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How to Adapt to Wearing Braces

Orthodontic Therapy Requires Temporary Lifestyle Adjustments

The good news is that you’ll probably only have to wear your braces for two years or less, and your gorgeous smile could last for the rest of your life! While wearing braces, a few simple lifestyle changes will help you stay on track for treatment completion and avoid potential problems.

How to Complete Treatment with Braces as Fast as Possible

Did you know, if you keep your teeth and braces clean, your teeth will move faster? It’s not a trick! It’s true!

If you don’t brush and floss after meals, plaque builds up between teeth and at the gum line. About 48 hours later, the plaque hardens into tartar, which is more difficult to remove. A combination of bacteria-riddled plaque and tartar irritate gum tissue. This leads to the development of gingivitis, the early stage of gum disease. If you continue to improperly clean your teeth and braces, gingivitis turns into full-blown gum disease, which is a chronic infection.

About Gum Disease

Gum disease promotes inflammation, which keeps bone-forming cells from forming. It’s these important cells that make your jaw respond to the gentle, consistent forces of braces, elastics, and aligners. Furthermore, inflammation causes a thickening of tissues. Your teeth will have a more difficult (and longer) journey toward their ideal alignment because thicker tissues create greater resistance.

How to Clean Teeth with Braces

Follow these instructions to keep your teeth and braces clean and to speed up the results of orthodontic therapy:

  • Thoroughly brush and floss your teeth and braces after meals and snacks

  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to brush all surfaces of your teeth and braces

  • Use an interdental brush to clean between wires and teeth and around brackets

  • Use an orthodontic flosser for easier and more effective flossing

  • Don’t use too much toothpaste; a pea-sized dot of fluoridated paste is sufficient

  • Rinse with mouthwash before bedtime

  • Ask us for disclosing toothpaste to see the effectiveness of your work

Tips for Finishing Orthodontic Treatment as Fast as Possible

  • Keep your teeth and braces clean

  • Keep your orthodontic appointments

  • Don’t break your orthodontic appliances (see Eat This, Not That below)

  • Wear your elastics and/or headgear as instructed

  • See your general dentist for six-month checkups and cleanings

  • Wear a mouthguard when playing sports (we suggest the Shock Doctor Double Braces Mouthguard)

Eat This, Not That

You may have heard about a lot of dietary restrictions that come with orthodontic therapy, but the truth is, making a few minor adjustments is all that’s required. Basically, don’t eat hard, thick, chewy, or sticky foods. You can still chew sugar-free gum and enjoy gummy candies.

Instead of snacking on nuts and chips, eat a banana, canned fruits, applesauce, or a smoothie.

Instead of eating hard candy (Jolly Ranchers, suckers) and sticky sweets (Skittles, Starburst), enjoy a bowl of your favorite ice cream with whipped cream and a cherry!

There’s a world of delicious soft foods to tantalize your taste buds while you wear braces. Mac and cheese (homemade is delicious); cheesy mashed potatoes; breakfast omelets; soups and chicken and dumplings; and fruity yogurt or pudding are absolutely delicious. Take this time to explore new flavors and spices you’ve never tried. You may discover some new favorites to add to your diet, even after your braces come off.

Troubleshooting Your Braces:

If your braces break or you have other troubles, call our office and we’ll let you know what to do. In general, these tips can help you between appointments. Be sure to keep any pieces of your braces that come off and bring them to your visit.

  • Broken Bracket: Cover broken or damaged brackets with orthodontic wax to keep the broken piece from irritating your mouth.

  • Poking Wire: Cover poking wires with orthodontic wax or ask your parent to clip a poking wire with clean nail clippers. You may also bend a poking wire toward your teeth with a pencil eraser. If a wire has come loose from your last bracket, a parent can use clean tweezers to reinsert it into position. Long wires can be clipped. We’ll fix broken and bent parts at your next appointment.

  • Post-Adjustment Discomfort: If your mouth is sore after braces are first attached or after an adjustment, the discomfort should go away within a day or two. Ask a parent for the age-appropriate dose of an over-the-counter pain reliever like Tylenol, Advil, or Motrin to relieve the soreness.

  • Lost Invisalign Aligner: Just give us a call ASAP for advice. Meanwhile, keep wearing the previous tray. Don’t wait too long!

Call Harmony Orthodontics for Problems with Braces

If you experience any concerns with your braces or have questions about what you can eat or when your next appointment is scheduled, call 832-699-3683 any time. We are always happy to help our patients!