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 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
Soreness Caused from Braces and Appliances
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. 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 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 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.
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 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 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.
Benefits of Braces
Beyond Aesthetics, Orthodontics Improves Oral Health
While the most noticeable result of orthodontics is the change in one’s appearance, and the growth in self-esteem, there are other benefits to treatment.
Straight, properly aligned teeth are easier to brush and floss, which decreases the likelihood of dental and gum diseases. Likewise, teeth which are correctly positioned improve the bite, decreasing stress on the jaw joints.
When designing your treatment plan, Dr. Byczek and Dr. Griffith pay close attention to your oral health concerns. You will finish with improvements in your bite, dental health, and your smile!
What’s Healthy About Having Braces or Invisalign?
Many patients choose to receive orthodontic treatment only for the aesthetic purpose of straightening their teeth and improving their smile. Another bonus to having straight teeth is the health benefits that that they provide. However, many do not know what exactly these health benefits are. Some of the proven benefits of orthodontic treatment are explained below:
A Healthy Smile Leads to More Self-Esteem.
Getting braces or Invisalign from Dublin Orthodontics and achieving straight teeth automatically helps improve self-esteem in our patients. Patients are happier, considered more successful, and healthier with straight teeth. Crooked teeth can have a negative effect on career success and even romance. Plus, those with straight teeth tend to smile more, and we all know that smiling is contagious.
Less Plaque Build-up Because Straight Teeth are Easier to Keep Clean.
Straight teeth, aside from looking better, are easier to keep clean. Whether the teeth are overlapped, overcrowded, or hard to reach, food (and thus plaque) may build up because it cannot be reached by a toothbrush or floss. This buildup of plaque can lead to cavities, discolored teeth, and bad breath. More serious problems including tooth decay and gum disease can be caused by a buildup of plaque. By simply aligning your teeth with braces or Invisalign, all surface areas of the teeth will then be easily accessible and can be brushed and flossed effectively.
Oral Hygiene Promotes a Healthy Body.
There is medical evidence that supports the fact that poor oral health may contribute to a variety of physical maladies beyond the mouth. These maladies include diabetes, stroke, heart disease and complications for pregnant women. Bacteria and plaque from the mouth can enter the bloodstream, the lungs, and the digestive system, thus affecting the entire immune system. Crooked teeth can also cause patients to have problems eating. When teeth are not aligned properly, it can be difficult to bite into hard, chewy, and crunchy foods. This problem can cause patients to stop eating certain types of foods, even if they are healthy and provide daily needed nutrition. Dublin Orthodontics stresses the importance of good oral hygiene with their patients, and works in cooperation with your general dentist to help maintain great oral hygiene
Less Injuries to Straight Teeth.
Crooked teeth tend to chip or break more easily than teeth that are in alignment. This is because the upper and lower rows of teeth receive more stress over time from grinding against each other when they are crooked. Protruding teeth also tend to receive more force while biting down, rather than the pressure being more evenly applied across the even rows of teeth. Braces and Invisalign correct these misalignment problems and ensure a healthy, straight, functional set of teeth for a lifetime.
Less Stress to the Jaw Bones With Straight Teeth.
When teeth are crooked or crowded, the functionality of the jaw is also compromised. This can not only lead to abnormal wear and tear on the teeth, but also cause discomfort or pain to the jaw. This pain might occur due to an imbalance between the jaw bones and their muscles and connective tissue. Chewing, biting and speaking abilities are optimized when you have straight teeth. By straightening your teeth, the pain will subside because your teeth and jaw bones will be aligned to work at their optimal effectiveness.
Potential Improvement in Gum Recession With Straight Teeth.
In some cases, especially when an orthodontist recommends extractions and closes the smile, gum recession can be improved / minimized. However, be careful of some dentists claims that braces or Invisalign can fix or improve gum recession. In many cases, especially when expanding the arch (with non-extraction) having Invisalign or braces can actually cause or increase gum recession. Once gum recession occurs, it cannot be reversed – so be careful by not brushing so aggressively.