Having braces should not cause any major changes in your day-to-day activities. You can still dine out, sing, play a musical instrument, or have pictures taken. With proper care and maintenance, you can promote your oral health while on your way to a more beautiful smile.
If you play a wind instrument, several companies make mouth guards and lip protectors, although you may not need them.
For certain sports it is a good idea to wear a mouth guard. Ask us about recommendations based on your specific needs when you come in for your next appointment.
When making your dining choice, choose softer foods and avoid foods that are particularly hard, chewy, crunchy or sticky. Cut or tear pizza and sandwiches before eating them rather than trying to bite through them. Chopping up items like apples or carrots before eating them is a good idea. When your braces are adjusted, your teeth may be a little more sensitive, so choosing softer food like pasta, soups or a healthy smoothie can be a good choice. Please avoid chewing gum and chewing on ice.
Carefully follow all instructions you are given regarding your dental care. Specific steps may vary depending on the type of braces you have. Be sure to brush thoroughly after any meal or snack . It is important to keep your teeth and braces as clean as possible to avoid potential problems. Also, rinse with water or mouthwash after brushing. It’s a good idea to carry a travel toothbrush when you will be away from home. Before going to bed at night, be sure to brush thoroughly and floss carefully. It may take a little extra time but this is an important step in maintaining your oral hygiene on your way to a better smile and healthier teeth.
Use a soft rounded-bristle toothbrush that is in good condition. Toothbrushes will wear out faster and will need to be replaced more often when wearing braces, so be sure to keep some spare toothbrushes on hand. When brushing, you should also brush your tongue and rinse thoroughly when done.
Flossing is an important part of good oral hygiene. With braces, it may take a little more time and practice, and a floss threader may be necessary to get the floss under the arch wire. Make sure you clean along and under the gum lines with floss each night before going to bed. After you have properly brushed and flossed, your braces should look clean and shiny, making it easy to see the edges of the braces.
Finally, dental wax can be very helpful with any areas that are irritating your mouth or gums. This can be especially helpful at night when sleeping when your mouth may get drier than during the day time when you can regularly hydrate.
Keep these materials on hand to help with the most common orthodontic maintenance and minor emergencies:
Interdental or Proxabrushes fit between teeth and help patients to clean around wires without damaging them.
Non-medicated orthodontic relief wax can be placed over brackets or wires that may be irritating gum tissues.
Antibacterial Mouthwash can be used to reduce inflammation and prevent infection. For minor sores in the mouth, Peroxyl, an antiseptic rinse containing hydrogen peroxide may be used up to 4 times per day after brushing. Refer to the product label for specific instructions.
Dental floss, an interproximal brush or a toothpick can be used for removing food that gets caught between teeth or wires.
Sterile tweezers can be used to replace orthodontic rubber bands that have come off.
A Q-tip or pencil eraser can be used to push a wire up against a tooth if it has come loose and is irritating the cheeks or gums. If it is not possible to reposition the wire so it is more comfortable, place wax over the end of the wire and call our office so that we can set a time to have the wire adjusted and put back into place.
Salt is used for warm salt-water rinses, which help heal sore gums and tissues in the mouth.
Non-prescription pain relievers, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, can help with the temporary discomfort that sometimes occurs for the first day or two after an orthodontic adjustment.
Topical Anesthetic Treatments, such as Orabase® or Ora-Gel®, can be applied with with a Q-tip to any abrasions or sores in the mouth should they occur.