Life with Braces

If you see a friend without a smile;
Give him one of yours.

Now that you have your braces, how do you take care of them?  Properly taking care of your braces is key to successful orthodontic treatment.

Eating with Braces

No need to worry; you’ll be eating ice, hard candy, gum, and snacking on hard chips again in no time!  But not now!  To avoid damaging your new braces, you will need to avoid eating certain foods.

Foods to avoid while wearing braces:

  • Chewy foods – bagels, licorice, gum
  • Crunchy foods – hard chips, ice
  • Sticky foods – caramel candies, chewing gum, gummy bears, toffee
  • Hard foods – nuts, hard candies, hard taco shells
  • Foods that require biting into – corn on the cob, apples, carrots (cut them up in small pieces)

Foods you CAN eat while wearing braces:

  • Dairy – milk, milk-based drinks, pudding, yogurt, soft cheese
  • Breads – sandwich bread, pancakes, muffins (no nuts)
  • Grains – pasta, soft cooked rice
  • Meats/poultry – lunch meats, chicken, meatballs  
  • Seafood – fish (watch for bones), crab cakes
  • Vegetables – most cooked vegetables are fine unless they are hard
  • Fruits – bananas, grapes, applesauce, fruit juice
  • Other Treats – ice cream (no nuts), Jell-O, soft cake (in limited amounts)

Discomfort caused from braces and appliances

During the first week after your braces are in place and routine adjustments are complete, you will likely feel some pain, soreness or discomfort. We recommend gargling with salt water (one teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of warm water) for a couple of minutes or placing a warm washcloth or heating pad on your jaws to reduce the soreness.

If the pain does not subside, you may take acetaminophen or other over-the-counter pain medicine like Motrin. Your lips and cheeks may also become irritated for a couple of weeks after you receive your braces. We recommend putting wax on your braces to help with the abrasion. Just let us know and we will be happy to provide you with orthodontic wax.

Loose Teeth

It is normal for your teeth to feel a little loose. The braces will loosen your teeth in order to move them to the correct position. Once they are repositioned, your teeth will no longer feel loose. 

Loose Wires and Bands

Call our office as soon as possible if a bracket or wire becomes loose. The bracket will need to be checked and repaired. It is important to bring with you any piece of your appliance that may have broken off.  To temporarily fix the loose wire, you can gently push the wire back into place with a pencil eraser. If it is causing irritation, we recommend covering the end of the wire with a small piece of cotton,  or a small amount of wax.  


Take Care of your Appliances

It is important to take good care of your appliances because any damage could increase your treatment time. Patient compliance is also vital to orthodontic treatment. Consistent wear of headgear, rubber bands, retainers and other appliances effectively move your teeth (and jaws) into the right position.

Brushing Your Teeth with Braces

During orthodontic treatment, it is important to brush and floss your teeth after each meal  to avoid the accumulation of food particles in your teeth and braces.  Please ask us for recommendations regarding choosing the right products (interdental toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, etc.) for use during orthodontic treatment.

Ortho Essentials – Oral Health Care Program

We are obviously quite concerned about patient care and involvement in their oral hygiene.  This is why we redesigned our in-house oral hygiene program with a new methodology of hygiene instruction using the latest innovations.  Specifically, we adopted the Oral Health Solutions program developed by Crest and Oral-B.  It is a program called Orthodontic Essentials and was designed for orthodontic patients featuring the Oral-B Professional Care SmartSeries 5000 toothbrush, Crest Pro-Health Toothpaste and Rinse. 

The Oral-B Professional Care SmartSeries 5000 is the first power brush with a wireless remote to provide feedback to reinforce proper brushing habits.  Recent studies demonstrate that after 2 weeks, orthodontic patients who used this Ortho Essentials regimen had up to 40% less plaque than if they had used a regular manual toothbrush and toothpaste.

The Ortho Essentials (OE) program empowers patients to take charge of their own oral hygiene.  Patients are educated to assess their own level of hygiene using simple grading cards.  They learn to match the appearance of their own teeth to photos on these cards to determine their own score. This is also done chairside at the orthodontic office to reinforce improvements. Kalamazoo Orthodontics was once again the first orthodontic practice in the region to adopt this unique program.

Visiting Your Family Dentist During Orthodontics

It is exceptionally important that you continue to visit your family dentist at least once every six months, during your orthodontic treatment for teeth cleanings and routine dental checkups!!

Playing Sports with Braces

We are happy to tell you that wearing braces does not interfere with playing sports. However, we do recommend wearing a mouth guard for all sports. A mouth guard helps protect your teeth and braces from impact. They come in different colors and are inexpensive.  Brett Favre and Tyrell Davis both won Super Bowls with braces, “The Admiral” David Robinson played NBA basketball with them, and Kalamazoo Orthodontics’ treated a goalie for the Kalamazoo Wings hockey team.

If your mouth is injured while playing sports, be sure to check your appliance for any damage. Contact us immediately if you find that you have loose teeth or that your appliance has been damaged. You can temporarily relieve the discomfort with wax or by rinsing your mouth with warm saltwater.