Care of Appliances
To successfully complete the treatment plan, the patient must work together with the orthodontist. The teeth and jaws can only move toward their corrected positions if the patient consistently wears and cares for the appliances as prescribed. Damaged appliances can have serious consequences for the teeth and lengthen the treatment time, which in turn can increase the fees.
Eating with Braces
What can you eat? Let’s talk about what you shouldn’t eat. For the first 24 hours stick to soft foods. Avoid tough meats, hard breads, and raw vegetables while the glue on your braces finishes setting. For the first week your teeth may be somewhat tender but it is important that you eat a healthy diet even when your teeth are sore. Before long, you will be able to chew comfortably and you will forget you have braces. Throughout your treatment it is important to protect your orthodontic appliances from harm.
Foods to Avoid
- Chewy foods: bagels, hard rolls, beef jerky, etc.
- Crunchy foods: hard chips, thick pretzels, big carrots, etc.
- Sticky foods: most candies (sugarless chewing gum may be okay after the 1st few months – ask you orthodontist)
- Hard foods: nuts, candy, ice
- Foods you have to bite into with your front teeth: corn on the cob, apples, ribs, etc.
- Chewing on hard things (for example, pens, pencils or fingernails) can damage the braces. Remember, to think about what you are putting in your mouth. There are ways to eat all good and healthy foods. Remove the corn from the cob, take the rib meat off the bones, slice crunchy fruits and vegetables into small bites, eat thin pretzels and thin chips, etc. Damaged braces will cause treatment to take longer which can increase the cost of your treatment as well.
When you get your braces on, you may feel general soreness in your mouth and teeth may be tender to biting pressures for three to five days. This can be relieved by rinsing your mouth with warm water, Peroxyl mouthwash (purchased at the drugstore) or homemade mild salt water rinse. Dissolve 1/2 teaspoonful of salt in 8 ounces of warm water, and rinse your mouth vigorously. If the tenderness is severe, take whatever you normally take for headache or similar pain. The lips, cheeks and tongue may also become irritated for one to two weeks as they toughen and become accustomed to the surface of the braces. You can put wax on the braces to lessen this. We’ll show you how!
Brushing & Flossing
At the appointment where your appliances are delivered you will be given instructions about to care for your teeth. It is extremely important that you continue to see your family dentist for cleanings and check-ups throughout your orthodontic treatment. Dr. Lyotard recommends all adults have their teeth cleaned on a 3 months recall schedule during orthodontic treatment and children should have cleanings and checkups by their dentists each 4-6 months. Adults who have a history of gum disease should see a periodontist for their cleanings during orthodontic treatment each 2-3 months so their gum tissue health can be closely monitored. It’s more important than ever to brush and floss regularly when you have braces, so the teeth and gums are healthy after orthodontic treatment. Patients who do not keep their teeth clean are risking severe damage to their teeth and surrounding bones; even tooth loss.
Brushing Your Teeth with Braces
When you have braces its very important to brush and floss after every meal in order to keep your teeth and gums healthy throughout your treatment. If you need help choosing the right toothbrush, toothpaste, and dental floss, please ask us and we can help you choose the right products for your teeth and your appliance.
Loosening of Teeth
Minor periods of time when a tooth or a few teeth feel loose is to be expected throughout treatment. Don’t worry! It’s normal. Teeth must loosen first so they can be moved. The teeth almost always become rigidly fixed in their new – corrected – positions over time. Of course, if you are concerned about anything that feels unusual or more than uncomfortable, contact our office for advice or make an appointment with the doctor.
Loose Wire or Band
Don’t be alarmed if a wire or band comes loose. This happens occasionally. If wire protrudes and is irritating, use a blunt instrument (back of spoon or the eraser end of a pencil) and carefully, gently push the irritating wire to 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 as soon as you notice a problem for an appointment for us to make you comfortable and to plan any needed repairs. If any piece comes off, save it and bring it with you to the office if possible to show the doctor. A good rule to follow is to check your appliances every Monday morning to see if you might have the need for an appointment during that week. This avoids after hours emergency visits which can have additional charges associated with them.