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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 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.
Foods to avoid with braces
Chewy foods — bagels, licorice
Crunchy foods — popcorn, chips, ice
Sticky foods — caramel candies, bubble gum (although sugar-free gum is OK)
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 from 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! 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 (do not swallow the saltwater).
If the pain is more severe and does not go away after rinsing, you can also try taking a pain reliever. It is also 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 that you can put over the braces to lessen the tenderness. If you need some wax, please let us know.
If your teeth begin feeling 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
The wires and bands on your braces may come loose. If this happens, please contact us as soon as possible so that we can check and repair your 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 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.
If your appliance is poking you, place wax on the offending part.
If your bracket or band is still attached to the wire, you should leave it in place and put wax on it if needed for comfort. If the bracket or band can be removed easily, place it in an envelope and save it to bring to your next appointment.
Using a pair of tweezers or needle-nosed pliers, try to put your wire back into place. It is okay to use a piece of floss to tie the wire into place: tie the floss around the bracket in place of the missing colored o-ring. If you cannot put the wire into a comfortable position, and covering the end with wax doesn't help, as a last resort use a small fingernail clipper to clip the wire behind the last tooth to which it is securely fastened. If the end of the wire is still sharp place wax on it.
Using a pencil eraser, push the poking wire down or place wax on it so that it is no longer poking.
When you get your braces on, you may feel general soreness in your mouth, and teeth may be tender to biting pressures for three to five days. A soft diet and anti inflammatories will help alleviate discomfort. Irritated gums and other sore spots can be relieved by rinsing your mouth with a warm salt-water mouthwash. Dissolve one teaspoonful of salt in eight ounces of warm water, and rinse your mouth vigorously. An alternative (better tasting) mouthwash is the Healthy Gums Rinse by The Natural Dentist. Placing Orabase on the affected area may also help relieve discomfort; Orabase can be found in a pharmacy.
The lips, cheeks, and tongue may become irritated for one to two weeks as they learn a new posture and become accustomed to the surface of the braces. You can put wax on the braces to lessen this. We'll show you how!
What kind of orthodontic treatments are available?
This depends on the age, treatment goals, and needs of each individual patient regardless of age. We offer what we believe is the highest quality orthodontic system on the market, and will offer the most efficient and best result with least amount of discomfort. We also offer Invisalign for the right candidate. Please contact us with any of your concerns or questions and we’d be happy to answer them.
What is the ideal age to bring my child in for an orthodontic consultation?
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that the earliest you bring your child in for their first consultation is age 7. This will allow Dr. Sam and team to evaluate the child’s craniofacial and dental growth and development during their pre-adolescent growth spurt. Even if treatment is not recommended, the Doctor will have a solid baseline as to when the right timing treatment should start. However, there is never improper timing, even for both teenagers and adults, to gather information of what treatment options are available. Our consultations are always complimentary and our team is excited to work with you!
How do I take care of my braces?
This question is extremely important. Our team is very thorough with keeping our patients hygiene in great shape and prevention of appliance breakage. We will keep you fully informed with tips and education not only when we first start you or your child’s treatment, but also every single time we visit with you. It’s our mission to give you the most positive outcome while also preventing complications throughout your treatment.
Playing Sports with Braces
Game, Set, 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 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.
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 consistently wear the rubber bands, headgear, retainer, or other appliances prescribed by your doctor.
Wear your retainer at all times, until the doctor instructs otherwise.
Take your retainer out when eating, and always put it back in its case! (Most appliances are lost in school lunchrooms or restaurants.)
Clean the retainer thoroughly once a day with a toothbrush and toothpaste. Use warm but not hot water. Brushing retainers removes the plaque, and eliminates odors. Efferdent® or other orthodontic appliance cleaners can be used but do not take the place of brushing.
When your retainer is not in your mouth, it should ALWAYS be in its case. Pets love to chew on them!
Initially, you may find it difficult to speak. Practice speaking, reading, or singing out loud to get used to it faster.
Retainers are breakable, so treat yours with care. If your retainer gets lost or broken, call us immediately.
If you have any questions or concerns about your retainer, or you believe it needs adjusting, call us. Do not try to adjust it yourself.
Always bring your retainer to your appointments.
Retainer replacements are expensive, but with proper care they will last for years!
Remove your retainer when you go swimming.
Keep retainers away from hot water, hot car dashboards, pockets, the washing machine, and napkins.