LIFE WITH BRACES
With today's technological advances, braces are more comfortable than ever before. Your braces will be attached quickly and easily to your teeth, but a full day is necessary for the bands to completely affix. It is a good idea to wait several hours after getting braces before eating solid food. You may find it easier to eat soft foods for the first few days while you are becoming accustomed to eating with your new braces. Please visit and subscribe to Dr. Leo’s Free Braces Friendly Food blog for great ideas on what to eat.
The braces may feel a little awkward at first and the teeth may be tender or sensitive to pressure. This is completely normal and will go away soon. It may feel as though the braces are "sticking out," but this sensation will also soon pass. Small pieces of orthodontic wax may be used if the brackets or wires irritate cheek tissues. The orthodontic office always has extra wax in case you run out so call them if you need more.
Many patients will experience some discomfort at first, but the soreness will go away within the first few days. It is impossible to predict exactly when the tenderness will end. Some patients choose to take over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers for the next couple days of treatment to lessen the discomfort. To ensure the best result take the medications 1 day before your appointment and for the next few days. Ibuprofen/Motrin/Alleve/NSAIDs/Aspirin etc. are OK for a few days but no more than 3-4 days, they slow teeth movement if taken for a long time, Tylenol/Acetaminophen or other non-NSAIDs may be better if you can take them.
Braces are attached to your teeth with a strong adhesive, but may become loose as a result of eating certain foods. It is also possible that wires could become bent or broken without proper care. Since it is best to achieve orthodontic treatment goals with as few disruptions as possible, a well balanced diet is important to ensure a healthy environment for your teeth. Patients should avoid foods that are sticky, chewy, and hard. They should also avoid any food and drinks that are known to cause cavities. Cut up foods into small pieces. Patients should brush, floss and rinse their mouth regularly after meals.
The foods below are known to cause problems/breakage and are examples of what NOT to eat:
- Ice chewing
- Hard or sticky candy
- Beef jerky
- Corn chips
- Crispy taco shells
- Whole apple (or other hard fruits)
- Soft drinks (soda pop)
- Candy bars
Eating restricted foods may cause problems which will result in extra visits for repairs and will ultimately extend the length of treatment. You’ll have plenty of time to enjoy these restricted foods after completing your treatment.
Bite Ramps or Bite Props
Bite ramps or bite props may be placed on your front or back teeth to separate upper & lower teeth if you have a deep bite to prevent accidentally biting and breaking your brackets. It may take a week or two to get used to them eating and talking. Eat EXTRA SOFT FOODS (such as those you can easily mash with your tongue against the roof of mouth, see my blog for yummy examples) until you get used to them. These Bite ramps will be removed once your deep bite is fixed.
ELASTICS (a.k.a. Rubber Bands)
At some point during your braces treatment, you may be instructed to wear rubber bands. They’re usually to be worn Full Time (i.e. 24 hours a day including sleeping & eating). Take them out only during brushing/flossing. Replace your rubber bands 3-4 times a day or when they break. Thus, it is important that you have 2-3 pairs of them wherever you go. It is important to wear your rubber bands Full Time or your overbite and overjet will not be corrected. Even Part Time wear will yield nothing, like as if you’re not wearing them. Remember that your final orthodontic result depends on your cooperation. Thank you!
Proper tooth brushing is an important factor. Keeping your teeth and gums healthy will make orthodontic treatment go faster, easier and most of all more comfortable!
Brush Gums and Teeth in the direction the teeth grow (downward strokes for upper and upward strokes for lower)
- Brush behind the orthodontic wires.
- Brush the Inner surface of teeth next to your tongue
- Brush the chewing surface using the cross motion (side to side)
- Brush your tongue at all times to avoid bad breath
- Check in the mirror for any missed spots and brush again if necessary
Brush for at least 3 minutes, 3 times daily! After every meal, Breakfast, lunch, and dinner. After every snack if you can’t brush, at least rinse your mouth with water. And don’t forget your travel toothbrush when you’re not at home.
IF we have placed separating elastics between your teeth:
- They make small spaces between your teeth, making it easier to place bands (braces) on your back teeth.
- At first, the separators will make your teeth feel as if there is something caught between them, such as meat or popcorn. It may feel spongy when you bite your teeth together.
- The separators may make the teeth a little sore for a few days. If this does happen take aspirin or Tylenol, or ibuprofen, if necessary, and eat softer foods.
- Avoid sticky/chewy foods, such as gum or caramel, because this could pull out the separators.
- Brush your teeth normally. Do not use dental floss where the separators have been put. The floss will pull out the separators!
- If you lose one or two of the separators it means enough space has been created. You do not need to call the office if they fall out within a day or two of your next appointment.
- If it is more than three or four days before your next appointment please call our office right away to schedule a very quick appointment to have them replaced.