Now that you have your braces, how do you take care of them? It’s worthwhile for you to know how to take care of your braces properly 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! Before you can start enjoying some of the treats you love, however, you will need to take special care to avoid any foods that could damage your new appliances.
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
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 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 discomfort, we recommend using over-the-counter pain medication, topical oral gels (Orajel), and warm salt-water rinses. It is common for your lips, cheeks, and tongue to become irritated for one to two weeks as they toughen and become used to the braces. We provide wax to help with the braces rubbing on your cheeks.
If your teeth begin to feel a little loose, don’t become concerned; this is also 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 become loose. If this happens, please contact our office. We may advise you to come in for a “Comfort” appointment. In the mean time, if it is not causing any pain, you can cover the loose brace or wire with wax.
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 wear the rubber bands, retainer, or other appliances consistently as prescribed by Dr. Zach.
Playing Sports with Braces
Great news for athletes: You can still play sports, even while undergoing orthodontic treatment! If you play sports, we recommend you wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth and your appliances. Let us know if you need help finding the right mouthguard for the best protection.
Types of Braces
Metal braces are the most common type of braces and are more comfortable today than ever. With metal braces, you have the option of adding colored elastics (rubber bands) for a more unique and colorful smile.
Self-ligating braces are made from the same materials as traditional braces. However, self-ligating braces do not require the use of colored elastics. They are the same size as metal braces, but use a specialized clip in place of colored elastics to help the archwire guide teeth into place.
Clear (Ceramic) Braces
Ceramic braces are made of clear materials and are therefore less visible on your teeth than metal braces. For this reason, ceramic braces are used mainly on older teenagers and adult patients who have cosmetic concerns.
Although they are visually less prominent, they are larger than metal braces and still require the use of metal wires. Ceramic braces are typically used on just the top teeth.
Clear aligners such as Invisalign® are a series of removable plastic trays that straighten your teeth like braces. They are removable, so you can eat and drink what you want while in treatment; plus, brushing and flossing are less of a hassle. The aligners are comfortable and contain no metal to cause mouth abrasions during treatment.