Welcome to the Wonderful World of Braces!! Congratulations!
Today is the first step on your journey to a beautiful smile! We are thrilled to have you as part of our patient family! We promise to take great care of you. It is important that you understand that the success and length of your treatment is partially dependant on your cooperation. Here is some important information for you to know in order to take care of your new “hardware”. 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.
What To Expect…
In the next few hours your teeth are going to “loosen up” and get ready to move. As this happens your teeth may become tender. It is a good idea to start taking Advil, Motrin or Tylenol as soon as you get your braces on to help prevent some of the discomfort. You will want to eat soft foods over the next few days until the tenderness subsides. Remember, the soreness is temporary.
The tissues (cheeks, tongue and lips) around your braces are not used to your new appliances and may become irritated. We have provided you with wax to prevent getting sore spots. Your tissue will eventually “toughen up”, but to start with USE YOUR WAX. Simply dry off the bracket with a paper towel and then tear off a small piece of wax and mold it around the bracket with your fingers.
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.
- Don’t listen to people that say it is OK to chew gum with braces!!!
- Don’t chew on ice, lifesavers, hard candy, corn chips, pretzels or Fritos.
- Don’t chew on pens, pencils or your fingernails.
- Don’t forget that every time something in your mouth is loose or broken, your treatment automatically becomes LONGER. We want your treatment to be short and FUN!
- Don’t drink more than one soda per week.
- Don’t forget to floss often – set aside some extra time during your busy day to take care of your braces!
- Don’t forget to call if you have something loose or broken! We need to know in ADVANCE so we can schedule more time.
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
- Do avoid all sticky foods like gum, caramel, taffy, skittles and gummy bears.
- Do cut up all fruits and vegetables into bite size pieces and cut corn off of the cob.
- Do ask us for an orthodontic mouth guard if you play any sport where you can get hit in the mouth.
- Do THINK before you toss hard foods in your mouth.
- Do drink things that are low in sugar and not carbonated.
- Do brush your teeth EVERY TIME you eat – Never leave food on your braces! Food gets trapped around the braces, especially at the gumline. We will check your hygiene at every visit to make sure that you are doing a good job because we don’t want you to have stains on your teeth at the end of treatment.
- Do come see us every six weeks for your adjustments.
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
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 do 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.
Wear your retainers 24 hours daily. The only exceptions are when eating or cleaning them, or participating in contact sports.
To keep your retainers clean, brush them with a toothbrush and toothpaste each time you brush. The retainers get a plaque build-up and odor if they are not kept clean. At least rinse retainers off after each meal. For special care you can use Retainer Brite (sample and order form provided) or a denture cleanser such as Efferdent, or soak it in a mouthwash and water mixture. This will give it a fresh taste.
Keep retainers away from all animals-dogs, cats, etc. Animals like to eat retainers.
A protective case is provided for you. Always keep retainers in its protective case when its not in your mouth. Never wrap retainers in a napkin. You will forget about them and they are easily mistaken for trash and thrown away. Also never put your appliance in a pocket or your backpack where it may be bent, or even crushed. They are costly to replace.
The appliance will melt or wrap if it gets hot. Never leave it in a hot car or leave it by a stove or other heater. NEVER put it in boiling water.
Remember, you will have extra saliva for the first few days: this is normal. Initially, your mouth doesn’t realize that this retainer is not a piece of food. This sensation will go away after approximately 3 days.
Your speech will be somewhat slurred at first. It will be back to normal within a week if you are wearing your retainers full time. Try reading aloud and talking more slowly. The most important thing to remember is to keep the retainers in as much as possible during this period.
LOSS OR BREAKAGE
If the retainers are lost, broken, or irritating your mouth, please contact the office right away. There is a fee for lost or broken retainers.
Your retainers should feel snug if you are wearing them properly. They don’t change in size, but your teeth can shift. Please wear your retainer as prescribed by the doctor to prevent shifting. The longer you have been out of braces, the less often you will be required to wear them.
Please bring your retainers with you to every appointment. We need to check their fit and sometimes adjust them.
- Don’t pick at your spacers with your tongue or your fingers.
- Avoid foods that are sticky or chewy since they can pull them out.
- Do NOT floss where the spacers are.
- If you feel “pressure” on your teeth, that is normal. Advil or Tylenol will help.
- Check your spacers after you brush. If any of them have fallen out… PLEASE CALL our office so that we can replace them.