Things to Know
Now that you have your braces, how do you take care of them? Properly caring for your braces throughout the entire time in treatment is the best way to ensure that you will complete your treatment on time and achieve the best result possible.
When you first get your braces, your teeth and mouth may feel tender or sore. This is perfectly normal and will not last forever. To help get you through this first stage, we will give you a gift card for an Ashley’s milkshake! We think Ashley’s makes everything better, but if you still need a little more relief, remember to keep your diet soft for the first few days, and take acetaminophen or ibuprofen as needed for pain relief.
Your lips, cheeks, and tongue may also become irritated initially. This may last for one to two weeks until they become used to the braces. We will supply you with soft nontoxic wax that you can put over the braces to lessen the tenderness. More wax is always available.
If your teeth begin feeling a little loose, don’t worry, this is normal and may continue off and on during your treatment. Your braces must first loosen your teeth in order to move them into the correct position. Once your teeth have been repositioned, they will no longer be loose.
Eating with Braces
Don’t worry, you’ll be eating popcorn and chewing gum again in no time (after your braces come off!), 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 appliances. Broken brackets require additional appointments to repair which causes your overall time in treatment to be extended.
Foods to avoid with braces:
- Chewy foods – bagels, pizza crust
- Crunchy foods – popcorn, nacho chips, pita chips, ice
- Sticky foods – caramel, gummy bears, skittles, starburst, chewing gum
- Hard foods – nuts, hard candies
- Crisp foods that require biting into – corn on the cob, apples, carrots, which should be cut up, cooked, or shredded
Foods you can eat with braces:
- Dairy – soft cheese, ice cream, yogurt
- Breads – soft tortillas, pancakes, muffins
- Grains – pasta, rice
- Meats/poultry – chicken, meatballs, lunch meats
- Seafood – tuna, salmon, crab cakes
- Vegetables – mashed potatoes, steamed veggies, beans
- Fruits – applesauce, bananas, smoothies
Brushing Your Teeth with Braces
When you have braces it’s very important to brush after every meal and floss daily in order to keep your teeth and gums healthy throughout your treatment. On the day that your braces go on, you will receive a home care kit which includes items that will help you on this mission. Using these as directed is vital to maintaining the health of your teeth, both during and after treatment. It is also important to maintain a regular schedule of appointments with your dentist during treatment. These are typically scheduled every six months, but the number of visits can be increased as needed to maintain good oral health.
Playing Sports with Braces
Game, Set, Match – we have great news for athletes! You can continue to play sports while undergoing orthodontic treatment. It is recommended that you wear a mouthguard in order to protect your teeth, jaws, and appliances. We will provide you with a ShockDoctor mouthguard made specifically for patients in braces.
Your teeth and jaws can only move into their correct positions if you consistently wear the elastics as prescribed . A typical schedule for elastic wear is 24/7 (including eating), removing them only when it is time to brush, or participating in any sport that requires a mouthguard. Anything less than that, and you should expect to need the braces to take longer to accomplish their goals, or even the possibility that we may fall short of those goals. Think of the braces as the part that straightens the teeth and the elastics as the part that corrects the bite. Together they form a team. Let’s get a win!
A new package of elastics will be provided for you at each visit. If for any reason, you need another package, please don’t hesitate to request one from us. You can stop by during office hours to pick one up, or we can even drop them in the mail for you if needed.
True orthodontic emergencies are rare. Most orthodontic issues that arise can be managed either at home or at the patient’s next appointment. Dr. Remington and her team are always available to answer questions and address concerns outside of office hours if required. If an issue arises that causes the patient significant pain, we will see you as soon as possible.
Loose Brackets and Wires
The brackets and wires that make up your braces may occasionally loosen or break. Typically we see this in cases when foods that are hard or sticky have been eaten, or sports related injuries have occurred. If this happens, the first thing to remember is, don’t panic! Broken brackets and wires happen from time to time. We understand this and are prepared to address it. In most instances, the repair can be managed at your next regularly scheduled appointment.
Since you may be uncomfortable, we recommend that you cover the loose bracket or wire with the soft nontoxic wax that we provide you. Remember that the area should be dried off as much as possible before the wax is applied. It may come off in time, so keep the wax handy to be reapplied as needed. This should do the trick until we see you at your next appointment when the repair will be done.
Once you are comfortable, please contact us so that we can make the necessary changes to your next planned appointment. Damaged appliances can increase the length of time that your treatment requires, so be sure to take care of all your appliances, limit breakage, and notify us of any needed repairs.
As stated above, if a more serious injury has occurred, don’t hesitate to contact us right away. We will get you in ASAP to make you comfortable.
The big day has finally arrived! Your braces have been removed and you have a beautiful smile! Our team is almost as excited as you are! You’re done, right?
Well, yes and no. Yes, your treatment is complete, but your retention is only just beginning. If you want to maintain that beautiful new smile for a lifetime, you must wear your retainers (for a lifetime). Teeth have a “memory” of their original position, and our biology is constantly trying to help them get back there.
There are a number of retention options available to our patients, including both removable and fixed (attached). Dr. Remington will review your options so that the most ideal situation is set up for your retention. Wearing your retainers as prescribed is just as critical to your smile as the braces were.