Braces At Home

Your treatment has begun and it’s time to settle in for the months ahead. There are sure to be lots of changes so trust the process and be kind to yourself as you adjust. You’ve already been given the tools for success, but in case you missed anything, below are few helpful tips.

General Soreness

Girl with sore mouthIt is very common to experience some soreness after you get your appliances (braces and even clear aligners). This is perfectly normal and we promise your mouth will not be sore forever! To relieve the pain, you can try taking a pain reliever. It is also not uncommon for your lips, cheeks, and tongue to become irritated for a few weeks as they get used to the braces. Your introduction kit has ortho wax which you can place under your braces to decrease tenderness. If you need more, let us know.

Puffy Gums

A lot of orthodontic patients report gum tenderness or puffiness after starting treatment. You can make a warm saltwater rinse to help with this. If the tenderness is severe or long lasting, take Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or whatever you normally take for headaches or similar pain. Aspirin, Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) and Naproxen Sodium (Naprosyn, Anaprox) actually slow the tooth movement, so it is not advisable to use them frequently while wearing braces.

When Things Break…

Here is a handy list of at-home troubleshooting options should you need immediate relief until you contact our office:

  • Poking wire:
    • Using a pencil eraser, push the poking wire down or place wax on it so that it is no longer poking.
  • Loose appliance or bracket:
    • If your appliance is poking you, place wax on the offending part. Keep the pieces and bring them with you when you come to the office.
    • If your bracket or band is still attached to the wire, you should leave it in place and put wax on it if needed for comfort. If the bracket or band can be removed easily, place it in a baggie and bring to your next appointment.
  • Loose wire:
    • Using a pair of tweezers or needle-nosed pliers, try to put your wire back into place. If you cannot put the wire into a comfortable position, and covering the end with wax doesn’t help, as a last resort, use a small fingernail clipper to clip the wire behind the last tooth to which it is securely fastened. If the end of the wire is still sharp, place wax on it.
  • Broken colors or power chain:
    • The colorful plastic ties we place around your braces may come off – this is an easy fix and if you are not in pain, usually you can just wait till your next visit because they are replaced every time.

After alleviating your discomfort, it is very important that you still call our office as soon as possible to schedule a time to repair the problem. Allowing your appliance to remain damaged for an extended period of time may result in disruptions to your treatment plan.

Eating With Braces

Young girl wearing glasses and braces puts food on fork into her mouth.

You want to be sure to eat appropriate foods and foods the smart way- that means staying away from things that can break your appliances. Broken appliances can mean extended treatment, which means you don’t get that perfect finish in time for senior pictures or that wedding that’s coming up. Here are some handy tips.

Foods to Avoid:

Chewy foods – bagels, licorice, gummy candies
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

Foods you CAN eat:

Dairy – soft cheese, pudding, milk-based drinks
Carbs – pasta, rice, pancakes, soft bread
Proteins – soft cooked chicken, lunch meats, seafood such as crab cakes or salmon
Vegetables – mashed potatoes, steamed veggies
Fruits – applesauce, bananas, smoothie bowls
Treats – ice cream, milkshakes, Jell-O, cake

Playing Sports with Braces

Young boys playing soccer game. Kids having fun in sport. Happy kids compete in football game. Running soccer players. Competition between players running and kicking football ball. Football schoolIf you do play sports, it’s recommended that you wear a mouthguard to protect your braces and appliances. Let your doctor know if you need help finding the right mouthguard for the best protection. In case of a sports emergency, make sure to check your mouth and appliances for damage. If you notice any loose teeth or appliance damage, please contact the appropriate professional.