Congratulations! So you’ve chosen to get a beautiful and healthy smile with a set of braces for your orthodontic treatment. There are lots you should ask your orthodontist about maintaining your braces clean, what you should eat, and generally what to expect about life with braces, but don’t worry; in case you forgot to ask something in particular, we should have you covered right here.
It’s crucial for us that our patients know how to take care properly of their braces and maintain good dental health while avoiding as much discomfort as possible, so check out this neat little guide we’ve prepared for you.
Now that you have your braces, how do you take care of them?
You need to know how to properly take care of your braces throughout your entire orthodontic treatment.
WHAT CAN I EAT WITH BRACES?
Don’t worry too much about it; these are some recommendations you should follow only during your treatment. You’ll be back to snacking on popcorn, BBQ ribs, and your favorite dishes in no time.
However, you should note that to avoid damaging your braces and increasing the risk of tooth decay, you’ll have to avoid some dietary choices.
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
- 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
- Fruits: applesauce, bananas, fruit juice
- Treats: ice cream without nuts, milkshakes, Jell-O, soft cake
Although rare, you may find yourself alarmed due to any of the following situations:
SORENESS CAUSED BY BRACES AND APPLIANCES
So, this encompasses several situations. First of all, we want you to know that all patients should expect some level of discomfort when they start their treatment with braces or any other orthodontic appliance.
The movements and force required to complete your treatment will make your mouth feel a little tender. We promise you this feeling will go away after just a couple of days following each adjustment.
Relieving yourself from the pain is simple. Aside from over-the-counter painkillers, you can use saltwater rinses. Simply dissolve one teaspoon of salt in a glass with eight ounces of lukewarm water. Then, it’s just a matter of swishing and gargling with this solution. Please keep in mind to NOT swallow the water.
You might notice a sensation of irritation as well on the inside of your cheeks, lips, or tongue. The saltwater rinses will also help with this. And you can ask your orthodontist to give you some orthodontic wax to cover your brackets and avoid worsening the irritation.
Aside from the soreness and pain, you’ll feel that your teeth feel loose. This is normal, as your teeth have to loosen up a bit before the braces can safely move them into the right position. Once the teeth reach their intended position with the proper alignment, you won’t feel your teeth being loose.
LOOSE WIRES AND BANDS OR LOOSE BRACKETS
Sometimes, some patients will eat something that doesn’t fully damage their appliance but may create some problems. The wires and bands on your braces may come loose, and if that happens, you should contact us at your earliest convenience to check and repair the orthodontic appliance. Try to save any pieces that come off so we may take a look at them.
Any loose wires poking the inside of your cheeks don’t have to remain so. A temporary and DIY fix is simple when you use the back of a spoon or any other blunt object, such as an eraser at the back of a pencil, to carefully push and tuck the wire back into place. Likewise, you can put some orthodontic wax over the wire to keep it from poking at your cheek or tongue. These wires and bands must remain in their correct positions to make your treatment as efficient as possible.
It’s also possible your brackets come off due to leftover food pieces in your mouth or due to the wrong choice of food. You can slide those brackets into the right place until you can come to the office for a more definitive solution.
HOW TO CARE FOR YOUR BRACES AND CLEAR ALIGNERS
BRUSH YOUR TEETH WITH BRACES
You have to take great care to properly brush your teeth and keep good oral hygiene during your treatment to avoid problems related to tooth decay and cavities. You’ll have to angle your toothbrush down a bit and at a 45-degree angle to brush each tooth as thoroughly as required.
Please remember to use dental floss and consider complementing the practice with an interdental brush or water irrigator to completely do away with any leftover food particles caught in between your teeth.
TAKE CARE OF YOUR APPLIANCES
If you have damaged appliances, you can suffer some accidents and lengthen your treatment unnecessarily. Please take proper care of your orthodontic appliance and remember to use any prescribed rubber bands, headgear, additional retainer, and any attachments that ensure proper treatment efficiency.
HOW TO CLEAN YOUR CLEAR ALIGNER
You can clean your aligners with water and non-abrasive toothpaste. You can also consider using liquid soap with your soft-bristled toothbrush to clean your appliance without damaging it. You should remove your aligner trays during mealtimes to avoid problems and increase the risk of tooth decay cavities.
PLAYING SPORTS WITH BRACES
We have great news for athletes! You won’t have to put your career or training on hold while you undergo orthodontic treatment. You can continue to play your favorite sport with braces on. We highly recommend you wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth and any orthodontic appliance you might have. If you have removable appliances, you can simply take them off and put them away safely in their case. Make sure you give us a call if you need to find a custom-made mouthguard for the best protection.
If you were to suffer a sports accident or any other orthodontic emergency, make sure to get in touch with us and check your mouth for any damage. We will gladly help you out as soon as possible.
Contact our office today for your complimentary evaluation at (916) 924-8970.