You Have Braces, So What Now?
Braces are an essential step on your journey toward straight teeth and properly aligned jaws. You may have friends in braces, too, but there are many new and important things to remember.
How well you care for your braces and your teeth will determine the length of your treatment time and, ultimately, how well your orthodontic treatment works. Take it seriously.
Remember - braces will bring positive and lasting change to your life, and properly aligned jaws and teeth will impact your life for the rest of your life.
Eating With Braces
When you first get braces, you'll want to eat a soft diet for a few days. Eat foods like soup and pasta; avoid tough meats, hard bread, or raw vegetables.
As long as you wear braces, you'll also need to get used to protecting your orthodontic appliances from certain foods. Here are FOODS TO AVOID with braces:
- Chewy Food: like bagels, hard rolls, licorice, caramel.
- Crunchy Food: like chips, Cheetos, and pretzels.
- Sticky Food: like caramels, gum, taffy, Skittles, Gummy Bears, and Starbursts.
- Hard Food: like nuts, hard candy, and ice.
- Foods You Must Bite: like corn on the cob, apples, and whole, raw carrots.
- Avoid chewing pencils, pens, or fingernails: These activities can damage your braces, and damaged braces will lengthen treatment time.
How to Handle Temporary Discomfort
Your mouth may be sore, and your teeth may be tender to biting pressure for 3 to 5 days after getting your braces.
Soreness can be relieved by rinsing your mouth with a warm salt-water mouthwash. Dissolve one teaspoon of salt into 8 oz of warm water, then rinse your mouth vigorously.
In cases of extreme tenderness, with parental permission, take whatever medication you usually take for a headache or muscle pain. Make sure you follow package directions and call us at (540) 347-1888 with any questions or concerns.
Expect your lips, cheeks, and maybe your tongue to be tender and irritated for one to two weeks as they toughen and become accustomed to your new braces. You can put wax on your braces to decrease this irritation and Orabase (which can be purchased over-the-counter) to relieve the soreness. This will allow the irritated areas to heal more quickly.
Keeping Your Teeth Clean
It's more important than ever to brush and floss when you have braces. Doing this ensures healthy teeth and gums.
As soon as you get your braces, we will sit with you privately and explain how to properly maintain your braces, floss, and care for your teeth.
If you don't brush and floss regularly, you may get tooth discoloration, decay, and gum disease. Any of those issues will increase your treatment time and interfere with results.
Take time every day to properly clean your teeth and braces. If you don't, we may ask you to visit your dentist for professional cleanings.
Finally, do not be alarmed if a wire or band comes loose - this happens occasionally. If a wire begins to poke or irritate your mouth, use the back of a spoon or the eraser-end of a pencil to push the irritating wire back into place carefully.
If irritation continues, place wax or wet cotton on the wire, then call our office for an appointment. If any pieces come off, keep the pieces and bring them to our office when you come in for your appointment. If you believe there's an emergency with your wire, call us immediately at (540) 347-1888.