How do you live with braces?
For most people, a beautiful smile is the most obvious benefit of orthodontics. After your braces come off, you'll feel more self-confident, but you'll also have teeth positioned to ensure ease of biting and eating, making you healthier too. To get that smile though, one must often utilize braces or other appliances that are installed by an orthodontist. Orthodontic appliances can be made of metal, ceramic, or plastic. They may be removable, but in many cases they will use brackets bonded to the teeth. By placing a constant, gentle force in a carefully controlled direction, braces slowly move teeth to a corrected position. For those who have never lived with someone with braces it can be difficult to understand how one can eat, sleep, work and play with these items in your mouth. Truthfully, it is not as difficult as you may think. Here's what you need to know about living with braces.
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-bagels, licorice
- Crunchy foods-popcorn, chips, ice
- Sticky foods-caramel candies, bubble gum (although sugar-free gum is OK)
- 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 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. We would be happy to give you some wax that you can put over the braces to lessen the tenderness. If you need some 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 Wires and Bands
The wires and bands on your braces may come loose. If this happens, please contact us as soon as possible so that we can check and repair your appliance. 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 the loose wire by using the back of a spoon or the eraser end of a pencil to carefully and gently push the wire back into place. If the loose wire is causing irritation to your lips or cheeks, put wax or a wet cotton ball over the broken wire to relieve the pain.
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, headgear, retainer, or other appliances prescribed by your doctor.
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 play sports, it's recommended that you wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth and your appliance. Let your doctor know if you need help finding the right mouthguard for the best protection.
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.
Life with Braces
Many people, children and adults alike, tend to forget that they have braces after they've been installed for one to two months. The occasional soreness as teeth continue to shift, particularly soon after each orthodontics appointment, is usually their only reminder. As you become more comfortable in your braces it is important that you don't forget to avoid damaging foods and continue to pay attention to any issues with the braces so your treatment is not disrupted.
If you are in search of the perfect smile for yourself or your child, be sure to speak with a professional orthodontist. To request an initial consultation with a highly-rated orthodontist in Gilbert or Mesa, AZ, reach out to Macdonald Orthodontics. Our friendly staff would be happy to answer any questions you may have about how treatment works and what it may mean for you or your family. Give us a call at the location nearest you to learn more about getting braces in Mesa or Gilbert. We look forward to helping you achieve the smile of your dreams.