Braces Are a Big Step
You’ve taken a big step by having braces put on. You're now officially on the path towards a healthy, beautiful smile. It’s an exciting time, but it also comes with a bit of a learning curve.
As you get used to your new orthodontic treatment, you may need to make a few adjustments, but it'll become second nature before you know it.
When you first get your braces, you may notice that your teeth and mouth feel a little tender or sore.
This is perfectly normal, and we promise your mouth won't be sore forever. To relieve the pain, we recommend dissolving one teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of lukewarm water.
Swish and gargle this solution in your mouth for just a couple of minutes (do not swallow the saltwater).
If your pain is severe and doesn't go away after rinsing, you can also try taking a pain reliever.
It's normal for your lips, cheeks, and tongue to become irritated for one to two weeks as they toughen and become used to the braces.
We would be happy to give you some wax that you can put over the braces to lessen the tenderness. If you need some wax, please let us know.
Care & Maintenance
Brushing with braces can take some getting used to. Maneuvering around brackets and wires takes a little practice.
Be sure to brush thoroughly after every meal or snack, so any food particles are removed before bacteria has a chance to grow.
If you cannot brush right away, rinsing your mouth with water will help until you can get to a toothbrush.
Follow these tips for the best results:
- Use a fluoride toothpaste with a soft, rounded-bristle toothbrush.
- Braces wear toothbrushes out quickly, so be sure to replace yours as soon as it begins to show signs of wear.
- Brush around every part of your braces, as well as every surface of your teeth.
- Look for clean and shiny braces, with the edge of the brackets clearly visible. Fuzzy-or dull-looking metal indicates poor brushing.
- Floss every night before you go to bed. Tools like floss threaders and waterpiks are helpful if you’re having difficulty with getting a good floss underneath the wires.
Eating With Braces
Your teeth may be a little sore for the first week in braces, so we recommend sticking to a soft food diet until the discomfort subsides.
While in braces, you can still eat just about anything, although there are a few exceptions.
You should avoid hard foods, such as ice and pizza crust, as well as sticky foods, including licorice and caramels.
These foods can damage wires and brackets. It is also important to minimize foods high in sugar content, like ice cream and cookies, and reduce sugary drinks to once a day.
Foods You Can Eat
- 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
There are also a few oral habits you’ll want to steer clear of to keep your braces functioning perfectly.
Chewing on objects like pens and ice cubes, biting your nails, and smoking can all cause unwanted pressure on your braces. Do your best to find another way to keep yourself busy while undergoing orthodontic treatment.
Foods to Avoid
Don't worry, you'll be eating popcorn and snacking on potato chips again in no time.
However, before you enjoy some of the treats you love, you'll need to avoid any foods that could damage your new 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
Loose Wires, Bands, & Brackets
Call our office right away for advice if a bracket or wire becomes loose. The bracket may need to be re-fitted as soon as possible.
You may have a situation that requires cutting a wire or sliding a bracket off a wire at night or over the weekend. If you need to cut a wire in case of an emergency, you can use fingernail clippers that have been washed in sterilized in alcohol.
Please call our office the next business day so we can schedule an appointment for you.
If your teeth begin feeling a little loose, don't worry – it’s normal!
Your braces must loosen your teeth first to move them into the right position. Once your teeth have been repositioned, they won’t be loose anymore.
Misplaced Archwire, Bracket, or Tie
Once your teeth adjust to treatment, they begin to move. When this happens, the archwire that connects them may also move, poking out a bit near the back of the mouth and irritating your cheeks.
You can often move this wire into a better position by using the eraser end of the pencil or a cotton swab. You can manipulate any misplaced wires or ties back into place by gently using a pair of clean tweezers.
If some of the wires or brackets have shifted and begun causing irritation to your mouth, you can use orthodontic wax to cover the parts that are poking out.
This will help ease the discomfort, but make sure you get in touch with our office as soon as you can, so we can fix the actual problem instead of you only masking the symptoms at home.
Caring for Your Orthodontic Appliance
Damaged appliances can increase your treatment process length, so be sure to take care of all your appliances.
Your teeth and jaw can only move into their correct positions if you consistently wear the rubber bands, headgear, retainer, or other appliances prescribed by your doctor.
For example, Invisalign’s clear aligner system will only work if the aligners are worn 20-22 hours per day as recommended.
Following Dr. Paul Serrano and Dr. Andrew Serrano’s instructions is the only way to ensure the smile you’ve always wanted.
Tips for Athletes & Musicians
You can still play sports like normal during your treatment, but remember to protect your teeth with an orthodontic friendly mouthguard or to remove your Invisalign aligner during practice or the game.
If you have an accident during your athletic activity, check your appliances and your mouth immediately. If the appliances appear damaged or the teeth loosened, schedule an appointment.
If you play an instrument, you may find it a little challenging to become adjusted to playing with your braces. It’s normal to have some difficulty with proper lip position.
Sores can also develop, but the liberal use of wax and warm salt-water rinses will help your lips and cheeks toughen up more quickly than you’d think.