Now that you have your braces, how do you take care of them? It's important for you to know how to properly take care of your braces throughout your entire orthodontic treatment.
Preventing damage to braces
Braces can be damaged by eating hard foods, rough handling by a toothbrush, trauma to the mouth, and severe tooth grinding on the braces. Broken appliances mean extra and longer appointments during school hours, longer time in braces, and possibly extra cost.
Eating hard foods
Totally avoid very hard things like Minties, toffees, hard muesli bars, etc. Even if you think you can eat these things without breaking off a bracket, they are most likely damaging the wire which then cannot move the teeth quickly. Chewing gum is also bad because it constantly flexes the wire and may cause it to break.
Be very careful with foods like apples, whole carrots, etc. These must be cut up finely and not bitten into whole. The same applies to meat, cooked vegetables, etc. Cut it up a bit smaller than normal and be careful. Foods with stones, bones, or hard cores like peaches, chicken legs, and corn need to have the stone or bone or core removed so that you do not accidentally bite into the hard part. Also be careful with the crusts of toast or pizza - if they are hard, avoid them.
What will I feel with new braces?
When you first get braces, you may notice that your teeth and mouth feel a little tender. This is perfectly normal for patients who have just had braces placed, and this feeling does not usually last longer than a few days. To relieve the discomfort you may wish to take appropriate pain relief medication but most patients do not need it.
It is also not uncommon for your lips, cheeks, and tongue to become irritated for one to two weeks as they become used to the braces. We provide wax that can be placed over the braces to lessen the tenderness.
Preventing tooth decay
Tooth decay can leave ugly scars on the teeth which are quite visible when the braces come off, but it only happens when plaque is being left on the teeth. You now have lots of places around your braces where plaque and bits of food can hide, so it's really important to remember that tooth decay is totally preventable by:
- Tooth cleaning as we've shown you.
- Using the fluoride mouth rinse each night, and
- Avoiding all sweet food and drink between meals.
Sweet drinks include all soft drinks, sports drinks (like 'Gatorade'), fruit juices, even if they advertise "no added sugar", and cordials. The diet versions of soft drinks are less likely to cause problems, but they are still very acidic, and should be kept to special occasions. That also goes for any sweet foods like chocolate and other non-sticky sweets. They are least likely to cause problems if they are eaten with a meal and then the teeth should be brushed afterwards. So, between meals, stick to milk or water.
Further information regarding healthy snacks - Coming soon!
Care of Your Appliances
Damaged appliances can increase the length of your treatment process, so be sure to take care of all your appliances. Your teeth and jaw can only move into their correct positions if you consistently wear the rubber bands, headgear, retainer, or other appliances prescribed by your doctor.
Loose Wires and Bands
Click here for more information.
Keeping your teeth clean with Braces
When you have braces it is very important to brush after every meal in order to keep your teeth and gums healthy throughout your treatment. Flossing and spiral brushing should occur once a day. If you need help choosing the right toothbrush, toothpaste, and dental floss, please ask us and we can help you choose the right products for your teeth and your appliance. Click here for brushing and flossing instructions.
Playing Sports with Braces
Sports related injuries to the mouth and jaw are some of the most common injuries received by athletes. Protecting your teeth while playing sports is essential when you have braces. Mouthguards help protect your teeth and gums from injury.
If you do play sports, it's recommended that you wear a mouthguard in order to protect your teeth and your appliance. A complimentary non-fitted mouthguard is provided to cover upper and lower teeth when your braces are first placed. A customised fitted mouthguard can also be arranged if necessary.
In case of a sports emergency, be sure to immediately check your mouth and your appliance for any damage that may have occurred. If you notice any loose teeth, or if your appliance has been damaged, please contact us as soon as possible.