I just got braces: now what do I do?
EATING WITH BRACES
You can still enjoy great food, but a little common sense goes a long way.
FOODS TO AVOID WITH BRACES:
- 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 YOU CAN EAT WITH BRACES:
- 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 AND APPLIANCES
After your braces are placed, you might experience a little irritation in your cheeks and gums. This is to be expected. The good news is that it is only temporary. An old-fashioned salt water rinse can work wonders. Dissolve a teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of lukewarm water and swish this around in your mouth for a couple of minutes as you would using mouthwash (don’t swallow the salt water!). Do this two to three times a day until soreness is gone.
You can also take an over-the-counter pain reliever if you need and wax can also help things to glide a bit easier in your mouth. If you need some wax, please ask us! We will be happy to help you out. Once your lips and cheeks are used to the presence of braces, you will feel a lot better and sometimes will even forget the braces are there. Hang in there! It will only get better!
Slightly mobile teeth are normal during orthodontic treatment. This just means everything is working correctly. During treatment, your teeth are moving into proper alignment and once there, they would not move any more. So be patient and you will be rewarded with a great smile!
LOOSE WIRES AND BANDS
If any of your wires and bands come loose during treatment, please make an appointment so that we can quickly repair them. If anything breaks off, bring it in and we will fix it. If you are unable to come in right away, you can make a temporary fix to a loose wire by using the back of a teaspoon or pencil eraser to carefully push the wire back in place so does not do any damage to the inside of your mouth. If you are unable to push the wire back, place a cotton ball or wax on the wire until you can get to our office to have it fixed. Call us with any concerns! We are here to help!
TAKE CARE OF YOUR APPLIANCES
It is important to make sure your appliances (braces) stays in their specific position on your teeth to complete orthodontic treatment in the desired amount of time. If any breakage occurs, please call us as soon as possible so we can address the problem. Be sure to wear the rubber bands, retainer or headgear as instructed by Dr. Li and her staff so that you can get through treatment as quickly as possible.
PLAYING SPORTS WITH BRACES
We encourage all our patients to be active, and this includes participating in different types of sports! Just remember to be sensible about your braces because they can break if not protected during an athletic event. Wear a sports mouthguard that’s made to accommodate braces to protect the appliance and your teeth. If any breakage were to occur during sports activity, please call us right away so we can get you back on track!
Brushing and Flossing
Yes, you will still have to brush and floss during orthodontic treatment! Dr. Li and her staff can educate you about how to go about brushing your teeth and flossing each day. Just ask us because we love to help! Helping our patients is at the heart of everything we do.
BRUSHING: STEP 1
Place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your gum.
BRUSHING: STEP 2
Brush gently in a circular motion.
BRUSHING: STEP 3
Brush the outer, inner, and chewing surfaces of each tooth.
BRUSHING: STEP 4
Use the tip of your brush for the inner surface of your front teeth.
FLOSSING: STEP 1
Using a piece of floss about 18 inches long; carefully thread the end between braces and wire. You may find a floss threader helpful.
FLOSSING: STEP 2
Carefully floss around the braces.
FLOSSING: STEP 3
Carefully floss around the gum areas.
FLOSSING: STEP 4
Carefully floss around each tooth.