Life with Braces

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Soreness

It is not uncommon for your teeth to feel tender or sore after getting braces adjusted. We suggest taking acetaminophen (Tylenol®, for example) for this soreness, as other pain relievers such as aspirin and ibuprofen slow down tooth movement. However, you may take a dose of Tylenol and a dose of Advil together for the first day or two – this should be more than enough to relieve any discomfort. After the first few days, though, you should switch to Tylenol, and only as needed. After roughly four days, you should notice your discomfort decreasing every day until you feel completely normal again, roughly a week or two after first getting braces.

Loose Brackets

Brackets may sometimes come loose from teeth during treatment. This is easily fixed – simply call us and schedule an appointment for us to reattach the bracket. If brackets come loose regularly during the length of your treatment, however, it may indicate that you need to pay more attention to the foods you are eating, or the activities you are engaging in (at least without a proper mouth guard).

Foods to Avoid

Even though the adhesive between your tooth and braces won’t be entirely set for 24 hours, you are able to eat as soon as you leave our office. However, there are some foods you should avoid not just in the first day with braces, but through your entire treatment. For the most part, common sense will tell you what to avoid. Hard foods, sticky foods, and foods high in sugar must be avoided. Hard foods can break or damage wires and brackets. Sticky foods can get caught between brackets and wires. Minimize sugary foods; they cause tooth decay and related problems. Nail biting, pencil and pen chewing, and chewing on foreign objects should be avoided.

Oral Hygiene

Proper oral hygiene is always important, but it is especially critical when undergoing orthodontic treatment. This is because braces can make it more difficult for you to brush and floss properly. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and a small strip of fluoride toothpaste. When you brush your teeth, move the brush in small, circular motions to reach food particles that may be under your gum line. Hold the toothbrush at an angle and brush slowly and carefully, covering all areas between teeth, between braces and the surface of each tooth. It will take you several minutes to thoroughly brush your teeth. Brush up on the lower teeth, down on the upper teeth, and the outside, inside, and chewing surface of your front and back teeth. Brush your tongue and the roof of your mouth before you rinse.

For areas between the teeth that a toothbrush can’t reach, use dental floss to remove food particles and plaque. Flossing takes more time and patience when you are wearing braces, but it is important to floss your teeth every day. Use the reusable floss threader provided by our office to floss under your archwire daily. Pull a small length of floss from the dispenser through the threader and slide it up and down along the front of each tooth. You will be able to feel when the tooth is clean and hear the squeak of the floss against your clean teeth. Use care around your archwire and do not floss too forcefully around it or put too much pressure on it. After you floss between your archwire and braces, floss between your other teeth and gums.