Life with Braces
Life with braces means great things: you are making yourself healthier, boosting your confidence, and taking good care of yourself. It also means some not-so-great things, like changing your diet and relearning how to brush and floss now that an appliance is in your way. Life with braces is a mixed bag, but we firmly believe the good more than outweighs the bad. To help you on your journey, here are the things you need to know.
Your Diet Will Change
Because your braces are delicate, certain types of foods must be avoided in order to not damage them. With some foods, there are tricks to get around this, while other foods will be off limits while in treatment. Here are the key things you should know.
- Your first 1-5 days with braces will leave your teeth sore to biting pressure. During this time, stick to soft foods—those you can easily mash with a fork.
- After every adjustment, this soreness will return for a few hours. Once again, go for the soft foods.
- Certain types of foods are bad news for braces. Chewy, crunchy, sticky, and hard foods are a no go until your braces are off. Also, avoid anything you have to bite into.
Okay, so those food categories are a little vague. To help you better think about what to avoid, here are some examples of foods in each category:
- Chewy foods: Bagels, hard rolls, and licorice
- Crunchy foods: Popcorn, ice, and chips
- Sticky foods: Caramels and gum
- Hard foods: Such as nuts and candy
- Foods you have to bite into: Corn on the cob, apples, and carrots
This is also a time where bad habits can hurt you more than usual, so chewing on pens, pencils, fingernails, and the like should be avoided.
Sometimes Things Will Hurt
How much will they hurt? Not much, thankfully, but braces can cause some uncomfortable sensations. The good news is these sensations do go away, and there are things you can do to cope with them while they are there. Always start with a salt-water rinse as this often eliminates the problem. If it doesn’t, it is time to move onto the next step. If the problem is general soreness, an over-the-counter pain reliever will work well. If it is irritation from the appliance, cover the offending part in dental wax.
Teeth Are Going to Move
We know what you are thinking: of course they will, is that not the point of braces? Well, yes, it is, but the thing that many fail to think about is that for teeth to move, they have to become loose first. This sensation is uncomfortable for many teen and adult patients who have their adult teeth and are not exactly welcoming the idea of wiggly teeth. Still, it is part of the process, and it will go away during the retention phase of treatment.
Brushing and Flossing Are About to Change
You have been brushing and flossing since as far back as you can remember, and once you got your technique down as a kid, it has stayed the same ever since. Well, not anymore; while wearing braces, you have to change things up. We will teach you the techniques in person, but we suggest you watch YouTube videos while at home to help you along if you get tripped up.
Loose Wire or Band
If a piece of your appliance comes loose, do not get upset and do not assume it means your braces are bad. As it ends up, having things come loose is perfectly normal. In fact, it would be abnormal if no part of your appliance ever comes loose during the course of treatment. In general, you just need to stabilize the loose piece or push it out of the way and then call us so we can schedule a quick visit. If something comes off, save it and bring it in when we see you.