Okay, your braces are on. Now it is time to adjust to them. So, what will life with braces look like? Overall, not too different from life before, but there are a few key differences.
Eating With Braces
The hardest part of wearing braces is always the dietary changes. However, they must be made. Certain foods can damage appliances. So, what should you skip for now?
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
Sound tough? Well, let’s look at the foods you still get to enjoy.
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 — applesauce, bananas, fruit juice
Treats — ice cream without nuts, milkshakes, Jell-O, soft cake
Soreness Caused by Appliances
When your appliance is first placed, things might be uncomfortable. This is normal during that initial period, and depending on your appliances, after each adjustment, though the discomfort after these is more minor. Soreness can be caused by both pressure on the teeth and the appliance irritating the soft tissues of the mouth. For both, saltwater rinses are good, and over-the-counter pain medications can help too. For irritation specifically, dental wax can cover the offending part of the appliance until your mouth adjusts.
It might feel alarming, but loose teeth are normal when you have braces. The teeth are held in place by ligaments, and these must loosen up for the teeth to get to their new locations. This results in them feeling a little wiggly. However, once your teeth are where they belong, they will firm up in place.
Loose Wires, Brackets, and Bands
The wires and bands on your braces might come loose from time to time. When this happens, just give us a call. If a piece comes off, save it to bring to your appointment.
You can also opt for temporary fixes while you wait for your appointment time. Loose wires can be pushed back into place or clipped, and dental wax can help with a band or bracket.
Remember: If you experience an authentic emergency that involves a blow to the mouth or head, do not call us first. Instead, head to the emergency room. Any damage to your appliance can be dealt with later.
Extracurriculars and Appliances
Braces and other appliances can get in the way of things like singing, playing certain instruments, and taking part in sports. However, this is temporary. With singing and instruments, you just need to adjust. For sports, a specialty mouthguard is needed. Do not opt for a boil and bite model; these are not made to be worn with appliances and will damage them. Instead, let us make one for you.
Brushing and Flossing With Braces
Braces make brushing and flossing more complicated than they usually are. At the same time, they become more important than ever. You will need to brush after every meal and floss at least twice per day. However, you will need to use techniques specific to having braces.
Brushing With Braces
After each meal, brush your teeth for a minimum of two minutes. Use a soft-bristled brush with a small head. Place a small dab of fluoride toothpaste on the brush and use small, gentle, circular motions on the outsides of the teeth, and back and forth strokes on the bite surfaces. The brush should be held at a 45-degree angle to the gumline.
Flossing With Braces
To floss, use a floss threaded to get the floss behind each archwire. You can also use a water pick to make this easier. Using gentle motions, floss the sides of each tooth beneath the gum line to remove food particles.