Now that you have your braces, how do you take care of them? It’s important for you to know how to take care of your braces properly throughout your entire orthodontic treatment.

Eating with Braces

Don’t worry; you’ll be eating popcorn and snacking on potato chips again in no time! Before you can start enjoying some of the treats you love, however, you will need to take special care to avoid any foods that could damage your new appliances.

apples-fruit-red-juicy-39028Foods to avoid with 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

Foods you CAN eat with braces

– 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

Equipment and Comfort

Damaged appliances can increase the length of your treatment process, so be sure to take care of all your appliances. Your teeth and jaw can only move into their correct positions if you wear the rubber bands, headgear, retainer, or other appliances consistently as prescribed by Dr. Carrie.

Soreness Caused by Braces and Appliances

Braces sorenessWhen 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 will not 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, but do not swallow the salt water.

If the pain is more severe and does not go away after rinsing, you can also try taking a pain reliever. It is also not uncommon 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 you can put over the braces to lessen the tenderness. If you need some wax, please let us know.

Loose Teeth

If your teeth begin to feel a little loose, don’t worry; this is normal! Your braces must first loosen your teeth to move them into the right position. Once your teeth have been repositioned, they will no longer be loose.

Loose Wires and Bands

The wires and bands on your braces may come loose. If this happens, please contact us as soon as possible so we can check and repair your appliance. If any piece of your appliance comes off, be sure to save it and bring it to the office with you.

You can temporarily fix the loose wire by using the back of a spoon or the eraser end of a pencil to push the wire carefully and gently back into place. If the loose wire is causing irritation to your lips or cheeks, put wax or a wet cotton ball over the broken wire to relieve the pain.

Playing Sports with Braces

Game, set, and match — we have great news for athletes! You can still play sports even while undergoing orthodontic treatment! If you do play sports, it’s recommended that you wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth and your appliance. Let us know if you need help finding the right mouthguard for the best protection.

In case of a sports emergency, be sure to check your mouth and appliance immediately for damage. If you notice any loose teeth or appliance damage, please contact our office right away. You can temporarily relieve the discomfort by applying wax or rinsing your mouth with warm salt water.

Brushing Your Teeth with Braces

When you have braces, it’s 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.

Brushing Instructions

Brushing: Step 1

Place your toothbrush at a 45 degree angle to your gum.

Brushing: Step 2

Brush gently in a circular motion.

Brushing: Step 3

Brush the outer, inner, and chewing surfaces of each tooth.

Brushing: Step 4

Use the tip of your brush for the inner surface of your front teeth.

Flossing Instructions

Flossing: Step 1

Wind about 18 inches of floss around your fingers as shown. Most of it should be wrapped around one finger, and as the floss is used, the other finger takes it up.

Flossing: Step 2

Use your thumbs and forefingers to guide about one inch of floss between your teeth.

Flossing: Step 3

Holding the floss tightly, gently saw the floss between your teeth. Then curve the floss into a C-shape against one tooth and gently slide it beneath your gums.

Flossing: Step 4

Slide the floss up and down, repeating for each tooth.

Retainer Instructions

  • Wear your retainer at all times, until Dr. Carrie instructs otherwise.
  • Take your retainer out when eating, and always put it back in its case! (Most appliances are lost in school lunchrooms or restaurants.)
  • Clean the retainer thoroughly once a day with a toothbrush and toothpaste. Use warm but not hot water. Brushing retainers removes the plaque, and eliminates odors. Efferdent® or other orthodontic appliance cleaners can be used but do not take the place of brushing.
  • When your retainer is not in your mouth, it should ALWAYS be in its case. Pets love to chew on them!
  • Initially, you may find it difficult to speak. Practice speaking, reading, or singing out loud to get used to it more quickly.
  • Retainers are breakable, so treat yours with care. If your retainer gets lost or broken, call us immediately.
  • If you have any questions or concerns about your retainer, or you believe it needs adjusting, call us. Do not try to adjust it yourself.
  • Always bring your retainer to your appointments.
  • Retainer replacements are expensive, but with proper care they will last for years!
  • Remove your retainer when you go swimming.
  • Keep retainers away from hot water, hot car dashboards, pockets, the washing machine, and napkins.