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All About Braces

THE AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF ORTHODONTISTS RECOMMENDS THAT ALL CHILDREN ARE SCREENED BY AGE 7!

Orthodontics is a specialized aspect of dentistry that focuses on diagnosing, preventing and treating dental and facial abnormalities. Your orthodontist is able to straighten teeth, correct misaligned jaw structures and improve the function of your smile.

Although it is easy to understand the cosmetic benefits of straight teeth, many do not realize the health benefits associated with straightening your teeth. When teeth are in malocclusion or are misaligned, they are more susceptible to bacteria build up, cavities and periodontal disease. When teeth cannot be cleaned properly, they have an increased risk of mobility and eventual tooth loss.

Orthodontics today is innovative and not how most adults remember it as kids! Orthodontics used to consist of large metal bands that were placed around each tooth. Today, the materials are much less noticeable and are designed to move teeth more efficiently. Your doctor will discuss your different treatment options and what is best for you!

CARING FOR MY BRACES

Taking care of your teeth while in orthodontic treatment is very important! Oral hygiene and home care needs to be a priority because with braces, food may get caught in places that your toothbrush cant reach. This will cause bacteria to build up and can lead to gingivitis, gum disease and cavities. We will show you how to keep the hard to reach areas clean! Our office will work closely with your dentist to make sure your teeth stay clean and white. Follow our recommendations for the whitest and healthiest teeth!

  • Always brush after every meal and floss at least every night
  • Make sure your toothpaste contains fluoride
  • Drink water with fluoride
  • If recommended, use your fluoride rinse
  • Avoid sticky and chewy foods (gum, laffy taffy, caramel, gummy worms, sticky snacks)
  • Avoid hard foods (ice cubes, nuts, jaw breakers or any hard candy)
  • Avoid foods that get stuck in your braces and are hard to clean (corn on the cob, ribs, soft bagels, dried fruits)
  • Avoid food with a lot of sugar, which can increase cavities
  • When you take your retainers or clear aligners out, make sure to put them in their container so they don’t get lost or broken. Keep them away from animals, as they love to chew them!
  • Follow your dentist’s recommendations on when to schedule your routine checkups and cleanings.

FOODS TO AVOID WITH BRACES:

  • Sticky and chewy foods (gum, laffy taffy, licorice, caramel, gummy worms, sticky snacks)
  • Hard foods (ice cubes, nuts, jaw breakers or any hard candy)
  • Foods that get stuck in your braces and are hard to clean (corn on the cob, ribs, soft bagels, dried fruits)
  • Foods you have to bite into (apples, carrots)
  • Avoid food with a lot of sugar, which can increase cavities

FOODS YOU CAN EAT WITH BRACES:

  • Meats/fish- soft cooked chicken, meatballs, lunch meat and seafood
  • Diary- Soft cheese, pudding, yogurt, smoothies
  • Breads/Grains- pancakes, muffins, soft tortillas, soft breads, pasta, cooked rice
  • Fruits/ Vegetables- mashed potatoes, steamed spinach, beans, soft cooked veggies, applesauce, bananas, watermelon
  • Treats- milkshakes, jello-o, soft cakes or cupcakes, ice cream without nuts

SORENESS FROM BRACES OR OTHER APPLIANCES

It is normal to notice your teeth or mouth feel a little sore or tender when you first get your braces or when they are adjusted. Remember that this soreness will go away and is part of the process to a beautiful smile! To help with any tenderness, we recommend rinsing with warm salt water. Dissolve about one teaspoon of salt in about eight ounces of warm water. Swish and gargle for a few minutes. Always spit the solution and do not swallow.

If the pain is more severe and is not relieved by rinsing, you may take a pain reliever. Consult with your doctor to see what pain reliever may be best for you. It is also common for the lips, cheeks, tongue and soft tissues in the mouth to become irritated for a few weeks as they get used to the braces and other appliances. For sore spots, we recommend using ortho wax that will cover the braces and reduce the tenderness.

LOOSE TEETH AND LOOSE WIRES AND BANDS

Don’t worry; it is normal for your teeth to feel a little loose! Your braces will first loosen your teeth before they are able to move them into their proper position. Once your teeth are in the proper position they will no longer be loose and this feeling will subside.

Occasionally, a wire or band may come loose and cause some irritation. If this happens, please contact us as soon as possible so we can repair the appliance. If any piece comes off, please bring it to the office with you. If you are unable to get into the office to have it fixed you can temporarily fix the appliance by gently pushing a broken wire back into place. If a loose wire is causing irritation to your lips or cheek, use wax or a wet cotton ball to cover the broken metal and reduce the discomfort.

PLAYING SPORTS WITH BRACES

You can still play sports with braces! If you do play sports, we recommend that you wear a custom mouthguard to protect your teeth and appliance. We will help you decide what type of mouthguard is best for you and your sport!

In the event of a sports emergency, check your mouthguard and mouth for any sign of damage. If you notice any loose teeth or damage to the appliance, call our office immediately!