Life With Braces

Initially, the braces feel like they “stick out.” This is normal. As you become accustomed to your braces and tooth alignment improves, this sensation will cease. Although the brackets have been rounded and smoothed, until the cheek tissues have “toughened,” you may find it helpful to use a salt rinse (dissolve a teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of warm water and rinse your mouth vigorously 2 to 3 times a day). If you find it necessary, you may also use the wax that we give you.

You may notice some discomfort beginning a few hours after your braces are placed. Some teeth, usually the front teeth, may be “tender” or sensitive to pressure. You may wish to take non-prescription pain remedies commonly taken for other discomforts, such as headaches.

Before leaving the office

There are 5 routine steps that we ask you to take prior to leaving our office. These steps will minimize discomfort related to irritation from the braces and ensure an optimal response to treatment. Please make these steps a part of each office visit:

1. Using your index finger and tongue, check that the wire ends do not extend into areas that might poke the tongue or cheek.

2. Make sure that you understand what is expected of you between appointments. This could include wearing elastics as instructed, activating an expander or following specific hygiene or diet instructions.

3. Make sure you have an adequate supply of orthodontic wax, toothbrushes, floss, rubberbands or other related materials you may need between appointments.

4. Always schedule your next appointment before leaving the office. Waiting 1 or 2 weeks after an appointment to schedule your next office visit lessens the option of available appointment times, since appointments are programmed 4 to 6 weeks in advance. Postponing appointments is a common contributor to extended treatment.

5. Make sure that your questions about treatment are answered. Treatment goes better when everyone understands the treatment.

Although some patients are able to eat or drink almost anything while in braces and have no ill effects, there are certain dietary habits that are known to cause breakage of orthodontic appliances as well as increase the risk of dental disease. Our aim is to achieve the treatment goals with as few disturbances to appliances as possible and to minimize the side effects of poor diet choices. Remember, teeth move best in a healthy environment. A well-balanced diet is critical to good treatment results.

 

Potential harm to your teeth and gums

Foods and drinks, which your dentist has suggested may cause dental cavities, should be restricted while wearing braces. Sticky foods are to be avoided because of the increased risk of dental decay and appliance breakage. If foods or drinks high in sugar are to be consumed, we advise having them with regular meals or at one given time of the day. Please make sure that careful brushing and rinsing take place immediately afterward. Between-meal snacks should be limited to foods without refined sugar and should be followed by brushing or vigorously rinsing if a toothbrush is not available.

Potential harm to your braces

Braces are attached to your teeth with an adhesive that will normally withstand the forces of eating. However, braces can be dislodged and wires bent or broken while eating certain foods.

The following foods can be particularly harmful to your teeth, gums and/or appliances while wearing braces. All of these things prolong treatment time.

AVOID
– Ice – no crunching
– Energy Drinks / Soft Drinks – may cause white spots
– Peanuts
– Corn on the cob
– Hard candy
– Whole carrots and apples
– Caramels
– Gums – sugarless is OK
– Candy bars
– Any gooey candy

Remember, if you have any questions about dietary restrictions or good food choices, please ask!

Broken or loose appliances may occur during your orthodontic care. Disturbances such as loose brackets, bands, or poking wires are not considered orthodontic emergencies and do not require you to be seen in our office outside regular business hours. However, it is necessary that you do call our office as soon as possible the next business day so that we can evaluate the urgency of the problem and schedule you to be seen accordingly.

In the case you do need assistance outside business hours, please call our office and our voice mail will give you instructions on what to do and whom to call.

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