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

Life With Braces

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

What to Expect

Initially, the braces feel like they ‘stick out’. This is normal. As you become more comfortable with your braces and tooth alignment improves, this sensation will disappear and will no longer be a concern. Although the braces have been rounded and smoothed, you may find it helpful to apply a small piece of wax around the offending braces until the cheek tissues have ‘toughened’. If your supply of wax runs out, call our office and we will be happy to provide you with more.

You will probably notice some discomfort beginning a few hours after your braces are placed. Some teeth, usually the front ones, may be tender and sensitive to pressure. For most patients, any soreness dissipates within the week. You may wish to take a non-prescription pain medication commonly taken for various discomforts, such as headaches. For maximum effectiveness, it may be best to take such medications before the discomfort begins.

Healthy teeth and gums are important, especially during orthodontic care, so be prepared to spend more time to maintain clean teeth. At the end of the brace placement appointment, complete instructions will be given. A kit with all the required dental aids will also be supplied to help maintain a healthy mouth.

It is normal to experience some discomfort at the start of the treatment and after each adjustment appointment. Non-prescription pain remedies and a soft diet for a few days are recommended. After a few days, the discomfort will ease making regular activities and diet more manageable.

Concerns Related to Orthodontic Appliances

Whenever there has been some obvious damage to an appliance (loose bands, loose brackets, loose or broken wires causing irritation), please call our office as soon as possible so that we can evaluate the urgency of the problem and schedule an appointment with you accordingly. This is very important as loose bands can result in damage to the teeth and a broken wire can cause teeth to move in undesirable directions. We set aside designated openings in our schedule to accommodate these repairs. We encourage patients not to walk in without a scheduled appointment.

Comfort Tips

The following are helpful hints to remedy some of the problems you may encounter until you can be seen in our office:

  • If a tie-wire is irritating your mouth, cover it with wax or tuck it under the archwire using a blunt object like a pencil eraser or a Q- tip.
  • A loose band or bracket can generally be left in place until you are seen in our office. Call the office as soon as you notice a loose band or bracket so that we can evaluate whether or not to schedule an extra appointment to re-attach the loose brace or leave it until the regularly scheduled appointment.
  • A broken archwire, or one that is irritating the gum or cheek tissue, can usually be covered with orthodontic wax until the next regularly scheduled appointment.
  • A bent headgear, lip bumper, or removable appliance that is not fitting well should not be worn until it can be properly adjusted in our office. Call the office as soon as possible to schedule an appointment to have the appliance adjusted.

Playing Sports With Braces

Following a direct injury to your mouth or teeth, whether undergoing orthodontic care or not, you should be seen by your family dentist as soon as possible. Usually an x-ray of the involved tooth or teeth is needed to evaluate the extent of the injury.

In case of a sports emergency, be sure to immediately check your mouth and appliance 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 saltwater.

Your Dentist

Your dentist will receive regular reports from our office. We will send a treatment plan at the start, a report in the middle of the treatment and a summary at the conclusion. Maintaining healthy teeth and gums is critical to successful orthodontic treatment. Therefore, it is important for patients to see their family dentist for routine dental cleanings and checkups at least every 6 months while they are in treatment.

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