Living with Braces
Life With Braces: What to Expect
When you're undergoing orthodontic treatment, your mouth goes through a lot of changes, and you'll probably experience some changes in your daily routines as well.
From oral hygiene habits and eating, to social considerations and even athletics, your braces will likely impact almost every facet of your life. Knowing what to expect when you begin your orthodontic treatment can really help to make the process go more smoothly for you.
The information laid out below should help you start wrapping your head around what to expect on a daily basis during your braces treatment. For more details or personalized advice, be sure to talk to your orthodontist!
After your braces are adjusted, you can expect to feel some tightness, typically progressing to soreness that lasts for approximately four to six hours after your appointment.
This soreness is a direct result of the replacement wires tightening the teeth into position. OTC pain relievers are suggested to help relieve this pain, which you will find is very similar to what you experienced when your dental braces were initially placed.
Wearing braces doesn't mean you have to stop eating your favourite foods. With just a little extra care, and keeping a few limitations in mind, you'll be able to safely eat most of the foods you normally do.
For the first day or so after getting your braces, your mouth will likely be feeling a little tender, so stick to soft foods until the discomfort subsides. Avoid tough meats, hard bread, and raw vegetables.
You'll need to protect your orthodontic appliances when you eat for the full duration of your orthodontic treatment. This means there will be a few dietary limitations and adjustments you'll have to keep in mind.
Foods to Avoid
In general, try to avoid, or be extremely careful with, the following types of food:
- Chewy foods: bagels, licorice
- Hard foods: candy, nuts
- Sticky foods: caramels, gum
- Crunchy foods: popcorn, ice, chips
- Foods you have to bite into: corn on the cob, carrots, apples
Your oral hygiene routine is important when you're wearing braces, because your braces create many more small spaces and crevices where plaque can build up on your teeth.
We recommend brushing with fluoride toothpaste after every meal or snack. A Waterpik or air flosser can also be helpful in flushing out stuck-on food particles.
Using a regular, soft toothbrush, brush down from the top and then up from the bottom on each tooth with braces.
You may also want to use a proxabrush, which is a toothbrush specially designed for cleaning out the spaces between braces. Insert the brush downwards from the top and then upwards from the bottom between two braces. Make several strokes in each direction before moving to the next space.
To floss teeth while wearing braces, feed the floss through the space between the archwire down from the top. Gently move the floss up and down each side of the two teeth the floss is between. Take care to avoid pulling with too much force around the archwire.
Orthodontic elastics wear out over time. When they lose their elasticity, they can't provide effective pressure to your teeth and jaws. For this reason, it's important to change your elastics after every meal, even when they are not broken. Always carry some elastics with you, so if one breaks, you can replace it straight away.
If you forget to wear your rubber bands one day, don’t double up the next day to catch up – just continue to follow your regular instructions.
If your rubber bands break frequently, or if the hook for your rubber bands breaks off, call our office as soon as possible.
Your retainer is a very important element of orthodontic treatment. Follow these instructions carefully in order to help your appliance be as effective as possible!
- Always wear your retainer as instructed by your orthodontist.
- When you take your retainer out to eat, always put it right back in its case so that it does not get lost or damaged. If your retainer is lost or broken, call us immediately. Retainer replacement is expensive... but with proper care, they will last for years!
- Clean your retainer thoroughly once a day with a toothbrush and toothpaste. Use warm but not hot water. Brushing retainers removes the plaque and eliminates odors. Efferdent or other orthodontic appliance cleaners can be used, but do not take the place of brushing.
- You may find it difficult to speak with your retainer at first. Practice speaking, reading, or singing out loud to get used to it faster.
- Always bring your retainer to your appointments.
- Keep your retainer away from hot water, hot car dashboards, pockets, the washing machine, and napkins.
Having braces doesn't have to stop you from playing the sports you love. You just have to take extra care to protect your orthodontic appliances, and to protect the inside of your mouth from them, too. The presence of braces in your mouth can cause a lot of damage if you sustain a blow to the face, and they can be expensive to fix, too.
We recommend a protective mouthguard for playing sports, to protect from potential injury. With the use of an orthodontic mouthguard, most contact sports can be played with braces.