Life with Braces
Braces, once thought of as a torture one had to endure, are now thought of a just another stage of life. They do much more than just straighten teeth. Braces have the power to change lives by improving self-esteem, preventing and correcting irreversible damage to jaw structures, correcting speech and eating difficulties, and improving a person’s general health.
Now that you’ve finally made the commitment to improve your smile with orthodontics, you may be wondering how to take care of your teeth and your braces during treatment.
The most important thing to remember is that you won’t have braces forever. During the next year or two, you’ll need to avoid certain foods and spend more time brushing and flossing, but it will be worth it in the end—we promise! At Centennial Hills Orthodontics, our goal is to do everything possible to make your experience something special!
Eating with Braces
There are some foods that must be avoided while you have braces. Eating these foods can damage your brackets and wires, which can make treatment last even longer.
The off-limits list includes foods such as:
- Chewy foods — bagels, licorice
- Crunchy foods — popcorn, chips, ice
- Sticky foods — caramel candies, chewing gum, taffy
- Hard foods — nuts, hard candies, chicken wings
Stick to the can-eat list, including foods such as:
- Dairy — soft cheese, pudding, milk-based drinks
- Breads — soft tortillas, pancakes, muffins without nuts
- Grains — pasta, rice, soft bread
- Meats/poultry — soft cooked chicken, meatballs, lunch meats
- Seafood — tuna, salmon, crab cakes
- Vegetables — mashed potatoes, steamed spinach, beans
- Fruits — applesauce, oranges, bananas, fruit juice
- Treats — ice cream without nuts, milkshakes, Jell-O, cake
Foods that require biting into, like corn on the cob, apples, and carrots, can be eaten as long as you cut them up into small, bite-sized pieces.
Soreness Caused from Braces and Appliances
When you first get your braces at our Las Vegas orthodontic office, you may notice that your teeth and mouth feel a little tender or sore. This is perfectly normal—we promise your mouth will not be sore forever! If the pain is more severe and does not go away after rinsing, you can also try taking an anti-inflammatory (ibuprofen) or a pain reliever (whatever you’d take for a headache).
Your lips, cheeks, and tongue may also 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 that you can put over the braces to lessen the tenderness. If you need some wax, please let us know.
If your teeth begin feeling 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 our Las Vegas orthodontic office as soon as possible so that 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 carefully and gently push the wire 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.
Take Care of Your Appliances
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 consistently wear the rubber bands, headgear, retainer, or other appliances prescribed by Dr. Whetten.
Playing Sports with Braces
It is perfectly safe to play sports 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 Dr. Whetten or a member of the Centennial Hills Orthodontics team know if you need help finding the right mouthguard for the best protection.
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.