All About Braces

Brushing, Flossing and Using the Waterpik® Water Flosser

Good oral hygiene is most important when you have braces so the teeth and gums are healthy during orthodontic treatment. Patients who do not keep their teeth clean are at risk of developing decalcifications, cavities, and gingivitis during treatment. These patients may require more frequent visits to the dentist for a professional cleaning and may not be suitable to continue orthodontic treatment.

An electric toothbrush, Waterpik® Water Flosser, and floss will provide all the tools necessary to maintain excellent oral hygiene and promote dental health during treatment. Adults who have a history of gum disease should also see a periodontist during orthodontic treatment. Watch the two videos below on the proper care of braces during orthodontic treatment.

Eating with Braces

What can you eat? Let’s talk about what you shouldn’t eat! For the first day or so, stick to soft foods. Avoid tough meats, hard breads, and raw vegetables. Before long, you’ll be able to go back to your normal eating habits. However, you’ll need to protect your orthodontic appliances when you eat for as long as you’re wearing braces, and there are certain foods to avoid during treatment.

Foods to Avoid

  • Chewy foods: bagels, hard rolls, licorice
  • Crunchy foods: popcorn, ice
  • Sticky foods: caramels, taffy, gum
  • Hard foods: nuts, candy
  • Foods you have to bite into: corn on the cob, apples, carrots

Habitual chewing on hard objects such as, pens, pencils or fingernails can damage the braces and wires. Damaged braces will cause treatment to take longer.

General Soreness

When you get your braces on, you may feel general soreness in your mouth and teeth may be tender to biting pressures for 3 – 5 days. Take an over-the-counter pain medication that you would normally take for a headache or discomfort. The lips, cheeks and tongue may also become irritated for one to two weeks as they toughen and become accustomed to the braces. We will supply wax to put on the braces in irritated areas to lessen discomfort.

Teeth Feeling Loose

This is to be expected throughout treatment. Don’t worry, t’s normal! Teeth must loosen first so they can move. The teeth will firm up in their new position after treatment is completed.

Loose Wire or Band

Don’t be alarmed if a wire or band comes loose. This happens occasionally. If a metal tie sticks out and is irritating, use a blunt instrument (eraser end of a pencil) and carefully, gently push the irritating wire back under the archwire. Simply get it out of the way. If irritation to the lips or mouth continues, place wax or wet cotton on the wire to reduce the annoyance. Call our office so we can plan to address the issue at your next appointment or earlier if necessary.

Rubber Band Wear

To successfully complete orthodontic treatment, the patient must work together with the orthodontist. The teeth and jaws can only move toward their corrected positions if the patient consistently wears the rubber bands or other appliances as prescribed. Lack of cooperation following instructions and damaged appliances lengthen the treatment time. So please, follow instructions.

Athletics

If you are active in sports or other physical activities, it’s important you let us know. A custom protective mouthguard can be made to help protect your teeth while you carry out your active lifestyle.