The first question everyone asks is, “What can I eat?” The first week can be especially tough as you adjust to your braces. You want to avoid tough meats, hard breads, and raw vegetables. But you'll need to protect your orthodontic appliances when you eat for as long as you're wearing braces.
Foods to Avoid
- Chewy foods: bagels, hard rolls, licorice
- Crunchy foods: popcorn, ice, chips
- Sticky foods: caramels, gum
- Hard foods: nuts, candy
- Foods you have to bite into: corn on the cob, apples, carrots
- Chewing on hard things (for example, pens, pencils or fingernails) can damage the braces. Damaged braces will cause treatment to take longer.
When you get your braces on, you may feel general soreness in your mouth and teeth may be tender to biting pressures for three to five days. This can be relieved by rinsing your mouth with a warm salt water mouthwash. Dissolve one teaspoonful of salt in 8 ounces of warm water, and rinse your mouth vigorously. If the tenderness is severe, take aspirin or whatever you normally take for headache or similar pain. The lips, cheeks and tongue may also become irritated for one to two weeks as they toughen and become accustomed to the surface of the braces. You can put wax on the braces to lessen this.
Movement of Teeth
This is to be expected throughout treatment. Don't worry! It's normal. In order for teeth to move, they will loosen a bit first so they can be moved. What is actually occurring is bone softening so the teeth can move through the bone without becoming damaged. The teeth will again become rigidly fixed in their new — corrected — positions.
Loose Wire or Band
Don't be alarmed if a wire or band comes loose. This happens occasionally. If wire protrudes and is irritating, use a blunt instrument (back of spoon or the eraser end of a pencil) and carefully, gently push the irritating wire under the archwire. Simply get it out of the way. If irritation to the lips or mouth continues, place wax or wet cotton on the wire to reduce the annoyance. Call our office as soon as possible for an appointment to check and repair the appliances. If any piece comes off, save it and bring it with you to the office.
Care of Appliances
To successfully complete the treatment plan, the patient must work together with the orthodontist. The teeth and jaws can only move toward their corrected positions if the patient consistently wears the rubber bands, headgear or other appliances as prescribed. Damaged appliances lengthen the treatment time.
It's more important than ever to brush and floss regularly when you have braces, so the teeth and gums are healthy after orthodontic treatment. Patients who do not keep their teeth clean may require more frequent visits to the dentist for a professional cleaning. Adults who have a history of gum disease should also see a periodontist during orthodontic treatment.
Braces’ Vocabulary/Parts of Braces
Anything your orthodontist attaches to your teeth which moves your teeth or changes the shape of your jaw.
The metal wire that acts as a track to guide your teeth along as they move. It is changed periodically throughout treatment as your teeth move to their new positions.
A metal ring that is cemented to your tooth and goes completely around your tooth. Bands provide
a way to attach brackets to your teeth.
The seal created by orthodontic cement that holds your appliances in place.
A metal or ceramic part cemented (“bonded”) to your tooth that holds your archwire in place.
A spring that fits between your brackets and over your archwire to open space between your teeth.
Elastic (Rubber Band)
A small rubber band that is hooked between different points on your appliance to provide pressure to move your teeth to their new position.
The rubber band that fits around your bracket to hold the archwire in place. They come in a variety of colors.
Headgear uses an external wire apparatus known as a facebow to gently guide the growth of your face and jaw by moving your teeth into proper position. The force is applied to the facebow by a spring-loaded neck strap or head strap. The straps have a safety release that disconnects if the facebow is pulled or snagged.
A round, hollow attachment on your back bands. The inner bow of your headgear fits into it.
A welded or removable arm to which elastics are attached.
A thin wire that holds your archwire into your bracket.
A lip bumper is an archwire attached to a molded piece of plastic. The lip bumper holds back the molars on your lower jaw to provide more space for your other teeth.
A device that protects your mouth from injury when you participate in sports or rigorous activities.
A device that makes your upper jaw wider.
An appliance that is worn after your braces are removed, the retainer attaches to your upper and/or lower teeth to hold them in place. Some retainers are removable and others are bonded to the tongue-side of several teeth.
Separator (or Spacer)
A small rubber ring that creates space between your teeth before the bands are attached.
A fine wire that is twisted around your bracket to hold the archwire in place.
Wax is used to stop your braces from irritating your lips.