Life with Braces
Eating with Braces
What can you eat? Let's talk about what you shouldn't eat! For the first day or so, stick to soft foods. Avoid tough meats, hard breads, and raw vegetables. Before long, you'll be able to eat normally again, but you'll need to protect your orthodontic appliances when you eat for as long as you're wearing braces.
Foods to Avoid
- Chewy foods: bagels, hard rolls, licorice, jerky
- Crunchy foods: popcorn, ice, tortilla chips
- Sticky foods: caramels, gum
- Hard foods: nuts, candy
- Foods you have to bite into: corn on the cob, apples, carrots (these foods should be chopped into little pieces and eaten in smaller bites)
- Chewing on hard things (for example, pens, pencils, or fingernails) can damage the braces. Damaged braces will cause treatment to take longer.
When you get your braces on, you may feel general soreness in your mouth and teeth may be tender to biting pressures for the first week or so. This can be relieved by rinsing your mouth with a warm salt water mouthwash. Dissolve one teaspoonful of salt in 8 ounces of warm water and rinse your mouth vigorously. If the tenderness is severe, take ibuprophen or whatever you normally take for headaches. The lips, cheeks, and tongue may also become irritated for one to two weeks as they toughen up and become accustomed to the surface of the braces. You can put wax on the braces to lessen this. We'll show you how!
Loosening of Teeth
This is to be expected throughout treatment. Don't worry! It's normal. Teeth must loosen first so they can be moved. The teeth will again become rigidly fixed in their new – corrected – positions.
Loose Wire or Band
Don't be alarmed if a wire or band comes loose. This happens occasionally. If wire protrudes and is irritating, use a blunt instrument (back of spoon or the eraser end of a pencil) and carefully, gently push the irritating wire under the archwire. Simply get it out of the way. If irritation to the lips or mouth continues, place wax or wet cotton on the wire to reduce the annoyance. Call our office as soon as possible for an appointment to check and repair the appliances. If any piece comes off, save it and bring it with you to the office.
Care of Appliances
To successfully complete the treatment plan, the patient must work together with the orthodontist. The teeth and jaws can only move toward their corrected positions if the patient consistently wears the rubber bands, headgear, or other appliances as prescribed. Damaged appliances lengthen the treatment time.
It's more important than ever to brush and floss regularly when you have braces, so the teeth and gums are healthy after orthodontic treatment. Patients who do not keep their teeth clean may require more frequent visits to the dentist for a professional cleaning. Adults who have a history of gum disease should also see a periodontist during orthodontic treatment. We will show you how to thoroughly clean your braces when we put them on. The teeth, braces, and gums should be cleaned after every time you eat. Cleaning involves more than just brushing. We will give you additional tools to clean below the braces and wires and between the teeth. It takes time and effort to keep teeth clean, but the result is a spectacular, healthy smile!
If you play sports, it's important that you consult us for special precautions. A protective mouth guard is advised for playing contact sports. In case of any accident involving the face, check your mouth and the appliances immediately. If teeth are loosened or the appliances damaged, phone at once for an appointment. In the meantime, treat your discomfort as you would treat any general soreness.
When turning the expander, make sure the key is inserted completely in the hole and that it is turned in the direction of the arrow. For cemented expanders, this will be toward the back of the mouth. If you are unable to keep your scheduled appointment, please reschedule your appointment as soon as possible and ask if turning should be continued.
Elastics (Rubber Bands)
Wear rubber bands as instructed because the rubber bands work far more efficiently if they are worn as prescribed (most of the time this means 24 hours/day 7 days/week). Forgetting or neglecting to wear your rubber bands, even for one day, will allow the teeth to drift back to their previous positions. This will extend your treatment time significantly. Rubber bands can be worn while you eat. This takes some time to get used to, but helps your teeth move faster.
During the first few days of using the elastics your teeth will be sore, but as soon as the teeth get used to the new pressure, the soreness will subside. As long as you continue to wear your elastics, the teeth will not be sore again. However, if you don’t wear your elastics as prescribed, you may experience the one to two days of soreness again.
Make sure you have enough elastics before you leave the office. If you run out or lose them, come in to pick-up additional elastics or call our office and we will mail some to you.