Now that you have your braces, how do you take care of them? It’s important for you to know how to take care of your braces properly throughout your entire orthodontic treatment. Dr. Murphy wants to make sure your treatment goes as smoothly for you as possible.
Please review the following information, and as always, if you have any questions, we are happy to help!
Eating with Braces
Don’t worry; you’ll be eating popcorn and snacking on potato chips again in no time! However, before you can start enjoying some of the treats you love, you will need to take special care to avoid any foods that could damage your new appliances.
At Friendship Heights Orthodontics, we have researched and use the strongest cement available. The braces will rarely be damaged immediately, but repeated stress can cause loose brackets or poking wires, and even make your teeth more crooked and add to your treatment time!
Foods to avoid with braces
- Chewy foods — bagels, licorice
- Crunchy foods — popcorn, chips, ice
- Sticky foods — caramel candies, chewing gum
- Hard foods — nuts, hard candies
- Foods that require biting into — corn on the cob, apples, carrots
Foods you CAN eat with braces
- Dairy — soft cheese, pudding, milk-based drinks
- Breads — soft tortillas, pancakes, muffins without nuts
- Grains — pasta, soft cooked rice
- Meats/poultry — soft cooked chicken, meatballs, lunch meats
- Seafood — tuna, salmon, crab cakes
- Vegetables — mashed potatoes, steamed spinach, beans
- Fruits — applesauce, bananas, fruit juice
- Treats — ice cream without nuts, milkshakes, Jell-O, soft cake
Soreness Caused by Braces and Appliances
When you first get your braces, you may notice that your teeth and mouth feel a little tender or sore. This is perfectly normal, and we promise your mouth will not be sore forever!
Using your teeth helps the discomfort go away. Pretend you are chewing imaginary gum! To relieve the pain, we recommend dissolving one teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of lukewarm water. Swish and gargle this solution in your mouth for just a couple of minutes, but do not swallow the salt water.
If the pain is more severe and does not go away after rinsing, you can also try taking a pain reliever. It is not uncommon for your lips, cheeks, and tongue to become irritated for one to two weeks as they toughen and become used to the braces.
We would be happy to give you some wax you can put over the braces to lessen the tenderness. If you need some wax, please let us know.
If your teeth begin to feel a little loose, don’t worry; this is normal! Your braces must first loosen your teeth to move them into the right position. Once your teeth have been repositioned, they will no longer be loose.
Loose Wires and Bands
Don’t worry! This is not an emergency! The wires and bands on your braces may come loose. If any piece of your appliance comes off, be sure to save it and bring it to the office with you to your next visit. Please contact us so we may determine if we need to see you sooner than your next scheduled visit.
You can temporarily fix the loose wire by using the back of a spoon or the eraser end of a pencil to push the wire carefully and gently back into place. If the loose wire is causing irritation to your lips or cheeks, put wax or a wet cotton ball over the broken wire to relieve the pain.
Take Care of Your Appliances
Damaged appliances can increase the length of your treatment process, so be sure to take care of all your appliances. Your teeth and jaw can only move into their correct positions if you wear the rubber bands, headgear, retainer, or other appliances consistently as prescribed by your doctor.
Playing Sports with Braces
Game, set, and match — we have great news for athletes! You can still play sports even while undergoing orthodontic treatment! If you do play sports, it’s recommended that you wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth and your appliance. Let us know if you need help finding the right mouthguard for the best protection.
In case of a sports injury, be sure to check your mouth and appliance immediately for damage. If you notice any loose teeth or appliance damage, please contact our office. You can temporarily relieve the discomfort by applying wax or rinsing your mouth with warm salt water. If you have damaged your teeth, please contact your general dentist immediately.