Life with Braces

Orthodontist-David Ross-Hanover-Life With Braces

If you just got your braces on 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!

Soreness

When you first get your braces on, 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 one to two weeks the soft tissues toughen up and the irritation will go away.

You can use the orthodontic wax on the parts that feel irritating, or a mild salt water rinse (one teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of warm water, 3-4 times a day) will also help the healing.  Your orthodontic assistant will show you how to apply the wax to your braces. If the tenderness is severe, take Ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) or whatever you normally take 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 may feel loose at first so they can then be moved into their new, corrected position.  This is normal.

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 breads, and uncooked vegetables.  You may find it easier to eat softer foods, such as soups, pastas, 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.

 Forbidden Foods:
  • 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 breads, pizza crust

Athletics

If you play sports, please notify our office so that we can determine the need for a protective mouth guard.  Our office has complimentary mouthguards, specifically for braces, for all of our orthodontic patients.  Special mouthguards are required when playing full contact sports.

If you should encounter any accident involving a blow to the face, mouth, and teeth, please examine your mouth and braces immediately.  Please call our office if the teeth are loosened or there is any damaged or breakage to your braces.

Expanders

When turning the expander, make sure the key is in the hole and that it is turned toward the arrow (toward the back of the mouth). If you miss or are unable to keep your regularly scheduled appointment, please discontinue turning your expander.

Elastics (Rubber Bands)

Unless Dr. Ross instructs you otherwise, elastics are to be worn full time. You may take your rubber bands out while eating and brushing, but don’t forget to replace them as soon as you are finished. Wearing elastics moves the teeth more efficiently, and is required to finish treatment on time.  If you fail to wear your rubber bands as instructed, it will extend your treatment time.  Your teeth may be sore during the first few days of wearing the elastics.  This is normal, and will subside as soon as the teeth become accustomed to the new pressure.

Before you leave our office, make sure you have plenty of rubber bands to last you in between appointments.  If you should run out or lose them, give our office a call and we would be happy to provide you with more.