You finally got your braces or you are trying to decide if braces are right for you! How do you eat? What can you eat? When are the best times to brush? Dr. Timothy E. Mickiewicz encourages personal research and gaining all the knowledge available to make your life with braces as normal as possible. The more you know, the better care you can take of your investment, and shorter time you will wear your braces. To fully understand what you can expect while living with braces, contact our Sacramento, CA, office to speak with a member of our team.
Does it hurt?
The braces placement process is painless, but afterward, you may experience some soreness. Over-the-counter, anti-inflammatories (such as ibuprofen) are fast acting and convenient for any discomfort. Dr. Mickiewicz can provide wax to place over brackets and wires that rub on inner lips or gums. Your mouth will adapt after about two days and will return to normal. Most patients report the pain is more annoying than hard to deal with. You may experience discomfort after each orthodontic adjustment.
How often should I brush?
You should brush your teeth more often with braces. Continue brushing in the morning and before bed at night, but also brush after every meal to keep all food particles out of your braces. Food embedded in your braces can speed up the development of decay and gum disease. Dr. Mickiewicz suggests keeping a toothbrush and toothpaste in your purse or car for times when you eat out, to maintain clean teeth. Do not use whitening toothpaste, as the whitening agent will lead to uneven coloring once brackets are removed.
I brushed. Is there anything else I should do?
Flossing is even more important when living with braces. Food tends to get stuck more easily, so daily flossing will dislodge particles that brushing missed. An interdental toothbrush is a great tool to remove food particles from under and around brackets and wires. This brush resembles a pipe cleaner. Rinse with water and mouthwash regularly to help your mouth stay clean and fresh.
What foods can I eat or should I avoid?
You should avoid any foods that will stick to your braces or get caught under the wires. Start keeping a mental list of what foods work well for you and what foods do not. Braces are not forever, so you can reintroduce these foods to your diet once your braces come off.
Foods that are easy to eat:
- Soft Fruits are preferable; avoid apples and hard-to-bite fruits
- Vegetables that are steamed, boiled, or mashed to a soft consistency
- Dairy Products like cheese and yogurt are good alternatives to hard meats
- Soft Meats that are easy to chew, such as tender chicken, turkey, meatloaf, lunch meat, or seafood
- Deserts that are not crunchy or hard, such as pudding, applesauce, smoothies, and ice cream
- Soft Grains like cooked pasta or steamed rice, are great side dishes
- Soft Breads are all permissible – tortillas, muffins, bread – although some patients report white bread becomes gummy and sticks under wires
- Eggs are a healthy alternative to tough meats like bacon
It only takes one bad bite to break a wire or bracket and stall your orthodontic treatment. As often as possible, avoid the foods below.
- Hard Foods, including hard bread, pizza crust, nuts, and raw vegetables; these require considerable force to bite through and can damage your wires and brackets
- Ice is the most common offender when it comes to damaged braces
- Tough Meats like beef jerky or steak can loosen wires and brackets on the first bite
- Sticky Foods should be completely avoided, especially candy that is chewy, crunchy, or sugary, including gum
Will braces affect activities like sports, band, or choir?
Most extracurricular activities are unaffected. Some require a small window of adjustment.
- Physical activity and organized sports are unaffected, provided you wear a mouth guard. Wearing a mouth guard is always good practice, even without braces. Mouth guards stabilize the jaw, protect the teeth, and give added protection against concussions.
- Instrumental musicians may see a short-term adjustment period, depending on the type of instruments played. Woodwind players will not have any challenges, while a trumpeter may have an adjustment period of two to three days to return to comfortable mouth placement.
- Braces do not affect speech or singing patterns. Appliances with expanders may cause a lisp, which usually resolves within a few days.
Patients who choose Invisalign® braces over traditional metal braces have few to no adjustment issues.
My wire broke! Now what?
Wires and bands on your braces may occasionally break or loosen. When this happens, please contact our office as soon as possible. We will schedule an appointment for repair. If any pieces of your appliance completely falls off, place pieces in a safe container, and bring them to the office with you.
You can temporarily fix a loose wire by using pencil eraser to carefully and gently push the wire back into place. If a loose wire causes irritation to your lips or cheeks, use dental wax to cover the wire until you can come into our offices for a repair.
Do I still need regular dental cleanings and checkups?
Yes! Bi-annual cleanings and checkups are part of good oral care and need to continue when you have braces.
How long will I have to wear braces?
The length of time each patient wears braces varies. Treatment periods are normally 9 to 24 months. Treatment length depends on the patient wearing appliances as prescribed, maintaining good oral hygiene habits, and reporting/resolving any issues as soon as possible.
Straight Teeth are Healthy Teeth
Not receiving orthodontic treatment when you need it could create long-term health issues, which will cost you more time and money in the future. Call Dr. Mickiewicz at (916) 457-7710 to schedule your orthodontic consultation today.