Eating with braces

Types of bracesFor the first few days after getting braces, stick to softer foods like pastas, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on fresh bread, mashed potatoes, applesauce, and milkshakes. Stay away from tough meats, hard breads, raw veggies, and other hard foods. Before long, you’ll be eating normally again. However, during your time in braces you will need to think about the food and things you are putting in your mouth. The following guidelines will help you protect your braces and keep your teeth healthy.

Foods to avoid

  • Hard foods: nuts, hard candy, frozen foods that are hard like ice, etc.
  • Crunchy foods: popcorn, chips, pretzels, etc.
  • Sticky foods: caramel, taffy, gummy bears, etc.
  • Chewy foods: bagels, pizza crusts, licorice, etc.
  • Foods you have to bite into: corn on the cob, apples, carrots, etc. (cut these foods into bite-sized pieces and cut the corn off the cob)
  • Cut meat off the bone on foods such as chicken, ribs, and pork chops.
  • These foods can damage or break your braces and this will lengthen your time in braces.

Beverages to avoid

Sugary and/or acidic beverages such as soda (both diet and regular sodas), sports drinks, energy drinks, sugary coffees, and juices can damage teeth if consumed frequently during orthodontic treatment. They can lead to cavities or permanent scars called decalcification marks on your teeth. The best drink to have during orthodontic treatment is water or milk.

Avoid chewing on hard things

Chewing on pens, pencils, fingernails, etc. can damage or break your braces. Damaged or broken braces with lengthen your time in braces.

General soreness

When you first get your braces, you may feel general soreness in your mouth and your teeth may be sore and tender with biting pressure for 3-5 days. This is normal. You may also experience some soreness after adjustment appointments. If the discomfort is severe, take whatever you would take for a headache such as Advil or Tylenol. Your lips and cheeks may also be sore after you get braces and this may last for a few weeks. As your lips and cheeks get used to the braces, this soreness will go away. In the meantime, wax can help and we will show you how to place it.

Loosening of teeth

This is normal with orthodontic treatment! This can be expected during your orthodontic treatment since the teeth must first loosen to move.   After your orthodontic treatment is complete, your teeth will tighten up in their new positions.

Loose wire or brace

If this happens, don’t be alarmed. This happens occasionally. If a wire protrudes and is irritating, use a blunt instrument (such as the eraser end of a pencil or the back of a spoon) to carefully push the wire back towards the teeth and under the orthodontic archwire. This just gets it out of the way. If the lips or cheeks continue to be irritated, place wax or wet cotton on the wire/brace to reduce the irritation. Call our office and we will help you remedy the situation over the phone or get you in for an appointment if needed. If anything comes off your braces, save it and bring it to our office when we repair your braces.

Care of your braces and orthodontic appliances

Orthodontic treatment is a team approach.   The patient and Dr. Burckhard must work together to achieve the best result. This requires good patient cooperation with wearing rubber bands and/or other orthodontic appliances as instructed by Dr. Burckhard. Damaged braces, appliances, or poor patient cooperation will lengthen treatment time. Poor patient cooperation could also affect the final treatment result.

Oral hygiene during orthodontic treatment

smiling patientIt is more important than ever to keep your teeth clean during orthodontic treatment. Braces tend to keep more food and plaque on your teeth. Regular brushing and flossing during orthodontic treatment will keep your gums and teeth healthy during and after orthodontic treatment. Dr. Burckhard wants you to brush after meals and before bed (that’s FOUR times a day) and floss nightly during your orthodontic treatment. As previously mentioned, it is very important to avoid sugary and acidic beverages. These beverages are very hard on your teeth, especially when braces are present.

It is important to see your dentist regularly for cleanings during orthodontic treatment. Patients that have a history of periodontal disease (AKA gum disease) may need to see their dentist or a periodontist more frequently during orthodontic treatment to keep their teeth clean. Also, patients that do not keep their teeth clean may also need to see their dentist more frequently during orthodontic treatment.

Dr. Burckhard will not hesitate to temporarily, or permanently, discontinue treatment if teeth are not kept clean.

Orthodontic emergencies

Actual orthodontic emergencies are rare, however, feel free to call our office if you have extreme pain or something that is broken. We may be able to talk you through it over the phone, and if not, we will help schedule an appointment to see you.

Life with braces