Life with Braces
If you just got your braces and are wondering what to expect, here are a few tips and insights that will help you get started! Orthodontic treatment is a team effort involving the doctor, the orthodontic team, and the patient. You need to do your part in achieving our goals. If you keep your regular appointments, follow our hygiene guidelines, wear your elastics and appliances properly, and avoid the “Forbidden Foods” listed below, you will be on the path to a beautiful new smile in no time!
When you first get your braces, you may feel general soreness in your mouth and teeth may be tender when biting down for three to five days. Your cheeks, tongue, and lips may also feel sore and raw from the new hardware. The good news is that usually in two to three weeks the soft tissues toughen up and the irritation will go away. You can use orthodontic wax on the parts that feel irritating, or a mild salt water rinse (one teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of warm water, 2-3 times a day) will also help the healing. If the tenderness is severe, take Tylenol as you would normally take it for headaches or similar pain.
Loosening of Teeth
This is to be expected throughout treatment. As the initial movement of your teeth begins, your teeth loosen up first so they can be moved into their new, corrected position.
Foods to Avoid
For the first few days, eating will be more difficult than usual - take your time! Try to avoid foods that require a lot of chewing, such as tough meats, hard bread, and uncooked vegetables. You may find it easier to eat softer foods, such as soups, pasta, and potatoes.
Hard, sticky, chewy, and brittle foods and foods high in sugar must be avoided. Hard and brittle foods can break or damage wires and brackets. Sticky and chewy foods can get caught between brackets and wires. Minimize sugary foods; they cause tooth decay and related problems. Nail biting, pencil, and pen chewing and chewing on foreign objects should be avoided.
- Hard Foods: ice, nuts, & hard candies
- Sticky Foods: gum, caramels & taffy
- Chewy Foods: jerky, licorice & gummy bears
- Crunchy Foods: tortilla chips and popcorn
- Corn on the cob (unless cut off the cob)
- Apples and carrots (unless cut into small pieces or shredded)
- Hard bread, pizza crust
Brushing and Flossing with Braces
Athletes and Musicians