Congratulations! You officially begin your journey to the healthiest, most stunning smile for you life. Once you have your braces, how do you take care of them and adjust to life with them? Our tips will help you get used to your new braces in no time!
GENERAL SORENESS AND IRRITATIONS
The first couple days with braces can be accompanied with tenderness and soreness, which is perfectly normal. However, usually within two to three days the general soreness will subside. You can follow the analgesic recommendations that were given to you.
It is also not uncommon for your lips, cheeks, and tongue to become irritated as they become used to the braces. Warm salt water rinses (1 teaspoon of salt dissolved in a glass of lukewarm water) are a effective, old fashioned remedy. More importantly, stick to the habit to have great brushing and flossing to keep the bacteria at bay, and don’t forget to use wax which we will provide for you to alleviate the friction.
EATING WITH BRACES
You can still eat many of your favorite foods, but you’ll want to be a little more careful or change the way you eat them such as cutting into small pieces. Your braces are designed to be durable, but certain foods can damage a bracket or wire, and extend the time for your treatment. Avoid sticky, hard or crunchy foods. Choose softer foods that you can cut or tear.
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
*Avoid foods with a lot of sugar as well, which increases the amount of bacteria that grows in your mouth, causing more plaque and possibly cavities.
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 — apple sauce, bananas, fruit juice
- Treats — ice cream without nuts, milkshakes, Jell-O, soft cake
CHEWING HABITS YOU WANT TO AVOID
Chewing on objects like pens and ice cubes, biting your nails, and smoking can all cause unwanted pressure on your braces, so do your best to find another way to keep yourself busy while undergoing orthodontic treatment.
PLAYING SPORTS AND MUSIC WITH BRACES
You can stay active, exercise and play sports while wearing braces. A mouth guard or lip protector may be needed, depending on the sport, so the braces don’t cut the inside of your mouth.
You may find it a little challenging to become adjusted to playing instruments with your braces. It’s normal to have some difficulty with proper lip position! Sores can also develop, but liberal use of wax and warm salt-water rinses will help your lips and cheeks toughen up more quickly than you’d think.
DENTAL HYGIENE WITH BRACES
Brushing with braces isn’t hard – but it is extremely important. Dr. Gu suggested to brush your teeth at least three times each day to keep your teeth, gums, and mouth healthy and clean. Use a “tree brush” to check behind your arch wire for any remaining food. Do a quick rinse every time you eat or drink. Make sure to use toothpaste that contains fluoride, and ask your orthodontist or family dentist if you need a fluoride rinse.
You should also floss daily to get in between your braces where your brush isn’t able to reach. It may take a little longer than normal, but it’s easy enough once you have the hang of it. We will show you how to do it once the braces are placed. A water flosser is recommended in addition to regular floss to make sure any food is removed from in between teeth and around brackets.
BEING COMPLIANT FOR THE TREATMENT SUCCESS
In order to achieve a successful and timely outcome, it’s very important that you take great care of all your orthodontic appliances, whether they are fixed or removable. For example, Invisalign’s clear aligner system will only work if the aligners are worn the 22 hours per day as recommended. Best teeth movement will only be achieved by following instructions to wear rubber bands (elastics) precisely as doctors recommended. Being compliant is the only way to ensure your treatment is effective, and to help you achieve the smile you’ve always desired. Check out the smiles Dr. Gu has helped achieve in his Smile Gallery.