Now that you have your braces, you truly are on your way to a beautiful smile and a healthy functional bite for life! It's important for you to know how to properly take care of your braces throughout your entire orthodontic treatment.
Eating with Braces
Eating with braces involves using common sense. No, you can not eat corn on the cob, but you can cut your corn off the cob to eat! Grate your carrots! Peel those apples and cut them into pieces. Small bites as a general rule of thumb also prove helpful with appliances in the roof of the mouth, and in preventing brackets from coming loose.
Foods to avoid:
- Sticky foods — caramel, toffee, tootsie rolls, licorice, gummy bears, etc.
- Hard foods — nuts, popcorn, hard candy, bagels, pizza crust, ice
- Foods that require biting into — apples, carrots (unless cooked or cut into small pieces) corn on the cob, etc.
At Dr. Panucci and Dr. Jackfert's office we utilize the highest technological brackets available on the market to reduce soreness. However, when you first get your braces or appliances, you may notice your teeth and mouth feel a little tender. This is perfectly normal and we promise your mouth will not be sore forever! We encourage our patients to take a "sports medicine" approach to help work this soreness out. Keep those jaws moving! Eat, sing, talk, and chew! Yes, you may chew sugarless gum with braces to help speed the process! Additionally, we recommend swishing the mouth for several minutes with a saltwater rinse, made by dissolving one teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of warm water. Ibuprofen and acetaminophen products can also be taken if necessary.
Loose Wires and Bands
The wires and bands on your braces may come loose. If this happens, please contact us as soon as possible so that we can check and repair your appliance. If any piece of your appliance comes off, be sure to save it and bring it to the office with you. You can temporarily fix the loose wire by using the back of a spoon or the eraser end of a pencil to carefully and gently push the wire back into place. If the loose wire is causing irritation to your lips or cheeks, put wax or a wet cotton ball over the broken wire to relieve the pain. However, if you do not feel comfortable fixing it yourself, we offer the most reassuring communication system on the market. Our "HOUSECALLS" system is designed to help you reach a clincal assistant within 30 minutes of your after hours phone call. They will help you determine the best course of action, whether it is talking you through a poking wire, or meeting you at our office. We are here to help!
"What role do I play with braces?"
To successfully complete the treatment plan, you must work TOGETHER with Dr. Panucci and Dr. Jackfert! Your teeth and jaws can only move towards their correct positions if you consistently wear your rubber bands, appliances, and keep your scheduled appointments. Broken appliances lengthen your treatment time and the best part of braces is enjoying that beautiful smile and healthy bite at the end. Teamwork is the key to a wonderful result!
It is also more important than ever to brush and floss regularly when you have braces. Excess plaque accumulation around braces can cause enamel scarring (white or brown areas). So keep those teeth clean! Excessive soda intake can cause this scarring to occur also, so please try to limit your soft drinks, or drink through a straw.
Last but not least, is the relationship we establish with our patients. We consider you a member of our patient family the first day your come into our office! We strive to get to know each and every one of our patients on a personal level because we truly care about YOU. We hope that you will share and laugh with us throughout your treatment in our office.
Playing Sports with Braces
Congratulations! We have great news for athletes! You can still play sports while improving your bite and smile. If you do play sports, it's recommended that you wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth and your appliances. We will provide you with an orthodontic sports mouth piece. Many of our patients play contact sports ranging from soccer to cheerleading to ice hockey. Braces do not hinder your performance as an athlete.
In case of an injury, please contact our office right away. Immediately check your mouth and appliance for damage. You can temporarily relieve the discomfort by applying wax, rinsing your mouth with warm saltwater, and applying ice if there is swelling. Remember our after hours care is only a phone call away!