Life with Braces
How to Take Care of Your Braces
Congratulations on getting your braces! Getting used to life with braces can be a new experience for most. Learning to take care of your braces is essential in maintaining oral hygiene, relieving discomfort, and preventing your orthodontic appliances from staining. Watch this video to learn all of the steps when taking care of your braces!
Brushing with Braces:
Good oral hygiene is extremely important during orthodontic treatment. If you brush and floss regularly, you will make sure that by the end of the treatment, your teeth and gums will be in the best shape, and your smile will not only look straight and beautiful, but healthy at the same time.
When you brush, it is best to use fluoride toothpaste and a soft, rounded-bristle toothbrush, which is in good condition.
You need to brush around the braces and every surface of your teeth – tops of the brackets, under the brackets, flat against the brackets, all chewing surfaces, backs of the teeth, your gums, and your tongue.
Inspect your teeth to make sure they are spotlessly clean and also check for loose or broken brackets. If there’s a problem, call our orthodontic office for recommendations and schedule an appointment if needed.
Flossing with Braces:
The best time to floss is before going to bed because you won’t feel pressed for time then. When you floss with braces on, you might need a floss threader. It is a reusable tool that helps you to get the floss underneath your archwire without difficulty.
When flossing, make sure you clean thoroughly along and under the gum line. The process might seem laborious, but it is extremely important to keep your teeth and gums in top condition.
Oral Hygiene Tools
We also recommend utilizing some tools that will improve the oral hygiene process:
During orthodontic treatment you will get your braces “tightened” or “adjusted” every 6-8 weeks. After an adjustment appointment, you might experience discomfort for a few days to about a week. Take some pain reliever, ibuprofen or acetaminophen, (i.e., Advil or Tylenol) to help you deal with the discomfort.
You may need to eat only soft or liquid foods for a few days. Protein shakes, such as the Atkins or Slim Fast shakes, make ideal meal replacements if chewing even soft food is uncomfortable. Harder foods should be cut into small pieces and chewed carefully and slowly. To get more protein into your diet, try adding protein powder or tofu to some of your meals or drinks.
Within a week of getting braces adjusted, most people an usually eat normal food again. After a few months with braces, adjustments won’t hurt as much.
Foods to Avoid:
In addition to these tips and tricks, you must be careful to avoid hard, sticky, chewy, and crunchy foods. Also, you also should be wary on chewing on hard objects like pens, pencils, and fingernails.
Chewing ice is off limits. It’s not a good idea to chew ice even without braces!
Don't Forget to Visit Your Dentist Regularly!
Proper brushing and flossing will keep your teeth and gums healthy while keeping your breath smelling fresh. However, it is important to make sure you see your family dentist for a professional cleaning and a check-up every six weeks.
Preventing Your Orthodontic Appliances from Staining
Oftentimes, orthodontic patients get concerned about their ceramic brackets getting stained from foods, particularly curry. The truth is that the brackets are still white, but, in most cases, the elastic ligatures have become stained. The ligatures are those little rubber bands on each bracket that hold the arch wire in place. These ligatures get replaced by the orthodontist every 4-6 weeks. So the next time you have an adjustment, the stained ligatures will be replaced with fresh new ones and your braces will look white and perfect again.
But what if you have to wait weeks until your next braces adjustment? How can you get rid of stains from curry, mustard, coffee, tea, or smoking? Well, here’s the bad news: it’s very difficult. You can try brushing with whitening toothpaste, but that has very limited results. The yellowish tinge will probably still be visible to some degree. If you have an important engagement and need your braces to look white again, you must visit your orthodontist and get your ligatures changed.
Suggestions to help you avoid this problem in the future:
Braces in Social Settings
Lastly, a lot of orthodontic patients are concerned about the potential difficulties attracting and dating other people. In reality, with dating, there’s little to do with what’s in your mouth, and a lot to do with your self-confidence and your willingness to work just a little harder to win over the person you want.
You are spending major bucks to get your teeth straightened. When you are done, your teeth will look great. What about the rest of you? Use this time as an opportunity to improve other things about yourself, especially if you weren’t a dating champion before the braces went on. Think of this as your “transformation time.”
Here’s the main idea: if you look better, you’ll feel better; if you feel better, you’ll be more confident. And if you look good and are confident, you are attractive to other people!