Life with Braces

Share:

Young girl smiling with bracesDuring orthodontic treatment, it is essential that you properly take care of your braces. Following the guidelines below can help you handle your braces with care. 

Brushing 

You should brush at least twice a day; in the morning and at night. Poor brushing can cause cavities and permanent white marks on your teeth. Brush thoroughly; be sure to brush your tongue, gums and all chewing surfaces. After brushing each night, rinse with a fluoride mouthwash. Your toothbrush should be replaced at each appointment. 

Flossing

Flossing is necessary for cleaning areas between the teeth that can’t be reached while brushing. Use dental floss each night to remove plaque and food particles. Use a reusable floss threader each day to floss under the archwire. 

Foods to Avoid

For most situations, common sense will tell you what to avoid. Hard foods, sticky foods and foods high in sugar must be avoided. Hard foods can break or damage wires and brackets. Sticky foods can get caught between brackets and wires. Minimize sugary foods; they cause tooth decay and related problems. Nail biting, pencil and pen chewing and chewing on foreign objects should be avoided. 

Examples of Hard Foods to Avoid:

  • Suckers
  • Frozen candy bars
  • Kettle chips
  • Nuts
  • Doritos 
  • Ice cubes
  • Peanut brittle
  • Beef jerky
  • Hard pizza crusts
  • Hard candies

Examples of Sticky Foods to Avoid:

  • Laffy Taffy
  • Caramels
  • Tootsie Rolls
  • Sugar Daddies
  • Milk Duds
  • Starbursts
  • Licorice
  • Jolly Ranchers
  • Caramel Apples
  • Gummy Worms

*Cut apples, celery, carrots, etc. into bite-sized pieces.

Sore Teeth and Mouth

Your teeth may be sore for two to five days following each appointment. You can take Motrin, Advil or ibuprofen to relieve discomfort. Chewing sugarless gum can also help. 

Problems with Braces

The guidelines below can help you handle common problems associated with braces. True orthodontic emergencies are rare. However, if you have an emergency, feel free to call our office. On evenings or weekends, please call the number listed on our answering machine for assistance. 

  • Loose Bands or Brackets – Loose bands or brackets may not be a problem, but call our office as soon as possible so we can schedule an appointment for you. 
  • Loose Teeth – If you notice your teeth are a little loose, don’t panic! This is normal. In order to move your teeth into the proper positions, braces must first loosen your teeth. 
  • Lost Separator (s) – It is common to lose a separator during treatment. However, please call us to see if it needs to be replaced. 
  • Poking Wire – Poking can occur due to the shifting and bending of the wires. Bending the wire using the eraser of a pencil or covering the area with wax can ease discomfort. Call us if the problem continues. 
  • Mouth Sores – To relieve discomfort, apply Zilactin-B to the area. You can also use wax to protect the area. Rinsing with warm salt water can further alleviate discomfort. 

Broken/loose brackets or bands, missed appointments, poor use of rubber wands, and improper oral hygiene can prolong your treatment.

Playing Sports with Braces

Great news for athletes! You can continue to play sports during orthodontic treatment. However, we recommend you wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth and appliances. We offer a special orthodontic mouthguard for a small fee. If you have an emergency during a sport activity, examine your mouth and appliance immediately to see if any damage has occurred. If your teeth feel loose or your appliance is damaged, call us immediately. Wax or a salt water rinse can temporarily relieve discomfort. 

Playing Instruments with Braces 

Yes, you can still play your instrument during orthodontic treatment. Comfort covers can ease discomfort. We provide these for a small fee. 

Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns.