Life With Braces
Now that you have your braces, how do you take care of them? It’s important that you take care of your braces throughout your entire orthodontic treatment.
Braces are attached to your teeth with a strong adhesive but may become loose as a result of eating certain foods. It’s also possible that wires could become bent or broken without proper care. Since it is best to achieve orthodontic treatment goals with as few disruptions as possible, a well-balanced diet is important to ensure a healthy environment for your teeth.
Eating restricted foods may cause problems which will result in extra visits for repairs and will ultimately extend the length of treatment. You’ll have plenty of time to enjoy these restricted foods after completing your treatment. Any specific questions about food choices should be directed to our office.
Foods To Avoid
- Chewy foods: bagels, hard rolls, licorice
- Crunchy foods: popcorn, ice, chips
- Sticky foods: caramels, gum
- Hard foods: nuts, candy
- Foods you have to bite into: corn on the cob, apples, carrots
Chewing on hard things (for example, pens, pencils or fingernails) can damage the braces. Damaged braces will cause treatment to take longer.
Foods You Can Eat With Braces
- Dairy: soft cheese, pudding, milk-based drinks
- Bread: 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
Will The Braces Cause Discomfort?
Initially the braces feel like they “stick out.” This is normal. As you become accustomed to your braces and tooth alignment improves, this sensation will disappear and will cease to be a concern. Although the brackets have been rounded and smoothed, until the cheek tissues have toughened, you may find it helpful to use a small piece of the provided wax around the bracket that is creating the irritation. You will probably notice some discomfort beginning a few hours after your braces are placed. Some teeth, usually the front teeth, may be tender and sensitive to pressure.
Occasionally, patients report they experience no discomfort, but most have some soreness during the first eight hours which starts dissipating within the week. Exactly when the discomfort ceases is impossible to predict and differs for each patient. You may wish to take non-prescription pain remedies commonly taken for other discomforts such as headaches. For maximum effectiveness, it may be best to take such medications before the discomfort begins.
Cleaning Your Braces At Home
Making sure you properly remove any food particles left behind, plaque biofilm and the acids they create, will protect both your teeth and your gums and keep oral diseases away. Before applying your braces, we will remind you of the importance of having detailed at-home care to prevent larger issues.
You will need specialized equipment to clean up your braces properly. This includes a high-quality toothbrush, an oral irrigation system that you can use at home, and floss or interdental cleaners. We can make sure to give you a full set when you get your braces and let you know how often to replace them.
When using a toothbrush, whether you prefer manual or electric, make sure it has soft bristles and a compact head. Hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle right at the gumline and then brush back and forth. Then swipe toward your teeth’s biting surface.
Also, make sure you properly brush the top, bottom and front surface of your brackets, as well as the wires, to help remove any leftover food particles and plaque. We suggest that you hold your lip while you brush so you can properly clean the bracket areas.
There are multiple alternatives available, but there is no true substitute for flossing since food can very easily get trapped in all the spaces between your teeth and even under the wires, which can damage the enamel. So take some time to clean up and floss to avoid these issues properly.
Last but not least, irrigation systems that you can use at home and mouthwashes can help remove food, bacteria, plaque, acids and any other thing that could be hiding in hard-to-reach spots. However, even though these tools can assist and provide more effective cleaning, they are never a replacement for proper brushing and flossing.
Would you like to learn more about treatment with traditional metal braces? Then now is the time to schedule your consultation. This appointment is completely free and includes an oral exam, digital x-rays, and a comprehensive consultation. To set up your appointment, call 425.392.2499.
We look forward to helping you make your smile the best it can be.