Life with Braces
Congratulations on getting your braces! Now that you have them, you’ll need to learn how to care of them. The most important things you can do to ensure a successful treatment outcome are keeping to regularly scheduled appointments, maintaining good oral hygiene, and minimizing any breakage of your appliances. Being careful about what you eat and being diligent about brushing and flossing may be time consuming, but when you’re done with treatment, you’ll have a beautiful, confident smile. Trust us—it’s worth it!
Visiting Our Office
During your treatment, you’ll need to visit Bloom & Reddy Orthodontics once every 1-3 months to get an update on your progress and instructions for that particular visit. You will see Dr. Reddy at each visit, as well as our highly trained and qualified staff, who are here to make your orthodontic treatment comfortable, easy, and as fast as possible.
Eating with Braces
While it may seem like you won’t be able to eat anything fun, the list of things you can eat is much longer than the list of things you should avoid. Just be smart and think about what it is that you are eating. Pizza is ok, just don’t eat the crust. If you want meat on the bone or corn on the cob, just cut it off. Go shopping with your parents and find foods and snack that are braces friendly. Even fruits and raw veggies can be cut up into bite-sized pieces.
Here’s what you should absolutely avoid:
- Hard, crunchy foods like popcorn, fat pretzels, tortilla chips, hard nuts, and kettle fried chips
- Sticky, chewy foods like gum (no matter what kind!), starburst, fruit rollups, caramel, etc.
- Limit sodas to one a week
Taking Care of Your Braces
Brushing and Flossing
Brush as you normally would—three times a day, usually after meals. Pay close attention along the gum line. This is where food and plaque will tend to accumulate. Spend a good three to 3-5 minutes brushing your teeth, as there are a lot of nooks around your brackets for food to hide. We recommend a fluoride toothpaste to use every night to help strengthen your enamel and prevent decay.
Try to floss every day, but make sure you do it at least three times a week. This is the most-time consuming part of your home hygiene routine with braces. You can thread the floss between all of the teeth that touch together on the sides or use one of the more convenient tools to make flossing easier with braces. Use a mouthrinse such as Listerine, which has antibacterial properties to fight gingivitis.
When you first get your braces, you will experience some mild tenderness and soreness of the teeth and mouth. Just as if you had lifted weights at the gym, it takes some time for the body to adapt to changes that are taking place. Typically, using OTC pain relievers such as Tylenol as directed are all that is necessary.
Loosening of the teeth is a result of teeth being actively moved. This is normal and will diminish once your treatment is complete.
Loose Wires or Bands
The bands and brackets on your braces are like a handle on the tooth, and it has a built-in map of where the teeth need to be in terms of their angle, tilt, and heights. The wires that connect the braces are what moves the teeth by applying gentle forces over the course of treatment. Elastics help to guide the teeth and correct the bite. The colors or power chain help to hold the wire and brace together and assist with space closure.
If you notice that one of your brackets or wires are loose, contact our Frederick, MD orthodontic office to see if it is an urgent issue. Loose braces will separate from the teeth but are still attached to the archwire and typically cannot be swallowed. They may slide around, but it is not critical. If any piece of your appliance comes off, be sure to save it and bring it to the office with you.
Always wear a mouthguard for contact sports. We even recommend mouthguards for our younger patients for bike riding and skateboarding. The easiest way to prevent an orthodontic emergency is to wear a mouthguard.
For Adult Patients
Oftentimes, adults assume that orthodontic treatment is just for kids. That couldn’t be farther from the truth! At Bloom & Reddy Orthodontics, we see many adult patients, many of whom are more committed to their treatment than our younger patients. We gladly encourage our adult patients to seek orthodontic care and work very closely with their general dentists or specialists when periodontal, restorative, or surgical needs are present.