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.
Oral Hygiene – Home Care
Brushing is an important beginning of your home care routine. If you do not give your brushing proper attention, you will end up with a poor result overall.
You should brush your teeth after every meal. At an absolute minimum you should brush in the morning and before bed. A fluoride rinse can be purchased at your local retail store and used once per day.
Make a special effort to brush your gums. Always use a circular motion while brushing on the gum tissue. If your gums bleed, they need more attention.
Flossing should be done at least once a day.
Use your Christmas tree brush in the smaller areas where your toothbrush does not fit well.
It is important to replace your toothbrush every four months.
After you have finished brushing, look closely in the mirror. Clean braces and teeth should be bright and shiny. If they are cloudy and white, brush them again until clean.
Eating With Orthodontic Appliances:
Most patients are able to eat and drink almost anything while in braces and have no problems. However, certain dietary habits are known to cause breakage of orthodontic appliances. In order to finish your treatment on time, it is important to follow our simple instructions.
We ask you as a patient to be responsible for gently checking each part of your appliance everyday to ensure that it is properly attached to the teeth. If something is loose, please call our office to notify us, even if you have an appointment in the near future.
Foods To Avoid with Braces:
Hard, crunchy, and sticky foods are the most damaging. Some of these foods include: Taffy, Tootsie Rolls, Caramels, Suckers, Jolly Ranchers, Ice, Gum, Hard Candy.
Some foods that are hard or crunchy should be sliced, or sectioned into small pieces. Some of these include: Raw Carrots, Raw Celery, Apples Corn on the Cob, Hard Shell Tacos, Chips, Beef Jerky.
Habits such as biting on pens and pencils, chewing on straws or biting fingernails can also cause damage.
Foods You CAN Eat with Braces:
Dairy — soft cheese, pudding, milk-based drinks
Breads — soft tortillas, pancakes, muffins without nuts
Treats — ice cream without nuts, milkshakes, Jell-O, soft cake
First Days In Braces
Initially the braces feel like they “stick out“. This is normal. As you get used to your braces, this sensation will disappear. Although the brackets have been rounded and smoothed, until the cheek tissues have “toughened“, you may find it helpful to use a small piece of wax around the bracket that is creating irritation.
You will probably notice some discomfort beginning a few hours after your braces are on. This is normal and will improve within your first week. 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.
There are routine steps which we ask that you complete prior to leaving the office after each visit:
Check the wire ends to make sure they are not poking you.
Make sure you understand all the instructions that are given to you.
Make sure you have an adequate supply of wax, rubber bands, or other supplies.
Always schedule your next appointment before leaving.
If your teeth begin feeling a little loose, don’t worry; this is normal! Your braces must first loosen your teeth to move them into the right position. Once your teeth have been re-positioned, they will no longer be loose.
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 mouth guard to protect your teeth and your appliance. Let Dr. Childers know if you need help finding the right mouth guard for the best protection.
In case of a sports emergency, be sure to immediately check your mouth and appliance for damage. If you notice any loose teeth or appliance damage, please contact our office right away. You can temporarily relieve the discomfort by applying wax or rinsing your mouth with warm saltwater.