Life with Braces
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
There are certain food you need to avoid because they will break your braces.
Foods to avoid with braces:
- Sticky candy such as Starburst, Laffy Taffy, Skittles, Caramel
- Hard preztels
- Do not chew on ice
- Do not chew on pens and pencils
- Do not bite your fingernails
Foods you CAN eat with braces but need to be careful:
- Popcorn - just be careful of the un-popped kernels
- Hard nuts do not open pistachios with your teeth
- Corn on the cob - cut the corn off the cob
- Ribs, Chicken - cut the meat off the bone
- Cut up apples and carrots
- Bagels and pizza crust - rip into small pieces
Soreness Caused from Braces and Appliances
When you first get your braces, you may notice that your teeth and mouth feel tender or sore. This is perfectly normal and we promise your mouth will not be sore forever! If you need to relieve the pain, we recommend you take Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, etc.)
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. You may develop a canker sore which is an ulcer inside your mouth. Canker sores are not contagious, just unpleasant. They can last 1 to 2 weeks. We would be happy to give you some wax that you can put over any sharp area of your braces that are causing irritation. If you need more wax, please let us know. You can also swish with warm salt water or Peroxyl 2-3 times per day and place numbing gel on the ulcer if necessary.
Dr. Cohen may have placed bite ramps along with your braces to make your treatment more efficient. The bite ramps will be removed as soon as the bite has changed enough (usually 6 months). If your bite ramps are behind your two upper front teeth, their purpose is to open the deep bite, speed up tooth movement (thereby lessening your time in braces) and prevent breakage of the bottom braces. You will notice difficulty chewing in the first few days as you adjust since your back teeth are not meeting together as usual. This is normal and you will adjust to this after a few days and no longer have any eating issues. In the meantime, cut your food into smaller pieces and if necessary, stick to softer foods.
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.
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.
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.