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'll be eating popcorn and snacking on apples again in no time! In the meantime, you’ll need to take special care to avoid any foods that could damage your new appliances. The better care you take of your braces, the sooner you can have them taken off!
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
Feel a little sore?
When you first get your braces, you may notice that your teeth and mouth feel a little tender or sore for a few days. This is perfectly normal. We promise your mouth will not be sore forever!
Stick to a soft diet at first and try rinsing with a saltwater solution to relieve any discomfort. 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 (do not swallow the saltwater). Or, try the better testing Healthy Gums Rinse by The Natural Dentist. Orabase can also help relieve soreness, and is available at most pharmacies.
If the pain is more severe and does not go away after rinsing, you can also try taking a pain reliever such as acetaminophen (Tylenol). Aspirin, ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), and Naproxen Sodium (Naprosyn, Anaprox, Alieve) can actually slow the progress of your braces, so we do not recommend taking them frequently during orthodontic treatment.
It is also not uncommon for your lips, cheeks, and tongue to become irritated for one to two weeks as they get used to rubbing against the surface of the braces. A special orthodontic wax can be very helpful in avoiding this discomfort when positioned over the braces to make the surface a little smoother. If you need some wax, please let us know.
Help! I feel like my tooth is loose!
If your teeth begin feeling a little loose, don't worry—this is normal! Your braces must first loosen your teeth slightly to move them into the right position. Once your teeth have been repositioned, they will no longer feel loose.
Loose wires and bands
If the wires and bands on your braces begin to loosen, contact our office as soon as possible so we can take a look and make any necessary repairs. If an appliance comes off entirely, save it and bring it with you to the office.
You can temporarily fix the loose wire by using the back of a spoon or 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, put wax or a wet cotton ball over the broken wire to relieve the pain.
Damaged appliances can increase the length of your treatment process, so be sure to treat all your appliances with respect an care. Your teeth and jaw can only move into their correct positions if you consistently wear the rubber bands, headgear, retainer, or other appliances prescribed by your doctor.
Damage to headgear
Sometimes discomfort is caused by not wearing the headgear as instructed by your orthodontist. Please refer to the instructions provided by your orthodontist. If the facebow (metal piece) is bent, please call our office for assistance. The headgear should become more comfortable the more it's worn, so be sure you get in the prescribed number of hours each day or night.
Can I still play sports?
Great news! 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 your doctor know if you need help finding the right mouthguard for the best protection.
In case of a sports emergency, be sure to immediately check your mouth and appliance for damage. If you notice any loose teeth or appliance damage, please contact our office right away. You can temporarily relieve the discomfort by applying wax or rinsing your mouth with warm saltwater.
“Dr. Buttram's orthodontics is great! The staff is fast and friendly and their office is nice and clean. If anyone needs braces, I highly recommend them to Dr. Buttram’s.”Taylor