Eating with BracesWhat can you eat? Let's talk about what you shouldn't eat! If you've been wanting to drop a few pounds, the first week wearing braces is just your chance! For the first day or so, stick to soft foods. Avoid tough meats, hard breads, and raw vegetables. Before long, you'll be able to bite a cucumber again. But you'll need to protect your orthodontic appliances when you eat for as long as you're wearing braces.
Foods to Avoid
- Chewy foods: bagels, hard rolls, licorice
- Crunchy foods: popcorn, ice, chips
- Sticky foods: caramels, gum
- Hard foods: nuts, candy
- Foods you have to bite into: corn on the cob, apples, carrots
- Chewing on hard things (for example, pens, pencils or fingernails) can damage the braces. Damaged braces will cause treatment to take longer.
General SorenessWhen you get your braces on, you may feel general soreness in your mouth and teeth may be tender to biting pressures for three to five days. This can be relieved by rinsing your mouth with a warm salt water mouthwash. Dissolve one teaspoonful of salt in 8 ounces of warm water and rinse your mouth vigorously. If the tenderness is severe, take aspirin or whatever you normally take for headache or similar pain. The lips, cheeks, and tongue may also become irritated for one to two weeks as they toughen and become accustomed to the surface of the braces. You can put wax on the braces to lessen this. We'll show you how!
Loosening of TeethThis is to be expected throughout treatment. Don't worry! It's normal. Teeth must loosen first so they can be moved. The teeth will again become rigidly fixed in their new – corrected – positions.
Loose Wire or BandDon't be alarmed if a wire or band comes loose. This happens occasionally. If a wire protrudes and is irritating, use a blunt instrument (the back of a spoon or the eraser end of a pencil) and carefully, gently push the irritating wire under the arch wire. Simply get it out of the way. If irritation to the lips or mouth continues, place wax or wet cotton on the wire to reduce the annoyance. Call our office as soon as possible for an appointment to check and repair the appliances. If any piece comes off, save it and bring it with you to the office.
Care of AppliancesTo successfully complete the treatment plan, the patient must work together with the orthodontist. The teeth and jaws can only move toward their corrected positions if the patient consistently wears the rubber bands, headgear, or other appliances as prescribed. Damaged appliances lengthen the treatment time.
BrushingIt's more important than ever to brush and floss regularly when you have braces so the teeth and gums are healthy after orthodontic treatment. Patients who do not keep their teeth clean may require more frequent visits to the dentist for a professional cleaning. Adults who have a history of gum disease should also see a periodontist during orthodontic treatment.
AthleticsIf you play sports, it's important that you consult us for special precautions. A protective mouthguard is advised for playing contact sports. In case of any accident involving the face, check your mouth and the appliances immediately. If teeth are loosened or the appliances damaged, phone at once for an appointment. In the meantime, treat your discomfort as you would treat any general soreness.
What is orthodontics?
~Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry that specializes in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental and facial irregularities. Braces, Aligners and other appliances/devices are used to make these corrections by moving teeth and bones.
~Why should you choose an orthodontic specialist for your care?
Just as there are specialists in medicine (such as cardiologists, gastroenterologists, dermatologists, etc.), there are specialists in dentistry. Orthodontists are dental specialists who dedicate their lives to correcting misaligned teeth and jaws. Teeth and sometimes faces are permanently changed by orthodontic treatment; therefore, it is very important that the treatment be done properly. A licensed orthodontic specialist is a expert at moving teeth, helping jaws develop properly and working with you to help make sure the teeth stay in their new positions. Remember that most orthodontic insurance plans pay for braces only once in a lifetime.
When is the best time to schedule an initial consultation?
Every child should see an orthodontist at an early age. By age 7, enough permanent teeth have come in and enough jaw growth has occurred, that problems can be identified. Early consultation allows the orthodontist to determine the optimum time for treatment to begin. Many parents and some family dentists assume that they must wait until a child has all of his or her permanent teeth, only to find out that treatment would have been much easier if started earlier. Early treatment can eliminate the need for more drastic measures. In some cases, satisfactory results are unattainable once the face and jaws have finished growing. With proper timing, children may not have to endure years of embarrassment. In
~Who should come to the initial consultation besides the patient?
