Now that you are in orthodontic treatment, it's important for you to know how to live with your braces or aligners everyday and take care of them properly throughout your treatment.
Eating with Traditional and Clear Braces
Keeping your braces and appliances clean and in good repair will keep your treatment on track and on time. That means you will need to take special care to avoid any foods that could damage your new appliances.
Foods to avoid
- Chewy foods - bagels, licorice
- Crunchy foods - popcorn, chips, ice
- Sticky foods - caramel candies, chewing gum
- Hard foods - nuts, hard candies
- Foods that require biting into - corn on the cob, apples, carrots
Foods to enjoy
- Dairy - soft cheese, pudding, milk-based drinks
- Breads - soft tortillas, pancakes, muffins without nuts
- Grains - pasta, soft cooked rice
- Meats/poultry - soft cooked chicken, meatballs, lunch meats
- Seafood - tuna, salmon, crab cakes
- Vegetables - mashed potatoes, steamed spinach, beans
- Fruits - applesauce, bananas, fruit juice
- Treats - ice cream without nuts, milkshakes, Jell-O, soft cake
Soreness caused from braces, appliances and aligners
When your braces or aligners are first placed, you may notice that your teeth and mouth feel a little tender or sore. This is perfectly normal and we promise it won't last long. To relieve the discomfort, we recommend dissolving 1 teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of warm water. Swish and gargle this solution in your mouth for just a couple of minutes, then spit it out. Be careful not to swallow the saltwater! If the discomfort is more severe and does not go away after rinsing, you can also try taking a pain reliever.
It is also quite common for your lips, cheeks, and tongue to become irritated for 1 or 2 weeks as they toughen and become used to your braces or aligners. If you wear aligners, this will disappear soon on its own. If you wear braces, we are happy to give you some wax to put over your 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 too. Your teeth must first loosen in order to move into the right position. Once your teeth have been repositioned, they will no longer be loose.
Loose Wires, Bands and Brackets
The wires, bands and brackets on your braces may occasionally 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 a 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 discomfort. If absolutely necessary for comfort, you can cut the wire with nail clippers and remove the piece causing trouble. Always advise our office the next business day so that we can repair any changes you've made.
Taking Care of your Appliances
Damaged appliances can increase the length of your treatment, so be sure to take care of all your appliances for as long as you need to wear them. 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 orthodontist and care for them properly.
Sports, playing an instrument and singing
If you wondered about playing contact sports, playing an instrument or singing while undergoing orthodontic treatment- play on! Participating in these activities may require some adjustment when you first receive your braces or aligners, but your orthodontic appliances will not stop you from enjoying these activities.
If you wear aligners, we recommend that you remove them during sports. If you have braces, we recommend that you wear a mouth guard in order to protect them and your teeth. Let Dr. Duncan know if you need help finding the right mouth guard for the best protection. Orthodontic mouth guards are available through our office.
In case of a sports injury, be sure to immediately check your mouth and your appliances for any damage. If you notice any loose or broken teeth, please contact your general dentist. If an appliance has been damaged, please contact our office immediately for 'hurting' problems and the next business day for 'non hurting' problems. You can temporarily relieve any discomfort with wax or by rinsing your mouth with warm salt water.
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