Tips and tricks for living life with braces
So You Just Got Braces?
Welcome to the Barton Orthodontics Club! If you’re like most people and today is your first day of life with braces, it’s likely that your mouth is a bit sore. It’s very normal to feel some discomfort, soreness and some ouchiness, but that should mostly be gone within a few days. While you’re waiting out these next few days, you might want to stick to soft food, give yourself a popsicle, smoothie or ice cream treat and take some Motrin or Tylenol. In the next few weeks you’ll learn that taking care of your braces isn’t that hard. You will need to exchange some hard foods such as chips or chewy foods such as gummy bears with foods that are easier on your braces and mouth. In the end, it will all be worth it and your smile will be something to be proud of for life.
The biggest enemy to your smile is plaque. If left on the teeth today, it can lead to cavities, gingivitis and bad breath tomorrow.
Brush your teeth 2–3 times per day, ideally after each meal.
Using a soft toothbrush, clean all surfaces of your teeth, paying special attention to the area below the brackets along the gumline. Rotate the brush to clean underneath the brackets and wires to prevent unsightly, permanent white scars (demineralization) that can form from unremoved plaque.
Flossing like a pro prevents cavities that form between the teeth where your toothbrush cannot reach.
Flossing is a bit more challenging with braces. Using a reusable floss threader makes it easy to pass the floss underneath the wire and floss like normal. Your Barton team will demonstrate how to do it the day you get your braces.
Throughout the course of your treatment, continue to see your dentist regularly for cleanings and checkups.
Eating with Braces
Eating with braces doesn’t have to be a chore. By slowing down, taking smaller bites, and exercising a little care, you can continue to enjoy most of your favorite foods.
Skipping certain problem foods will help you to avoid broken brackets and other concerns that could extend your treatment and require additional appointments.
- Grains – pasta, oatmeal, rice
- Dairy – soft cheese, yogurt, milk-based drinks
- Soups & Chili
- Soft Breads – tortillas, pancakes, muffins without nuts
- Proteins – soft chicken, seafood, lunch meat, fish, meat off the bone, beans, eggs
- Soft Fruits – bananas, berries, applesauce, smoothies, and citrus fruits!
- Soft Vegetables – mashed potatoes, tomatoes, steamed veggies
- Treats – (in moderation) Jell-O, milkshakes, ice cream, pudding
- Hard Foods – nuts, ice, popcorn (those kernels!), hard candy
- Chewy Foods – beef jerky, pizza crusts, French breads, Starburst, toffee, Skittles, bagels
- Sticky Foods – gummy candies, caramel candies, bubble gum
- Foods that Require Biting Into – corn on the cob, uncut apples, carrots
- Eat Less (be sure to brush after!) – soda, sugary drinks, sugary foods
- Do Not – chew on fingernails, pencils, pens
Do braces hurt? Nervous about getting braces?
Getting braces placed on your teeth is virtually painless! However, most people experience some minor discomfort for the first four or five days after starting braces and after each adjustment. During these infrequent periods of tooth tenderness, over-the-counter pain relievers such as Ibuprofen or Tylenol, rinsing with warm salt water and eating softer foods are effective at reducing discomfort.
For discomfort from a poking wire, the special orthodontic wax in your new patient kit will become your temporary best friend. Just take a small piece, ball it up and squish it around the offending wire. This will get you back to comfortable until it is convenient for you to come in.
Rubbing / Pinching of the Cheeks
Rubbing or pinching of the cheeks can occur until you are fully adjusted to your new braces. For relief during the adjustment period, take a small piece of orthodontic wax from your new patient kit and place it over the bracket or wire in the sore area.
Loose brackets can be uncomfortable, but thankfully are not generally an emergency. Typically, a loose bracket will stay attached to the wire and can be covered with wax if bothersome. If the bracket has come off of the wire, please save it for reattachment. In either case, just give our office a call and we will find a convenient time for you to come in.
We are here for you.
If you have an emergency that needs immediate attention outside of normal business hours, please call our standard office phone number and follow the prompts to be routed to the emergency phone. An experienced Barton team member will respond with assistance as promptly as possible.