Living with Braces 101
Brace yourself! There are a few challenges up ahead. Yes, life with braces is strange, challenging, and different, but that doesn’t mean you can’t embrace the experience and make it enjoyable! To help you get the most out of your new braces, Straighten Up Orthodontics has put together a primer to help you live with (and maybe even love) your new ceramic or metal braces.
Day 1 with Braces
Congratulations! You’ve made an important first step in achieving a beautiful, healthy smile. During your first day (and the weeks ahead), you will notice a slight pressure on your teeth, gums, and maybe even your jaw. This is simply your braces at work, applying pressure to straighten your teeth.
While some discomfort can be expected, you can also try using an over-the-counter pain reliever to lessen the inflammation.
You may also notice that the brackets of your braces can irritate the soft lining of your inner cheeks. This is normal. But, if you are looking for some relief, there is a dental wax that can be placed on top of the brackets to lessen the friction and irritation.
Eating with Braces
One issue you will begin to notice right away is that eating tough, chewy foods can be uncomfortable or even painful. To lessen the discomfort, try sticking to softer foods that are easy to chew during your first few weeks of wearing braces. There are also some foods that can heighten the sensitivity to your teeth (we’ve included a list of them below).
Foods to Avoid
There are a few categories of foods that you should avoid while wearing braces. These generally fall into the categories of sugary, hard, sticky, crunchy, chewy, and also foods that you have to sink your teeth into in order to take a bite. The “no-no” foods on this list include:
- Hard pretzels
- Hard rolls
- Corn on the cob
Notice we didn’t mention chocolate? Chocolate dissolves fast and is perfectly fine for those moments when you absolutely need something sugary.
Brush. Rinse. Repeat.
Keeping teeth clean while wearing braces is essential to your oral health. With the brackets, wires, and elastics, there are more spaces for bacteria and biofilms to thrive. Following a diligent tooth brushing regimen is the first step in preventing tartar and plaque buildup, which can lead to tooth decay.
During your first few weeks of wearing braces, you will notice that your teeth and gums are overly sensitive. But, you should still keep to brushing at least twice per day. We recommend a soft-bristled toothbrush and a gentle toothpaste formulated for sensitive teeth.
Once your tooth sensitivity subsides, you may begin using your braces pic to get at those hard-to-reach areas under the archwires, around the brackets, and between the teeth. You can also resume flossing. Go with a floss product designed specifically for braces.
Dealing with Soreness
It’s quite common to experience some degree of soreness and irritation during that first few weeks of wearing braces. To help alleviate these unpleasant side effects, here are a few things you can try:
You can apply braces wax on wires, brackets, and any portion of the braces that irritate the inside of the mouth. Be sure to brush your teeth and clean the area where the wax is being applied. Also, change the wax regularly to keep it fresh and free of bacteria.
Changing your sleep position:
Changing your sleep position can be a challenge, but it might be helpful in alleviating soreness on the inside of the cheek. Some have found success by rotating the side on which they sleep, or by sleeping on their backs. A weighted blanked may also help keep from rolling over to your normal position.
A warm salt rinse not only helps to clean and sterilize the mouth, but also reduces inflammation. Give it a shot!
Activities to Avoid
Unless you have a specially fitted mouthguard, you should avoid activities where you may be hit in the face, such as:
- Football, basketball, soccer, and hockey
- Boxing, karate, play fighting
- Bike riding, skateboarding
Have a Question About Your Braces?
Have a question about your braces? The staff at Straighten Up Orthodontics is always here to help. Call our office at 301-879-1607, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. And, if you have any home remedies you’d like to share, we’d love to hear those too!