Braces Are a Big Step

You’ve taken a big step by having braces put on. You're now officially on the path towards a healthy, beautiful smile. It’s an exciting time, but it also comes with a bit of a learning curve.

As you get used to your new orthodontic treatment, you may need to make a few adjustments, but it'll become second nature before you know it.

Tips for Living With Braces

As you get used to your new orthodontic treatment, you may need to make a few adjustments, but it'll become second nature before you know it.

 

Soreness

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 won't 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 your pain is severe and doesn't go away after rinsing, you can also try taking a pain reliever. Just be sure to consult with Dr. Travers first. It's normal 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 some wax, please let us know.

Metal Braces

Care & Maintenance

You know how important it is to brush and floss properly when you're wearing braces — but what's the best way to do that?

Let's start with the basic brushing tools: either a soft-bristled brush or a bi-level brush (one that has shorter bristles in the middle and longer bristles at the edges) can be effective.

Used carefully, an electric toothbrush can work just as well. But be sure the electric brush is set to a moderate power level, and don't let its vibrations cause the back of the brush to hit the braces!

You should brush with a fluoride toothpaste at least two times per day (preferably after meals), for at least two minutes each time. Remember to brush all of the tooth surfaces: the front, the back, and the chewing surfaces as well.

Be especially careful to clean the areas between wires and teeth, and between brackets and gums — that's where food particles can easily become trapped.

Follow these tips for the best results:

  • Use a fluoride toothpaste with a soft, rounded-bristle toothbrush.
  • Braces wear toothbrushes out quickly, so be sure to replace yours as soon as it begins to show signs of wear.
  • Brush around every part of your braces, as well as every surface of your teeth.
  • Look for clean and shiny braces, with the edge of the brackets clearly visible. Fuzzy-or dull-looking metal indicates poor brushing.
  • Floss every night before you go to bed. Tools like floss threaders and waterpiks are helpful if you’re having difficulty with getting a good floss underneath the wires.

Eating With Braces

At Travers Orthodontics, we pride ourselves in offering the best orthodontic care and treatments to help you obtain the smile of your dreams.

While braces may be a critical part of fulfilling this vision, they can also make life a little difficult when it comes to eating. Certain foods can damage your braces and disrupt your treatment process, so you need to be more conscious of what you are eating and drinking during treatment at our Irving, TX office.

Foods to Avoid

Hard Food

Avoid things like nuts, raw vegetables (like carrots), hard breads (like pizza crust) and other foods that require you to bite down hard.

These kinds of foods can damage your braces with just one bad bite and will compromise your treatment. Even foods like popcorn kernels or hard lollipops can easily be bitten on accident, so it’s often best to avoid them all together.

 

Sticky Food

Gum, caramel, peanut butter, molasses, maple syrup, and other similarly sticky foods will get stuck in between your brackets and wires. This will make it especially difficult for cleaning by yourself or Dr. Travers.

A critical part of your orthodontic treatment is keeping the areas around braces and between teeth as clean as possible, whether you’ve chosen traditional or clear braces.

 

Ice

Ice is fine to have in your drink or to suck on, but please make sure that you never bite down on ice while wearing braces.

This is the most common reason for damaged braces, from bent wires to stripped brackets, and can cause unfortunate setbacks in your treatment process with your orthodontist.

 

Tough Meat

Well done steaks, beef, or pork that are tough to chew will loosen the wires and brackets of braces when you try to take a bite, no matter how small. Tough meats like jerky can be particularly detrimental.

As your orthodontist can tell you in person, the toughness and force used to rip the mean are not good for your teeth, and especially dangerous for your braces.

In General, Use Common Sense

As with any dental treatment, common sense is your best bet when it comes to caring for your braces. If a food is questionable to you, it’s best to stay away.

Since you already know the main textures to avoid - hard, sticky, and chewy - exercise your best judgement when determining what not to eat, and stick with softer textures.

Consider avoiding any particularly sugary food, especially drinks like soda, because your teeth are particularly susceptible to cavities during orthodontic treatment.

Remember that Travers Orthodontics is here for you to answer any questions you may have about your treatment as we make progress with your regular braces or clear braces.

There are also a few oral habits you’ll want to steer clear of to keep your braces functioning perfectly.

Chewing on objects like pens and ice cubes, biting your nails, and smoking can all cause unwanted pressure on your braces. Do your best to find another way to keep yourself busy while undergoing orthodontic treatment.

Loose Teeth

If your teeth begin feeling a little loose, don't worry – it’s normal! Your braces must loosen your teeth first to move them into the right position. Once your teeth have been repositioned, they won’t be loose anymore.

 

Loose Wires, Bands, & Brackets

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.

 

Misplaced Archwire, Bracket, or Tie

Once your teeth adjust to treatment, they begin to move. When this happens, the archwire that connects them may also move, poking out a bit near the back of the mouth and irritating your cheeks.

You can often move this wire into a better position by using the eraser end of the pencil or a cotton swab. You can manipulate any misplaces wires or ties back into place by gently using a pair of clean tweezers.

If some of the wires or brackets have shifted, and begun causing irritation to your mouth, you can use orthodontic wax to cover the parts that are poking out.

This will help ease the discomfort, but make sure you get in touch with our office as soon as you can, so we can fix the actual problem instead of you only masking the symptoms at home.

 

Caring for Your Orthodontic Appliance

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.

For example, Invisalign’s clear aligner system will only work if the aligners are worn the 20-22 hours per day as recommended by Dr. Travers. Being compliant is the only way to ensure your treatment is effective, and to help you achieve the smile you’ve always wanted to.

 

Tips for Athletes & Musicians

You can still play sports like normal during your treatment, but remember to protect your teeth with an orthodontic friendly mouth guard, or to remove your Invisalign aligner during practice or the game.

If you have an accident during your athletic activity, check your appliances and your mouth immediately. If the appliances appear damaged or the teeth loosened, schedule an appointment with Dr. Travers.

If you play an instrument, you may find it a little challenging to become adjusted to playing with your braces. It’s normal to have some difficulty with proper lip position.

Sores can also develop, but liberal use of wax and warm salt-water rinses will help your lips and cheeks toughen up more quickly than you’d think.