Life with Braces

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For the first day or two, soft foods are probably best as you might be mildly sore as your teeth are beginning to move. Tough meats, hard breads, raw vegetables and, of course, candy and sticky foods such as licorice and caramels should be eliminated. Try soft foods such as macaroni and cheese, soups, mashed potatoes, pasta and even ice cream. After the initial stage of soreness passes, you will be able to eat a normal diet with the exception of how you eat certain foods and the avoidance of other foods. It is going to be really important to protect your braces when you eat. Cut your food into small pieces. Such food as carrots and apples should also be cut up before eating.

Foods to Avoid

  • Chewy Foods - hard rolls and licorice.
  • Crunchy foods - popcorn, ice and chips.
  • Sticky foods - caramels, gum and gum drops.
  • Hard foods - nuts, candy, etc.
  • Foods You Have to Bite Into - Corn on the cob should be removed from the cob. Apples, carrots and such other hard foods should be cut into pieces before eating.
  • Chewing of Hard Things - Pens, pencils and fingernails can damage braces. Damaging braces will increase your treatment time.

When your braces are placed, we will review how to eat foods you love without causing damage to your braces.

General Soreness

After your braces are put on, you may feel general soreness in your mouth and your teeth may be tender to biting pressures for three to five days. If the soreness is severe, take Tylenol or Advil. It is also OK if you take what you normally do for a headache or similar pain. Until your mouth becomes accustomed to the braces, your lips, cheeks and tongue may also become irritated for one to two weeks as they adjust and become accustomed to the braces. Wax or silicone can help alleviate the discomfort. We will instruct you on how to use these items at the initial placement of braces. Rinsing your mouth with a warm salt water mouth wash will also help. Dissolve one teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of warm water and rinse your mouth vigorously.

Loose Teeth

Loose teeth are to be expected throughout orthodontic treatment. Don't worry - it's normal. Teeth must loosen first so that they can be moved. Once treatment is completed, your teeth will again become rigidly fixed in their new corrected positions and retainers will function to hold teeth in those positions.

Care of Your Braces

To obtain a beautiful smile as well as a good functional result, the braces must be kept in good shape. Cleanliness is of the utmost importance along with avoiding hard items when chewing.

Protective Coating for Teeth During Orthodontic Treatment

One of the most disappointing outcomes of orthodontic treatment is to remove the patients’ braces only to see straight teeth with white decalcified areas on them. Those areas are called “white spot lesions” and are a result of poor oral hygiene during treatment.

When food and debris builds up on the teeth, plaque is formed. Plaque is a combination of food debris and bacteria. These bacteria nourish themselves on food residue. Their byproduct is acid which leaches calcium out of the enamel and white spot lesions are the result. These lesions, if left untreated, usually lead to decay.

While we make every effort to teach and monitor proper oral hygiene to our patients with braces, we feel that more protection is needed. For this reason, we go to the extra effort and expense of coating the teeth with Opal Sealwhich is a clear sealing and protective substance. Again, this sealant is clear and colorless and also releases fluoride, a proven strengthener for enamel.

This is but one way we attempt to protect our patients’ teeth during orthodontic treatment. There is no substitute, however, for the gold standard of oral hygiene which is brushing and flossing carefully. This sealant is not bullet proof, but is very protective for the enamel. If you have any questions, please ask Dr. Scott.

Brushing & Flossing

When you have braces, it is more important than ever to brush regularly. After orthodontic treatment your teeth and gums will be healthy, provided you have done a good job with your brushing. When you have your braces placed we will review the proper way to brush and floss in order to maintain a healthy and beautiful smile. If you have poor oral hygiene during orthodontic treatment, it will increase the risk of cavities, decalcification of the enamel (white spots), and gum disease.

Flossing is equally important. You will also learn flossing techniques when your braces are placed.

Our doctor strongly recommends the use of electronic toothbrushes, such as the Oral B or Sonicare. Both of these electric toothbrushes are well worth the investment. We also highly recommend the use of an oral irrigation product, such as WaterPik.