It takes some adjustment time to get used to braces for patients new to orthodontic treatment. Over time, though, you’ll become fully adapted to life with braces. There are several important guidelines to follow to make your experience with braces as effective, comfortable and worry-free as possible. By following the rules laid out by your orthodontist, you can ensure you’re getting the very most from your treatment. Take a look at these helpful tips for living with braces as you go about your regular daily routine.
Braces shouldn’t get in the way of your healthy lifestyle, and you can continue doing most types of activities normally as you undergo orthodontic treatment. Most contact sports are still safe, though; we recommend you always wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth and braces while you play. Our office offers three types of mouthguards: Under Armour custom fit mouthguards are available in light pink and light blue. Generic fit mouthguards are free of charge and come in a variety of primary colors. Once treatment is complete, we also offer personalized custom fit Pro-Form mouthguards.
Coping with Soreness
In the first few weeks of treatment, soreness, sensitivity and irritation of the teeth, gums, tongue and cheeks is very likely. Once your mouth adapts to your braces, this discomfort will gradually disappear—though it may return to a lesser degree after adjustment appointments at our Albany or Corvallis office. If you’re experiencing pain, we have a few suggestions:
- Gargle with warm saltwater for a few minutes as needed throughout the day
- Put a thick layer of wax on the parts of your braces causing irritation
- Take an over-the-counter pain reliever—studies show ibuprofen to be most effective for orthodontic patients—as directed on the box
Eating and Drinking
There are some foods and beverages patients with braces just can’t have during treatment. While we know it can be difficult to avoid certain delicious snacks—especially for children—it’s vital to keep your braces working their best by skipping chewy, crunchy, sticky, hard and difficult-to-eat foods throughout your orthodontic treatment. If you ever have a question about whether or not it’s safe to eat a food item, please call us to check before trying it out for yourself. Most foods are fine if cut or broken into small pieces.
Some examples of foods you need to avoid include:
- Gum made from real sugar, sticky gummy candy, caramel, taffy
- Hard candies, mints, lollipops
- Bagels, pizza crust, hard chewy breads
- Popcorn, hard or thick chips, chewy jerky
- Ice, solid frozen foods
- Nuts, seeds
- Corn on the cob
In addition to avoiding these foods, patients with braces and other oral appliances should also limit certain drinks, which can cause cavities and other damage to your teeth during orthodontic treatment. Drinks to enjoy in limited amounts:
- Sports drinks
- Other sugary drinks
Take a look at our Brushing & Flossing page to learn about caring for your braces after eating and drinking.
Caring for Braces & Appliances
Braces and other orthodontic appliances are precise and intricate. Like other finely tuned hardware, orthodontic instruments must be cared for in order to work their best. This means carefully following Dr. Trammell’s and Dr. Schanilec’s instructions for at-home care and always contacting us as soon as you have a question or concern. Make sure you use your rubber bands, spacers, headgear, retainer, facemask and other appliances as instructed for the entirety of your treatment. Learn more about how to deal with loose wires, brackets or bands on our FAQs page.
Every Schanilec & Trammell Orthodontics patient has plenty of unique questions and concerns as they begin orthodontic treatment. Follow the link to our FAQ page above for more information about some common obstacles you might encounter. We understand you may have questions within the weeks and months after you’re fitted with your new braces, and we encourage you to give us a call during office hours for advice or answers to your questions.