Eating with Braces
What can you eat? Let's talk about what you shouldn't eat! If you've been wanting to drop a few pounds, the first week wearing braces is just your chance! For the first day or so, stick to soft foods. Avoid tough meats, hard breads, and raw vegetables. Before long, you'll be able to bite a cucumber again. But you'll need to protect your orthodontic appliances when you eat for as long as you're wearing braces.
Foods to Avoid
- Ice (even if you’re careful)
- Jolly Ranchers, snickers and other hard candies
- Gum of any kind
- Hard chips like Doritos
- Carrots, apples, pears, etc. should be cut into small pieces
- Stay away from the bottom of the popcorn bag – the hard kernels are bad news
- Meat should not be chewed off the bone – it should be cut off
- Corn of the cob should be sliced off
- Pizza crust, bagels, and French bread should be broken into bite-sized pieces
- Pens, pencils, and fingernails should not be bit down on as they will also damage the braces
When you get your braces on, you may feel general soreness in your mouth and teeth may be tender to biting pressures for three to five days. Rinsing your mouth with cold water can relieve this soreness, as the wires we place are thermal activated. If the tenderness is severe, take a painkiller that you would normally take for headache or similar pain. 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. We'll show you how!
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 - positions.
If you play sports, it's important that you consult us for special precautions. A protective mouthguard is advised for playing contact sports. In case of any accident involving the face, check your mouth and the appliances immediately. If teeth are loosened or the appliances damaged, phone at once for an appointment. In the meantime, treat your discomfort as you would treat any general soreness.
It's more important than ever to brush and floss regularly when you have braces, so the teeth and gums are healthy after orthodontic treatment. Patients who do not keep their teeth clean may require more frequent visits to the dentist for a professional cleaning. Adults who have a history of gum disease should also see a periodontist during orthodontic treatment.
Caring for your braces is pretty easy if you follow a few guidelines:
The first thing to consider when cleaning your teeth is that there are three surfaces of each tooth that need to be brushed.
When brushing the outside of your teeth you should try to make a 45 degree angle toward the gum line between the head of your toothbrush and the tooth itself.
It is especially important to make sure the area between the brace and the gum stays clean.
Try to brush three teeth at a time. Make sure these teeth are completely free of food and plaque before moving to the next few. Once you're done with the outsides of the top and bottom teeth you can move to the insides.
When brushing the inside surfaces of your teeth, try to maintain the 45 degree angle towards the gum line as you did with the outside surfaces. Again, try to brush three teeth at a time and make sure that they are clean before moving on.
The Chewing Side
Cleaning the chewing sides of the teeth should be straightforward. Remember to brush three teeth at a time prior to moving on top the next ones.
Flossing with braces takes a few minutes to master, but the effort is well worth it.
There are 2 ways to floss –
- using a floss called Superfloss.
- using regular floss with floss threaders.
They can be found in the dental aisle of most supermarkets and drug stores.
The first step to flossing is getting the floss under the wire that connects the braces together.
Once the floss is under the archwire it can be wrapped around the tooth to one side. The floss is then pushed up toward the gum line and then pulled down toward the wire. This should be repeated four to five times to ensure all plaque is removed. Be careful not to put too much pressure on the wire as you pull down. Then wrap the floss around the neighboring tooth. Once booth teeth are done, the floss is pulled out and the process repeated for the next two teeth.
What Do I Do if I Have an Emergency?
As a general rule, an emergency appointment may be made when there is severe pain, a loose band, a broken wire or something sticking out that you can't take care of. It's important to know the names of the parts of your appliances. It will help, when you phone the office, to be able to identify what part is broken or out of place.
If you have an emergency such as a broken bracket, loose or poking wire, or anything else that is causing you discomfort, please call the office. If we are not in the office, you can reach us by the numbers listed on the answering system. We care about our patients and their comfort during treatment with us. We will always try to correct any problem you might have as quickly as possible.
Care of Appliances
To successfully complete the treatment plan, the patient must work together with the orthodontist. The teeth and jaws can only move toward their corrected positions if the patient consistently wears the rubber bands, headgear or other appliances as prescribed. Damaged appliances lengthen the treatment time.
- Wear your retainers full time, until the doctor instructs otherwise.
- Take your retainers out when eating… and always put retainers in their case! (Most appliances are lost in school lunch rooms or restaurants.)
- Brush retainers thoroughly twice a day with a toothbrush and hand washing soap. Use room temperature water. Brushing retainers removes the plaque, and eliminates odors. Orthodontic appliance cleaners can be used, but do not take the place of brushing.
- When retainers are not in your mouth they should ALWAYS be in a retainer case. Pets love to chew on them!
- Initially, you may find it difficult to speak. Practice speaking, reading, or singing out loud to get used to them faster.
- Retainers are breakable, so treat them with care. If retainers are lost or broken call us immediately.
- If you have any questions or concerns about your retainers, or your retainers need adjusting, call us. Do not try to adjust them yourself.
- Always bring your retainers to your appointments.
- Retainer replacement is expensive… with proper care they will last for years!
- Remove retainers when swimming.
- Keep retainers away from hot water, hot car dashboards, pockets, the washing machine, and napkins.
Fixed Expander Instructions
- Turn your expansion screws as instructed. Insert the key into the hole and turn toward the arrow.
- If you are unable to keep your scheduled appointment, stop turning the expander.
Quality Orthodontic Services Can Transform Smiles
By visiting us as soon as possible, our team can help get you the professional treatment you need.
Helpful Related Links
- American Dental Association (ADA). Glossary of Dental Terms. 2021
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- Valley Ranch Orthodontics was established in 2008.
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