Life With Braces
Eating With Braces
It’s not going to be easy at first and, in the beginning, foods you can eat will be limited. You’ll want to stick to foods that are soft, fluffy, and easily mashed up. Pancakes, oatmeal, bananas, soups, cooked vegetables, applesauce, mashed potatoes, mac & cheese, and soft ice cream – just to suggest a few. Stay away from foods that are hard, crunchy, sticky, or tough.
Foods to Avoid
Please avoid these foods while wearing braces.
- Sticky: Gum, caramel, tootsie rolls, peanut butter, toffee, taffy, granola bars, frozen candy bars
- Hard: Apples, carrots and other raw vegetables, chewing ice, nuts
- Crunchy: Popcorn, chips, hard tacos, celery
- Tough: Bagels, corn on the cob, sandwiches, steak, ribs, beef jerky
Your mouth is going to feel sensitive and a bit sore when you first get your braces put on. To help alleviate the soreness, you can rinse your mouth with a salt-water solution or take an over-the-counter analgesic. If your braces are rubbing or poking your mouth, you can use dental wax (available at the office or your local drugstore) to cover problem areas and prevent blisters.
Loosening of Teeth
Part of the process of creating your new, beautiful smile is moving your teeth; to move them, they need to loosen up first. “Loose teeth” are a natural part of the process. Once your teeth are in the right place, they will settle into their new position.
Loose Wire, Bracket or Band
Inevitably, something is going to come loose. A bracket will loosen or a wire may pop out of place. If it’s a flexible wire, you might be able to push it back into place using tweezers. If you can’t move it with tweezers, you can use a pencil eraser or the back of a pen to push the offending wire down. Dental wax will also be your friend; place a small amount on the spot to cover the problem area. Next, schedule an appointment to have the wire, bracket, or band repaired.
Care of Appliances & Brushing
It is always important to brush and floss your teeth to keep them clean and healthy – with braces, it’s more important than ever. Consistent brushing and flossing will ensure that your gums and teeth remain healthy throughout your treatment.
Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and a small strip of fluoride toothpaste. When you brush your teeth, move the brush in small, circular motions to reach food particles that may be under your gum line. Hold the toothbrush at an angle and brush slowly and carefully, covering all areas between teeth, between braces and the surface of each tooth. It will take you several minutes to thoroughly brush your teeth. Brush up on the lower teeth, down on the upper teeth and the outside, inside and chewing surface of your front and back teeth. Brush your tongue and the roof of your mouth before you rinse.
Especially during orthodontic treatment, brush your teeth four times daily to avoid the accumulation of food particles in your teeth and braces:
- In the morning after breakfast
- After lunch or right after school
- After supper
- At bedtime
You will need to replace your toothbrush more often due to your appliances. As soon as the bristles start to wear down or fray, replace your toothbrush with a new one. It may be difficult for your toothbrush to reach some areas under your archwire. Do not swallow any toothpaste; rinse your mouth thoroughly with water after you finish brushing. It is important to floss and use an antibacterial mouthwash and fluoride treatment throughout your orthodontic treatment and beyond for optimal oral hygiene.
For areas between the teeth that a toothbrush can’t reach, use dental floss to remove food particles and plaque. Flossing takes more time and patience when you are wearing braces, but it is important to floss your teeth every day.
Use the reusable floss threader provided by our office to floss under your archwire daily. Pull a small length of floss from the dispenser through the threader and slide it up and down along the front of each tooth. You will be able to feel when the tooth is clean and hear the squeak of the floss against your clean teeth. Use care around your archwire and do not floss too forcefully around it or put too much pressure on it. After you floss between your archwire and braces, floss between your other teeth and gums.
If you are flossing without the floss threader, pull a small length of floss from the dispenser. Wrap the ends of the floss tightly around your middle fingers. Guide the floss between all teeth to the gum line, pulling out food particles or plaque. Unwrap clean floss from around your fingers as you go, so that you have used the floss from beginning to end when you finish. Floss behind all of your back teeth.
Floss at night to make sure your teeth are clean before you go to bed. When you first begin flossing around your braces, your gums may bleed a little. If the bleeding does not go away after the first few times, inform a staff member at your next appointment.
Types of Braces
Metal braces are the most common type. They are made of high-grade stainless steel. Today’s metal braces are smaller, more comfortable and more attractive than previous models.
Damon® braces were invented by Dr. Dwight Damon. The Damon® bracket utilizes (sliding-door) technology known as “self-ligation” that allows the wire to slide back and forth within the bracket. No elastic or steel ties are used with Damon® brackets. This technology creates less friction and results in greater comfort for the patient. In addition, Damon® braces often reduce both treatment time and the number of adjustments that are usually performed.
Ceramic braces are made of translucent (clear) material. They are most popular with adult patients, due to their cosmetic appeal. The only drawback to ceramic brackets is that they are more fragile, and the elastic ties can discolor between orthodontic visits.
The Invisalign® System is a series of clear overlay templates—called aligners—that have been generated by computer simulation to gradually move the teeth. This system is available to adult patients with certain orthodontic bite problems. Ask us if you are a candidate for the Invisalign® system.
Life After Braces
Congratulations on getting your braces off! Now you will receive retainers that will maintain your teeth’s new position and prevent them from moving. But your final orthodontic result will depend on your retainers being worn ~ so follow through with the hard work you’ve put in so far, and WEAR YOUR RETAINERS! During orthodontic treatment, we do everything possible to give you long-term results. After treatment, it is your responsibility to wear your retainers as instructed to ensure that your teeth remain straight and to keep your beautiful new smile for a lifetime!
For your upper retainer:
Clear Essix retainer – is a removable clear plastic-type material that fits over your teeth like a glove. Besides preventing your teeth from moving, they also help protect your enamel from being worn down from minor grinding.Instructions
For your upper retainer:
Hawley retainer – is a removable retainer that has acrylic material at the roof of the mouth (which can be personalized by choosing a fun color), and a wire which wraps around the outer surface of the teeth. It can be used to keep teeth in place, or move them slightly.Instructions
For your lower teeth:
Lower Bonded Wire – is a small wire that is bonded to the back or tongue-side of your lower front teeth. It is not noticeable to others, is comfortable, and will hold your lower teeth in place without having to wear an additional removable retainer.Instructions