Life with Braces

Tips and Advice for Life with Braces:

Foods on the good list:

While you must modify your diet during treatment, there are still many things you can enjoy.

Here are some examples:

  • Fruit /raw vegetables cut up into bite-size pieces
  • Mini pretzel sticks, thin chips, and crackers
  • Pirate Booty (a great popcorn alternative!)
  • Popcorn ( but no kernels)
  • Be sure to brush after these snacks!!

Foods on the hit list:

  • Ice
  • Corn on the cob, candy
  • Hard cookies, hard bread crusts, tough bagels, hard pretzels and granola bars.
  • Corn chips, nuts, peanut brittle
  • Beef jerky, ribs, Buffalo wings
  • Hard sticky candy (Jolly Ranchers, Lifesavers, Mints, Skittles, Starburst)

Sticky Foods:

  • Caramel and candy apples
  • Chewy Candy (Milk Duds, Sugar Babies, Rolos, gummies, Swedish Fish, Twizzlers, taffy)
  • Rice Krispy Treats

In addition to the above mentioned food there are habits that can bend and break your braces.

Habits That Will Damage Your Braces:

  • Picking at braces with pens or fingers
  • Biting your fingernails
  • Sucking your thumb or fingers
  • Chewing on pens and pencils

General Soreness

When you get your braces on you may feel general soreness in your mouth. Your teeth may be tender to biting pressures for three to five days. This can be relieved by taking an alternating schedule of Tylenol and Ibuprofen. The lips, cheeks and tongue may also become irritated for one to two weeks as they toughen and become accustomed to the surface of the braces. You can put wax on the braces to lessen this. Warm salt water rinsing will also help speed your recovery.

Loosening of Teeth

This is to be expected throughout treatment. Don’t worry! It’s normal. Teeth must loosen first so they can be moved. The teeth will again become rigidly fixed in their new-corrected position.

Rubber Bands

Rubber bands are small elastics that create a continuous force causing the upper and lower jaws  to align properly. Unless otherwise advised by the doctor, you need to wear your elastics 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You may remove the elastics only when eating and brushing your teeth. You should wear the rubber bands the way the assistant has shown you. If you forget how to wear them, please call the office so we can explain proper placement. You should replace your rubber bands with new ones at least once a day. After a while elastics lose their strength. Always carry extra elastics with you in case they break or get lost. If you run out of elastics or lose them, please stop by the office to pick up more. If it is not convenient to do so then call us and we will be more than happy to send them to you.

Your teeth may feel sore for a couple of days while adjusting to the elastics. The soreness will go away with continuous wear. Giving your teeth “a break” from the elastics will only make them feel sore the next time you put them on and set you back in treatment.

Brushing and Flossing

Good oral hygiene practices are important to a healthy mouth with or without braces. With braces food and plaque have more places to hide. It is important to take a full 2-3 minutes of quality brushing 2-3 times a day. You should make certain to brush along the gum line where food and plaque can easily get caught. After your braces are placed, one of our team members will go through detailed hygiene instructions with you. We will provide you with an orthodontic “survival kit” that has all the tools you will need to care for your teeth and braces.

Retainers
Essix Retainers-clear retainers

Congratulations!! You have made it through treatment and now you have a beautiful smile. In order to keep your great smile, you must wear your retainers or else the teeth will move back. You will need to follow these directions to take care of your retainers and your brand new smile.

Wear retainers FULL TIME for one week (unless otherwise told by the doctor) You may remove your retainers while eating and brushing but you must replace them as soon as you are finished.

After wearing retainers for one full week, you can then begin to wear them at night only. You need to wear your retainers EVERY night for about 10 to 12 hours. IF you only sleep eight hours then put them in a few hours before bed.

Keep retainers clean by gently scrubbing them with your toothbrush. Use the remainder of the toothpaste on your brush and rinse; never rinse with really hot water. Make sure to clean retainers before storing them in your case.

Always bring your retainers with you for your appointments. If your retainer is lost or broken please call immediately. If you do not wear your retainer, the teeth will move back. There will be a fee for replacement retainers.

Keep retainers away from pets. They will make a great chew toy.

Never wrap retainers in a napkin or paper towel, they will get thrown away.

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