Life with Braces
Now 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.
Eating 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.
Foods to avoid with braces:
• Chewy foods - bagels, licorice
• Crunchy foods - popcorn, chips, ice
• Sticky foods - caramel candies, chewing gum
• Hard foods - nuts, hard candies
• Foods that require biting into - corn on the cob, apples, carrots
Foods you CAN eat with braces:
• Dairy - soft cheese, pudding, milk-based drinks
• Breads - soft tortillas, pancakes, muffins w/o nuts
• Grains - pasta, soft cooked rice
• Meats/poultry - soft cooked chicken, meatballs, lunch meats
• Seafood - tuna, salmon, crab cakes
• Vegetables - mashed potatoes, steamed spinach, beans
• Fruits - applesauce, bananas, fruit juice
• Treats - ice cream w/o nuts, milkshakes, Jell-O, soft cake
If your teeth begin feeling a little loose, don't worry; this is normal! Your braces must first loosen your teeth in order 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 us 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.
If the loose wire is causing irritation to your lips or cheeks, put orthodontic 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 your doctor.
Playing Sports with Braces
Game, Set, Match - we have great news for athletes! You can still play sports even while undergoing orthodontic treatment! If you do play sports, it’s recommended that you wear a mouthguard in order to protect your teeth and your appliance. Let your doctor 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 your appliance for any damage that may have occurred. If you notice any loose teeth, or if your appliance has been damaged, please contact our office right away. You can temporarily relieve the discomfort with wax or by rinsing your mouth with warm saltwater.
Types of Appliances
Elastics (Rubber Bands)
Wearing elastics (or rubber bands) improves the fit of your upper and lower teeth. Wear rubber bands as instructed and remember that the rubber bands work far more efficiently if they're worn as prescribed.
The Herbst® appliance reduces overbite by encouraging the lower jaw forward and the upper molars backward. This fixed appliance is used mostly for younger, growing children and is worn for about 12-15 months
The palatal expander "expands" (or widens) your upper jaw by putting gentle pressure on your upper molars each time an adjustment is made. Your orthodontist will instruct you about when and how to adjust your expander. When you achieve the desired expansion, you will wear the appliance for several months to solidify the expansion and to prevent regression.
Retainers may be removable or fixed. They hold your teeth in their new, correct positions after your teeth have been straightened. Your orthodontist will instruct you on how to care for your retainer and about the duration of the wear. Wearing your retainer as directed is crucial to prevent regression of your treatment.
Separators or Spacers
Separators are little rubber doughnuts that may be placed between your teeth to push them apart so that orthodontic bands may be placed during your next appointment. The separators will be removed before we place the bands. Separators do not mix well with sticky foods, toothpicks, or floss.
• Wear your retainers full time, until the doctor instructs otherwise.
• Take your retainers out when eating, and always put retainers in their case! (Most appliances are lost in school lunchrooms or restaurants.)
• Clean retainers thoroughly once a day with a toothbrush and toothpaste. Use warm but not hot water. Brushing retainers removes the plaque, and eliminates odors. Efferdent® or other orthodontic appliance cleaners can be used, but do not take the place of brushing.
• When retainers are not in your mouth they should ALWAYS be in a retainer case. Pets love to chew on them!
• Initially, you may find it difficult to speak. Practice speaking, reading, or singing out loud to get used to them faster.
• Retainers are breakable, so treat them with care. If retainers are lost or broken call us immediately.
• If you have any questions or concerns about your retainers, or your retainers need adjusting, call us. Do not try to adjust them yourself.
• Always bring your retainers to your appointments.
• Retainer replacement is expensive; with proper care they will last for years!
• Remove retainers when swimming.
• Keep retainers away from hot water, hot car dashboards, pockets, the washing machine, and napkins.