Life With Braces
We want you to be informed about you or your child’s orthodontic and dental needs. That is why we offer a completely complimentary consultation so we can address all of your orthodontic concerns. During your orthodontic treatment, there are a few things you should know. Read below on how to take care of your orthodontic appliances during treatment.
Eating With Braces
We know it will be a challenge at first as you might consider we are severely limiting your choices for the foods you can eat the first few days of braces. Please try to follow our recommendations and stick to foods that are soft or easily mashable. Yes, you can eat pancakes with braces. Your breakfast will still have room for oatmeal, scrambled eggs, bananas, apple sauce, and more. Don’t forget you can still eat soups, cooked or steamed vegetables, mashed potatoes, mac & cheese, pasta dishes, and wrap everything up with great ice cream. Please stay away from hard, crunchy, and sticky foods.
How about some food hacks during your treatment with braces? Cook down your vegetables to make the softer. Similarly, you can cut corn off the cob and slice apples into bite-sized pieces to avoid damaging your brackets.
Although braces are durable pieces of technology and leverage the endurance of stainless steel and other materials, you still have a lot to do to avoid any damage to your appliance. Some foods and drinks can damage components of your braces and increase the risk of tooth decay. Generally speaking, please avoid all foods that are sticky, hard, or chewy. Soft foods are your best friend because they cannot directly damage your brackets and archwires.
If you’re in doubt about a particular food, ask the doctor.
For situations requiring immediate medical attention, you should contact your doctor or local emergency medical services.
We want you to know that our entire team is here to help you overcome orthodontic emergencies. Fortunately, emergency orthodontics has plenty of DIY solutions that will get you through until you come back into the office for a more permanent solution. Loose brackets and wires that cause discomfort by brushing against the inside of your cheeks or lips can be a thing of the past with just a bit of orthodontic wax. You can tuck poking wires back in place with a blunt object and even the back of a pencil eraser.
Still, you should always call the office and set up an appointment to correct the issue with a permanent solution.
When it comes to pain management, you should expect some discomfort when you start your treatment, as your teeth will be moving a lot. You might feel some soreness and that your teeth are loose. Try over-the-counter medication and saltwater rinses to alleviate the pain. If you feel pain for longer than 5 days, ask your orthodontist for additional help.
Bite Bumps – Speed-up Treatment
Depending on your jaw alignment, your top teeth may bite down and come into contact with the braces anchored to your lower teeth arch. As your teeth rest on top of the brackets, you may be “biting off” your lower braces and increasing the number of visits to the orthodontist for repairs. To prevent this situation and allow for proper placement of upper and lower teeth, we use small temporary build-ups called “Bite Turbos” that go on the lingual or backside of your front teeth. Similarly, we use “Bite Props” on the biting surface of your rear teeth.
You may feel that your teeth are not touching fully. As a result, you will have to adjust your diet for a couple of weeks and favor softer foods that are easier to chew. As it may happen with any appliance, please call us if you need to schedule a repair when and if the bite bumps come off.
What are they?
When Dr. Katz uses the word ‘Elastics’, she is referring to tiny rubber bands. These tiny rubber bands apply pressures to the teeth in certain directions that braces alone can not. These elastics are connected to tiny hooks on your braces or Invisalign trays. The elastics can be taken in and out, and Dr. Katz will instruct you on how often to wear them, and what configuration they should be worn in. Elastics should only be worn as prescribed by an orthodontist.
What if your elastics break?
Not to worry. If your elastics break, you need only replace them with a new one. You can have plenty on hand to replace them as the need arises. If you run out of replacements, simply call our office to get new ones and we will ship you some. It’s not common for elastics to break, but overstretching them might tear the materials. Please note that when this happens repeatedly, we may have to change your elastics’ size, so don’t hesitate to give us a call.
Try to begin by rinsing with water, especially before you start brushing your teeth. Rinsing will help loosen any food particles lodged between your teeth and around your brackets. When you’re finally ready to brush your teeth, place your toothbrush at the gumline at a 45-degree angle. Also, please remember to use a soft-bristled toothbrush. Then place your toothbrush on top of the brackets angling down to brush the top of each piece. Reposition the toothbrush under the brackets to repeat the motion and cover the other side. Please remember to use a circular motion and go slowly to brush the majority of the tooth’s surface.
Parents should supervise their kids’ who, even though old enough to brush their teeth on their own, could benefit from some additional help while adjusting to brushing their teeth with braces.
Cleaning Between Teeth
There’s no downplaying the importance of proper flossing to keeping your mouth as healthy as possible. During your treatment with braces, however, flossing can prove to be more challenging. Use a floss threader to make flossing with braces much easier. You could also get soft picks that can help brush the space between your teeth.
Likewise, try using a mouthwash to help develop additional protection against cavities. Taking care of your teeth’ health during your orthodontic treatment requires discipline, so parents will do well to help children stay on top of this crucial part of their routines. Even with braces on, kids should see their dentist twice a year for cleanings and checkups.
Congratulations! You’re done with braces! Still, even though you may have completed your treatment with braces, you will still have to use retainers as they’re crucial in maintaining the hard-earned results of orthodontics. They help prevent orthodontic relapse and keep the same bite and beautiful smile you achieved with the help of braces throughout your treatment.
We will require an impression of your teeth at the end of treatment to model your retainers in a way that helps your teeth stay in position. In most cases, you will have to wear a retainer for several years, or indefinitely. You can choose the type of retainer used, as there are several.
Regardless of your choice, you will have to continue your good oral hygiene habits, brushing your teeth, cleaning the retainers with liquid soap, and avoiding hot water or dishwashers that can deform your retainers.
If you use removable retainers, keep them in a case whenever you have to take them off. Please avoid wrapping them in a napkin! (This is the most common reason patients accidentally lose theirs.) If you lose or break a retainer, please contact the office as soon as possible.