Life With Braces

So you got your braces on and thought you were listening when we explained everything or you asked your teenager what our orthodontic office told them about their braces and they just shrugged.  Here is the information you need to know about taking care of braces.  Here are some tips to help with your new life in braces so you can become a braces pro in no time.  Remember there will always be an adjustment period over the first week or so, but most people adjust quickly and do amazing. Check out our blog for more in-depth info on what to expect your first week.
• There may be a few days of soreness after you get your braces on or after adjustments.  You can alter you diet to softer foods during these days of braces until your teeth adjust to the pressure.  Good meals and snacks include pasta, eggs, rice, oatmeal, yogurt, smoothies and of course Ice Cream.
• Chewing Gum (only soft sugarless) and Tylenol (aka Acetaminophen) can also help if you need something to help with tenderness.  Only take medications if it doesn’t interfere with additional medications you may be taking and whenever there is a question about starting a medication or medication interactions please consult your doctor.
• Brushing should be done least 2 times a day.  If you are able to brush after lunch this is an added bonus and will clean food away that can get stuck around braces and wires.  Think of braces as little squares that need to be cleaned on all 4 sides.  Clean the top and bottom with a tooth brush and don’t forget to clean where the tooth meets the gums.  This is the area that is most difficult to clean with braces and the area we most often see missed.  The sides of the braces (under the wire) needs to be cleaned with a proxy/interdental brush because a tooth brush is just too big.  Use this small brush to get under the wire and scrub the sides of the braces as well as cleaning under the hooks of the back braces.
• Flossing should be done once a day with either floss with a floss-threader, super-floss, or a pre-threaded flosser designed for braces.  This is a time-consuming process because you need to thread the floss under the wire between each tooth.  Don’t leave flossing out of your regiment as it cleans between your teeth and gums where a tooth brush can’t reach.  This will lead to healthier gums and prevent swollen and painful while in braces.
• A water flosser is essentially a small squirt gun for the mouth that is used to flush food and debris away from the braces as well as massaging the gums.  This is also essential for cleaning around and under expanders.  There are many varieties to choose from including cordless models and models that hook up to your shower.  You don’t need a fancy one and these can be purchased at Amazon, Walmart, and most pharmacies.
• Make sure to pick up a fluoridated mouth rinse such as ACT.  Check the active ingredients on the back of the rinse and make sure is says fluoride.  Use this rinse after you brush in the morning and evening and nothing to eat or drink for 30 minutes after.
• Irritations of the checks, lips, and tongues can occur.  Braces are not a smooth as your natural teeth and just like a new pair of shoes may take a little time to break in.  Your mouth will eventually toughen up and you will get used to the rubbing.  If anything gets too bad, that is what the wax if for.  Break off a small piece and squish it on whatever is rubbing or poking you.  It’ll probably come off when you eat but won’t hurt you and just replace as needed.  We also recommend Colgate Peroxyl Rinse is the irritations get too bad, which will also help speed healing.
• Changes to the foods you eat will help keep braces and wires from breaking.  Always remember to stay away from the any foods that are hard and crunchy or super sticky such as ice, tortilla chips, beef jerky, granola bars, hard candy, and gummies. Also stay away from food that you just bite with your front teeth such as whole apples, corn on the cob, ribs, chicken wings, and crusty rolls.  Broken brackets can slow down treatment and cause you to miss extra school or work.
• The last tip is about your bite or the way your teeth fit together.  Most people begin braces with a bite that they are comfortable with and are used to.  Braces move teeth which means that your bite will change and will probably feel different.  We may have also placed bite blocks either on top of your back teeth or on the back of your front teeth so won’t bite on your new braces.  These are used to speed up treatment and decrease broken brackets.  Take it slow with your changing bite.  Begin with softer foods that you don’t have to chew much and always cut everything you eat into small bites.
If you follow these tips you will be on your way to being a braces pro in no time.  And remember, we would be happy to answer any questions so don’t hesitate to ask.  You can call or text our office at 865-312-6264 or even send us a message over Facebook.

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