Life With Braces

life-with-bracesNow 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.

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.

Foods to avoid with braces:

  • Chewy foods – bagels, licorice, steak
  • Crunchy foods – popcorn, chips, ice
  • Sticky foods – caramel candies, chewing gum
  • Hard foods – nuts, hard candies, crusty bread
  • Foods that require biting into – corn on the cob, apples, carrots

Foods you CAN eat with braces:

  • Dairy – soft cheese, pudding, milk-based drinks
  • Breads – soft tortillas, pancakes, muffins w/o nuts, soft sliced bread
  • Grains – pasta, soft cooked rice
  • Meats/poultry – soft cooked chicken, meatballs, lunch meats
  • Seafood – tuna, salmon, crab cakes
  • Vegetables – mashed or baked potatoes, steamed vegetables, beans
  • Fruits – applesauce, bananas, fruit juice, other sliced fruits
  • Treats – ice cream w/o nuts, milkshakes, Jell-O, soft cake

Soreness caused from braces and appliances

When you first get your braces, you may notice that your teeth and mouth feel a little tender or sore. This is perfectly normal for patients who have just gotten their braces put on, 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!

Loose Teeth

If your teeth begin feeling a little loose, don’t worry; this is normal! Your braces must first loosen your teeth in order 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.

Brushing Your Teeth with Braces

When you have braces it’s very important to brush and floss after every meal in order to keep your teeth and gums healthy throughout your treatment. If you need help choosing the right toothbrush, toothpaste, and dental floss, please ask us and we can help you choose the right products for your teeth and your appliance.

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 in order 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 your appliance for any damage that may have occurred. If you notice any loose teeth, or if your appliance has been damaged, please contact our office right away. You can temporarily relieve the discomfort with wax or by rinsing your mouth with warm saltwater.

Mouthguards

Protecting your smile while playing sports is essential when you have braces. Mouthguards help protect your teeth and gums from injury. If you participate in basketball, boxing, hockey, football, gymnastics, lacrosse, martial arts, racquetball, rugby, track and field, skateboarding, skiing and snowboarding, skydiving, soccer, surfing, volleyball, water polo, weightlifting or wrestling, it is recommended by the American Association of Orthodontists that you wear a mouthguard.

Types of mouthguards and Custom mouthguards

Choosing the right mouthguard is essential. There are three basic types of mouthguards: the pre-made mouthguard, the “boil-and-bite” fitted mouthguard, and a custom-made mouthguard from your orthodontist. When you chose a mouthguard, be sure to pick one that is tear-resistant, comfortable and well fitted for your mouth, easy to keep clean, and does not prevent you from breathing properly.

Pre-made mouthguards and boil-and-bite mouthguards can be purchased at most sporting goods stores, while custom-made mouthguards are specially designed by your orthodontist to provide optimal protection against mouth injuries. If you wear braces or a retainer, it is imperative for you to wear a mouthguard during contact sports. Your doctor can show you how to wear a mouthguard properly and how to choose the right mouthguard to protect your smile.

Taking care of your mouthguard

Similar to a retainer, braces, or any other special dental appliance, it is important to take care of your mouthguard by storing it properly and keeping it clean, as well as knowing when to replace your old mouthguard with a new one. Here are a few simple ways to keep your mouthguard clean and working correctly:

  • Gently scrub your mouthguard after each use with a toothbrush and toothpaste.
  • Store your mouthguard in a protective case.
  • Do not leave your mouthguard in the sun or in hot water, because it may melt or become deformed.
  • Replace your mouthguard at the beginning of every new sports season. You should also replace your mouthguard if you notice it has become worn and no longer fits properly.
  • Do not wear a retainer with your mouthguard. If you wear braces, your dentist will help design a mouthguard to protect your teeth and your braces.
  • Do not chew on or cut pieces off of your mouthguard. Mouthguards come in different shapes and sizes; ask your dentist which is best for you.
  • Bring your mouthguard to each dental checkup, so your dentist can check to make sure it’s still in good shape!

Sports related injuries to the mouth and jaw are some of the most common injuries received by athletes. Our goal is to help minimize your chances of a sports related injury to your smile. Be sure to ask your doctor about mouthguards at your next appointment — GO TEAM!