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.
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, ice, raw veggies
- Sticky foods - caramel candies, chewing gum, taffy
- Hard foods - nuts, hard candies, hard edges of pizza crusts
- Foods that require biting into - corn on the cob, apples,
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, quinoa
- Meats/poultry - soft-cooked chicken, meatballs, lunch meats
- Seafood - tuna, salmon, crab cakes
- Vegetables - mashed potatoes, steamed spinach, beans, steamed veggies
- Fruits - applesauce, bananas, berries
- Treats - ice cream without nuts, milkshakes, Jell-O, cake, plain chocolate bars
Playing Sports with Braces
We recommend that you wear a mouth guard in order to protect your teeth, your appliances, and to prevent concussions while playing sports. We recommend a mouth guard that is specific for braces – for example, Shock Doctor. “Boil and Bite” type of mouth guards can be moulded around the brackets. You may need to reshape it a few times throughout treatment as your teeth are moving. Let the doctors know if you need help finding the right mouth guard for the best protection. After your orthodontic treatment is completed, we can make you a custom fitting mouth guard to protect your new smile! 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 salt water.
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 salt water).
If the pain is more severe and does not go away after rinsing, you can also try taking Tylenol, Advil, or whatever pain reliever you normally take to relieve a headache or similar pain. Continuous use of Advil has been shown to slow down tooth movement – use only as needed.
It is also not uncommon for your lips, cheeks, and tongue to become irritated for 1-2 weeks as they toughen and become used to the braces. We have given you some wax in your care bag that you can put over the braces to lessen the tenderness. If you need more 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 in order to move them into the right position. Once your teeth have been repositioned, they will no longer be loose.
Loose Wires and Brackets
The wires and brackets on your braces may come loose. If a bracket comes loose, most often this is because you have eaten something that you were not supposed to. Broken brackets will increase your treatment time. Therefore, if this happens, please contact our office as soon as possible. We will schedule you for a TLC comfort care visit to relieve your discomfort.
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. A nail clipper can carefully be used to clip poking wires if you are unable to reach the office.
If your appliances or braces break, notify our office immediately, even if your appointment is the next or same day. We will need to rearrange our schedule in order to repair or replace your appliance. Without proper notification, your appointment will not take place and will need to be rescheduled. Messages can be left with the office 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Please remember to leave your full name and phone number in your message. Please be aware that loose appliances are not emergencies. We will schedule a TLC comfort visit to relieve your discomfort and the repair will occur when our schedule allows. If you’re in severe discomfort and need to be seen out of our regular office hours please call the Emergency Dental Clinic at (416) 485-7121. This visit may incur a separate fee that may or may not be covered by your insurance provider.
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 our doctors. Your cooperation and participation in your treatment is very important to achieving your treatment goals in a timely manner.
Brushing and Flossing Your Teeth with Braces
When you have braces it’s very important to brush after every meal and floss at least once per day 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.