Life With Braces
When it’s time to get braces, there may be several things running through your mind. What will you be able to eat? How will you look? Will you speak differently? Will braces hurt? These are all questions you can ask our orthodontist, but once your braces are fitted to your teeth, there are definitely a few changes you can expect.
There will be foods you shouldn’t eat
Your favorite foods may be off-limits because they could damage your braces. Chewy foods, like bagels, licorice, or gum, as well as crunchy foods like popcorn, chips, apples, and raw carrots, all run the risk of getting stuck in your braces or damaging your braces.
Food limitations make it seem as though braces are taking away the fun of eating, but it’s an important precaution you should take to ensure your braces stay in place. Any oral health concerns or damage to your braces can prolong treatment, so we recommend you keep your teeth as healthy as possible.
For all the foods you can’t eat, there are plenty you can! Feel free to indulge in dairy products, pancakes, muffins, chicken, lunch meats, fish, mashed potatoes, and bananas as well as occasional soft sweets — just make sure you’re brushing after every meal!
Braces need to be taken care of just like your teeth
Because you’re exposing them to the same bacteria as your tooth enamel, your braces also run the risk of building up plaque. Brushing and flossing are crucial with braces, and doing so on a regular basis will help keep your teeth strong and free of cavities.
We usually recommend brushing your teeth after every meal and flossing once a day to remove the plaque from in between your teeth and braces. Our orthodontist can give you specific brushing and flossing instructions and recommend tools you can use to make the process much easier. Many of our patients invest in a water pik, which is a great addition to brushing and flossing while in braces, but shouldn't be used to replace them.
You might feel some discomfort at first
In the beginning, your braces may feel foreign in your mouth. Speaking will take some getting used to, and you might feel some irritation along your gums and lips. Any tenderness that you feel is normal and should subside once your mouth adjusts to the brackets and wires.
Rinsing your mouth with warm salt water will soothe any sensitive areas, and there are specialty waxes that you can spread onto your braces to eliminate friction. Over-the-counter pain relievers are also effective at treating the irritation. Our orthodontist can suggest other ways to alleviate soreness as well.
Slightly loose teeth are normal, but loose hardware is not
It may be shocking to feel your teeth becoming loose with braces, but we can assure you it’s perfectly normal. For you to have a healthier, straighter smile, your teeth need to loosen and move according to your treatment plan. Once your teeth reach their proper place, they will tighten up again.
On the other hand, if you have an archwire or bracket that has come loose, it’s important that you call our office. There are many ways to fix these issues over the phone without having to come to our office, and we will be able to either give you the instructions you need or schedule an appointment if necessary.
Use caution when playing sports
Your braces shouldn’t stop you from doing the things you love! Feel free to participate in extracurricular activities like you always have, but if you play a sport, we recommend wearing a mouthguard to protect your teeth and braces from injury.
Braces take some getting used to, but in time, they will become a regular part of your life. If you have additional questions or concerns about your orthodontic treatment with braces, contact Charleston Orthodontic Specialists at 843-642-8100 and we will be glad to help you.