Getting braces to straighten your teeth and bite and improve your appearance is an investment in your overall health and self confidence. Braces are the most common and effective treatment for malocclusions (the term used to describe teeth that don’t fit together properly) and can treat a host of orthodontic issues.
Treatment includes the creation of an individualized plan, application of the braces and wires and ongoing appointments with your orthodontist for assessment, adjustment and cleaning.
Types of Braces
The First Days and Weeks
For the first few days after metal or ceramic braces and wires are placed on your teeth, your teeth and mouth may be tender and sore. Your lips, tongue, and cheeks may be sore for the first one to two weeks as your mouth adjust to the braces and wires.
The discomfort can be easily relieved with ibuprofen, acetaminophen or other over-the-counter pain reliever. Placing wax over your braces (as directed by your orthodontist) will also help provide some relief as will rinsing with warm salt water.
Oral Hygiene and Braces
Brushing and flossing regularly is an essential part of achieving a successful orthodontic result. When you have braces, food can easily accumulate around the braces and wires, especially near the gum line. If you do not clean your teeth thoroughly, as directed, cavities, stains and gum problems can develop.
After your braces are in place, your orthodontist will give you instructions for brushing and flossing and your oral hygiene will be monitored throughout your treatment.
Foods to Avoid
Please use your best judgment based on the following guideline as we cannot list all foods to avoid
- Chewy food (licorice, gum, taffy, bagels, tough meats)
- Sticky food (gummy bears, caramels, gum, Skittles)
- Hard food (nuts, hard candy, Lifesavers, peanut brittle)
- Crunchy food (popcorn, ice, hard pretzels)
Avoid eating foods that you have to bite into (apples, carrot sticks, corn on the cob, pizza crust). Instead, cut foods like these into smaller pieces and chew them with your back teeth.
Avoid chewing on hard things (like pens, pencils or fingernails for example. This can damage your braces and wires and interfere with the effectiveness of your treatment plan.