Life with Braces

life with braces

So, now you are sporting braces. How are you going to take care of them? While we go over this in person with every patient, we know it can be overwhelming. To help, here is a refresher on how to adjust to life with braces.

Eating with Braces

This news is never well received, but when you are wearing braces, you will be limited in what you can eat. Many foods can damage your braces and harm the results of your treatment. Here is a quick guide to help you think about which foods are off limits.

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

So that might have you feeling a little down. To help you feel better about your diet while in treatment, here are things you can enjoy.

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 by Braces and Appliances

Patients always ask us if braces will hurt. Throughout the majority of treatment, you will likely forget they are even there. However, there are times when they cause soreness. Here is what you need to know about this.

First, there are two ways braces can cause soreness: through the pressure placed on the teeth and through irritation of the soft tissues of the mouth. Soreness from pressure lasts about five days after braces are first placed and returns for a few hours after each adjustment. Soreness from irritation can last a week or so after braces are first placed and generally does not come back unless something goes wrong.

For both types of soreness, you can use saltwater rinses and over-the-counter pain medication to relieve it. For irritation-based soreness, you can also put dental wax over the offending areas to prevent the irritation from occurring.

Loose Teeth

This part of treatment is often most problematic for older patients who are far removed from the time when their teeth would come loose and wiggle. But do not worry—your teeth will not fall out. They become loose so they can move and once treatment is over, the firm up in place.

Loose Wires and Bands

Because your mouth moves a lot for talking, eating, and breathing, parts of your appliance are going to come loose at some point. When something comes loose, contact us to schedule an appointment and then consider trying some of these temporary fixes.

First, if something comes off, save it and bring it to your appointment. If nothing has come off but is just loose, here are some ideas for making yourself more comfortable until you are seen. For loose wires, try to push them back into place using sterilized tweezers. For loose brackets, use dental wax to stop them from moving. If a wire is poking and you cannot overwise fix it, clip it after the last place it attaches to your appliance.

Take Care of Your Appliance

Taking care of your appliance is vital. Damaging your appliances means spending more time in treatment and possibly getting a poor result. Follow doctor’s directions regarding care and how to wear your appliances to get the best results.