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Life with Traditional Braces

So you just got or about to get your braces to start the journey to the perfect smile. The first thing to expect in the beginning is some discomfort and soreness, this will go away in a few days, but sticking to soft foods like pasta, mashed potatoes, rice and smoothies will help you keep the hunger at bay.

After the first week, you will start to adjust but your normal routine will change. You will form some new habits – like substituting some of your favorite foods to spending extra time cleaning your teeth. We’re here to help you get some helpful tips and learn what to do when something goes wrong.

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 without 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 without nuts, milkshakes, Jell-O, soft cake

When you first get your braces, you may notice that your teeth and mouth feel a little tender or sore. This is perfectly normal and we promise your mouth will not be sore forever! To relieve the pain, we recommend dissolving one teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of lukewarm water. Swish and gargle this solution in your mouth for just a couple of minutes (do not swallow the saltwater).

If the pain is more severe and does not go away after rinsing, you can also try taking a pain reliever, like Tylenol or ibuprofen. It is also not uncommon for your lips, cheeks, and tongue to 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 additional wax, it is sold at most drug stores.

Loose Teeth
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 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.

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. If you do not get the wire back in place, please call us right away so we can get that put back in place.

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 orthodontist.

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 mouth guard to protect your teeth and your appliance. Let your orthodontist know if you need help finding the right mouth guard 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 your orthodontist’s office immediately.

While the journey in the beginning can seem daunting and restrictive, rest assured it gets easier as you adjust to life with braces and the smile you get at the end of treatment makes it all worthwhile.

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