Living with Braces
Are you wondering what living with braces will involve? Throughout your orthodontic treatment, our Thornhill orthodontist will support and guide you through your treatment and how it may fit into your life. Here are some tips to get you started!
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 to eating meals, social situations and athletics, your braces may impact many facets of your life. Knowing what to expect from this process before you begin your orthodontic treatment can help to make the process go smoother 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!
When you first get braces, you may feel general soreness in your mouth, and your teeth and gums may be tender for several days. You may also experience this type of discomfort after your adjustment appointments.
Discomfort or pain caused by your braces can be relieved to some degree by rinsing out your mouth with warm, salty water. To give yourself a salt rinse, dissolve one teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of water and thoroughly rinse your mouth.
If the tenderness is severe, take an over-the-counter painkiller, just as you would for headaches or similar pain.
Your lips, cheeks and tongue may also become irritated for a time as they become accustomed to the surface of the braces. You can put wax on your braces to lessen this.
As your treatment continues, you may notice that your teeth feel a bit looser than usual. This is expected with orthodontic treatments since the teeth must loosen before they can actually be moved by your braces.
Your teeth will again become rigidly fixed once they have settled into their new—corrected—positions.
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 more important than ever 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 your teeth after every snack or meal using fluoride toothpaste. An air flosser or Waterpik can also be helpful in flushing away 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 consider using a proxabrush—a toothbrush specially designed for cleaning the space between braces. Insert this brush down from the top and up from the bottom between two braces. Make a few strokes in different directions to thoroughly clean the space before moving on to the next.
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 don't remember to wear your rubber bands one day, just continue to follow your regular routine starting the next day. Do not double up the next day to catch up.
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 ensure that your appliance is 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.
There isn't any reason that having braces should stop you from participating in the activities you love, such as sports. You simply have to take some extra precautions to protect your teeth, the inside of your mouth and your braces too. If you take a blow to your face, braces can cause a lot of damage to the inside of your mouth. 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, practically any contact sport can be played with braces.