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Life With Braces

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Congratulations! You’re on your way to a healthier, happier smile. It’s important to know how to best protect and clean your braces, as taking care of them ensures the most effective and efficient orthodontic treatment possible.

Eating Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, and Snacks with Braces

Certain foods can damage your braces and other oral appliances, which can lengthen your treatment. Do your best to avoid the following foods. (We promise you’ll be eating them again soon!)

  • Corn on the cob
  • Hard candy
  • Popcorn
  • Chewing gum
  • Bagels
  • Taffy
  • Nuts
  • Carrots
  • Apples
  • Caramel
  • Candy
  • Licorice
  • Chips
  • Ice (this should be avoided even without braces, as it can damage your teeth)

In general, use your best judgment when eating, and avoid foods that are chewy, sticky, tough, or crunchy, as these could damage or get stuck in your braces. (Be sure to check out our brace-friendly recipes for delicious meal time inspiration!)

Feeling Sore (Or Like Your Teeth Are a Bit Loose)

It’s completely normal to feel slight discomfort when you have your braces put on or adjusted. Don’t worry — this soreness will fade. In the meantime, you can alleviate discomfort by mixing a teaspoon of salt with a glass of warm water and using it like a mouthwash: swish for a minute or two and then spit it out. If the saltwater solution doesn’t provide relief, it’s ok to take painkillers. 

And if you feel tenderness in your mouth — on your tongue or the inside of your lips and cheeks as you adjust to braces — we’re glad to provide orthodontic wax to cover any irritated spots. (Just give us a call!)  

Another thing you might experience is a slight loosening of your teeth. This is expected — it means your braces are doing their job! Your braces need to first loosen your teeth slightly so they can move to the desired position. Don’t worry — your teeth are strong, and will strengthen quickly once they’re moved to the correct place!

Dealing with Loose Wires, Broken Brackets, or Loose Bands

You may feel a wire or band come unfastened on your braces; this happens from time to time. Please call us immediately so we can examine and restore your braces, and be sure to bring any detached pieces to your appointment.

As you wait for your appointment, you can temporarily put the loose wire back in place. Slowly and carefully guide the wire back into its position with a pencil eraser or the back of a spoon. Place dental wax or a damp cotton ball over the area if it’s causing pain or discomfort.

Wearing Your Orthodontic Appliances

We understand — wearing your orthodontic appliances (including rubber bands, retainers, and headgear) might not be your favorite thing to do . . . but it will keep your treatment on track. If you take care of your appliances and wear them as often as you’re supposed to, your teeth and jaw will progress as predicted during treatment.

Playing Sports with Braces

Orthodontic treatment won’t keep you from the field, court, or swimming pool! But to keep your smile intact, wear a custom mouthguard. (Check with your dentist for options.)

If you do sustain an injury during a game or practice, inspect your mouth and braces for harm. Call us immediately if you find any loose teeth or impaired appliances in your mouth. To alleviate pain in the interim, swish with saltwater or use dental wax.