats, hard bread 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, chips
- 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 be damaging to 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 feel tender to biting pressures for three to five days. This can be relieved by rinsing your mouth with a warm saltwater mouthwash. Dissolve 5 ml of salt in 235 ml of warm water, and rinse your mouth vigorously. If the tenderness is severe, take whatever you normally take for headache or similar pain (Tylenol, Motrin, Advil).
The lips, cheeks and tongue may also become irritated for one to two weeks as they toughen and become accustomed to the surface of the braces. You can put wax on the braces to lessen this. We'll show you how!
Loosening of Teeth
This is to be expected throughout treatment. Don't worry! It's normal. Teeth must loosen first so they can be moved. The teeth will again become rigidly fixed in their new - corrected - positions.
Don't be alarmed if a wire or band comes loose. This happens occasionally. If a wire protrudes and is irritating, use a blunt instrument (back of spoon or eraser end of a pencil) and gently push the irritating wire under the arch wire. If irritation to the lips or mouth continues, place wax or wet cotton on the wire to reduce the annoyance. Call our office as soon as possible for an appointment to check and repair the appliance. If any piece comes off, save it and bring it with you to the office.
Brackets/Bands are prone to come loose, particularly at the beginning as you are getting used to them. The most common cause is trying to eat things that are too hard.
If a bracket comes loose, but is not bothering you, phone our office to let us know. We will make sure we have adequate time at your next regular appointment to repair it. A loose bracket or band does not require an emergency visit to the office.
If the loose bracket is the last one in the back of your mouth, it may slide off the back of the archwire and you can remove it yourself, please save it. The wire then may be too long and if it pokes your cheek, you could try snipping it off with nail clippers or a small pair of wire cutters. Make sure you clean them after you’ve taken them out of your Dad’s tool kit and before you put them in your mouth!!
If a loose bracket is irritating or bothering you, let us know right away and will we get you into to our office to alleviate the irritation. We may need to bring you back in the future to repair the broken bracket. The same goes if the bracket or band was used to anchor an elastic band, headgear or other removable appliance.
Care of Orthodontic Appliances
To successfully complete the treatment plan, the patient must work together with the orthodontist. The teeth and jaw can only move toward their connected positions if the patient consistently wears the rubber bands, headgear or other appliances as prescribed. The patient must also care for the appliances as instructed. Damaged appliances lengthen the treatment time.
When you have braces, it's more important than ever to brush and floss regularly. Not only will proper oral hygiene assure the teeth and gums are healthy after treatment, healthy teeth move faster. 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 may also need to see a periodontist during orthodontic treatment.
If you play sports, it's important that you consult us for special precautions. A protective mouth guard is advised for playing contact sports. In case of any accident involving the face, check your mouth and the appliances immediately. If teeth are loosened or the appliance is damaged, phone at once for an appointment. In the meantime, treat your discomfort as your would treat any general soreness.