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
Don't worry, you'll be eating popcorn and snacking on potato chips again in no time! However, before you can start enjoying some of the treats you love, you will need to take special care to avoid any foods that could damage your new appliances.
Foods to avoid with braces:
- Chewy foods — starbursts, licorice
- Crunchy foods — popcorn, chips, ice
- Sticky foods — caramel candies
- Hard foods — nuts, hard candies
- Foods that require biting into — corn on the cob, apples, and carrots
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 from Braces and Appliances
When you first get your braces, you may notice that your teeth and mouth feel a little tender or sore. This is perfectly normal and we promise your mouth will not be sore forever! To relieve the pain, we recommend dissolving one teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of lukewarm water. Swish and gargle this solution in your mouth for just a couple of minutes (do not swallow the saltwater).
If the pain is more severe and does not go away after rinsing, you can also try taking a pain reliever. 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 can use some wax to put over the braces to lessen the tenderness. If you need some more wax, please let us know.
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 Bracket or Wire
Once in a while, a bracket, appliance, or wire may come loose. This generally is not an emergency but if this happens, please contact us so that we can check and repair if needed. 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 irritation from a poking wire or bracket by placing wax or sugar-free gum over the bracket or wire. Of course, this always happens on the weekend!
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, retainer, or other appliances prescribed by Dr. Collins.
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. Some of the best mouthguards are made by shockdoctor and can be found at sporting goods stores and online. Make sure to get a mouthguard specifically for braces. http://www.shockdoctor.com
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.
- Wear your retainers every day. Most patients get their 6-10 hours while sleeping.
- Clean the retainer thoroughly once a day with a toothbrush. Use warm but not hot water. Brushing retainers removes the plaque and eliminates odors. Soak retainers in diluted hydrogen peroxide for a couple of minutes to disinfect.
- When your retainer is not in your mouth, it should ALWAYS be in its case. Pets love to chew on them!
- Retainers are breakable, so treat yours with care. If your retainer gets lost or broken, call us immediately.
- If you have any questions or concerns about your retainer, or you believe it needs adjusting, call us. Do not try to adjust it yourself.
- Always bring your retainer to your appointments.
- Retainer replacements are expensive, but with proper care, they will last for years!
- Keep retainers away from hot water, hot car dashboards, pockets, washing machine, and napkins.