If you rely heavily on the opinion of others before making treatment commitments, you are encouraged to bring all the decision makers with you to this consultation. They can be taking notes while you listen or act as a sounding board. Your orthodontist doesn't want information lost in translation if decision maker does not come and you have to relay the consultation outcome to them.
What are the benefits of early treatment?
Early treatment provides the opportunity to:
1) guide the growth of the young jaw bones creating a better environment for those new emerging permanent teeth
2) guide incoming teeth into optimal positions
3) regulate the width of the jaws
4) lower the risk of trauma to prominent front teeth
5) correct harmful sucking habits
6) reduce the likelihood of teeth becoming stuck or impacted under the gums
7) preserve or gain space for arriving permanent teeth
8) allow easier correction if found early
What causes crooked teeth?
Just as we inherit eye color from our parents, mouth and jaw features are also inherited. Examples of these genetic problems are crowding, spacing, protrusion, extra or missing teeth and some jaw growth problems. Some other bad bites are acquired as local factors such as finger sucking, pacifier sucking, high cavity rate, gum disease, trauma and premature loss of baby teeth can also contribute to a bad bite. One out of every five school age children have a severe bite problem so it is not surprising that you might need braces.
~How do braces straighten crooked teeth?
Braces use steady, gentle pressure over time to move teeth into their proper positions. They don't look like they're doing much just sitting there. but in fact, every moment or your orthodontic treatment, there's something happening in your mouth. Something good for you. The brackets we place on your teeth and the main arch wire that connects them, are the two main components. The bracket is a piece of specially shaped metal or ceramic that we affix to each tooth. Then we bend the arch wire to reflect your 'ideal" bite (what we want you to look like after treatment). The wire threads through the brackets and, as the wire tries to return to its original shape, it applies pressure to actually move your teeth. Picture your tooth resting in your jaw bone. With pressure on one side from the arch wire, the bone on the other side gives way. The tooth moves. New bone grows in behind. It may look like nothing is happening but we're making a new smile here. Thanks to new materials and procedures, all this happens much quicker than ever before. It's kind of an engineering feat.
~Will things sometimes look worse before they will look better during orthodontic treatment?
Yes, the teeth will move in different directions as the teeth are straightening out. You may see a space between your two front teeth that was never there before or teeth that seemed perfectly straight before the braces were placed may not seem as straight. Be patient and things will start to improve. That space will close and those teeth will line up as treatment continues.
~What do rubber bands do?
Rubber bands or elastics contribute a lot to straighter teeth. They are marvels of physics. Attached to your braces, elastics exert the force that creates the right amount of pressure to move teeth in directions that the braces alone can't. They don't work without you. It's important to wear your elastics as prescribed. Rubber bands get tired and lose their stretch so change them every day so the force is constant which the teeth like. A lack of consistency in wearing rubber bands can bring treatment to a standstill and who wants to do that to themselves. Teeth never fail to move when elastics are worn consistently as directed. As for bouncing an elastic off someone across the room, it will happen (don't worry, your aim will improve). Always carry a few rubber bands with you so if one breaks, you can replace it right away. If your supply is low call us and e can mail you more rubber bands.
~How do orthodontists make more room for permanent teeth?
They use headgear/night brace which applies pressure to the upper teeth and jaw, lip bumpers which applies pressure to the lower molar teeth and restrains lip pressure away from the lower front teeth, expanders which apply sideways pressure to the teeth to widen the jaws the teeth are embedded in, springs which move teeth away from one another. Some of these approaches take advantage the fact that bone is pliable or flexible and can be pushed, pulled and reshaped.
~Will you have any teeth pulled?
Only if your orthodontist cannot save or make enough room for all your teeth. Don't worry, if you have teeth pulled, recovery is about 2 days for most patients. Your orthodontist will close the spaces and no one will even notice.