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 orthodontic treatment.
Eating with Braces
Don't worry, you can eat most types of foods with braces! Just follow these two simple rules:
Rule #1: It’s not so much what you eat, but how you eat it!
- Be careful when eating sticky, gooey, gummy or chewy foods as well as hard and crunchy foods (like taffy, granola bars, bagels, nuts, chips and ice). You may also find that you need to modify how you eat things (examples: cutting up apples instead of biting into them or tearing off bite size pieces of sandwiches).
Rule #2: If it isn’t edible, please don’t try to eat it!
- Chewing on things like water bottles, pens and fingernails can also damage your braces. We suggest substituting sugarless chewing gum instead…your teeth will thank you!
With a little extra caution, you will find that you can eat most things and really won’t have to modify your diet much while wearing braces! Keep in mind that to keep your teeth and gums healthy, you should always brush your teeth after eating, especially after having foods that are sugary or get stuck in your braces.
Soreness Caused from Braces and Appliances
When you first get your braces, you may notice that your teeth may feel a little tender. This is perfectly normal and we promise your mouth will not be sore forever! To relieve the pain, we recommend taking a pain reliever or chewing on a piece of sugarless gum—yes, GUM! Recent studies have shown that chewing gum can be very effective in relieving orthodontic discomfort, so it’s a good idea to keep some handy!
It is also not uncommon for your lips and cheeks to be irritated for one or two weeks as they become used to the braces. We would be happy to give you some wax that you can put over the braces to reduce the tenderness. If you need some, please let us know!
If your teeth begin feeling a little loose, don't worry. Although it may seem unusual, this is normal! Your braces must first loosen your teeth slightly to move them into the right position. However, once your teeth have been repositioned, they will stabilize and no longer be loose.
Loose Wires and Bands
Occasionally, one of your braces, wires or bands may come loose. If this happens, please contact us as soon as possible so that we can check and repair the appliance. 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 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, you may use a fingernail clipper or small wire cutter to cut the wire. If it is too hard to access you may put wax or a wet cotton ball over the broken wire to relieve the irritation.
Playing Sports with Braces
We have great news for athletes: you can still play sports with braces! If you do play sports, it's recommended that you wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth and your appliances. Luckily, there are mouthguards that are made to fit over braces. You can usually find them at sports stores or may also purchase one from our office.
Take Care of Your Appliances
Damaged and broken appliances can increase the length of your treatment process, so be sure to take care of all your appliances. It is also very important that you follow the instructions given by your orthodontist. Your teeth and jaw will only move into their correct positions if you consistently wear the rubber bands, headgear or other appliances as recommended.