Life with braces
the inside scoop
Life with braces has its challenges, but you'll end up with a healthy, happy smile. Here's what to expect on your journey.
When you first get your braces put on, your teeth may be be a little tender, and you'll probably want to eat softer foods. But you'll get used to your braces before you know it.
Although you can eat most normal foods with braces, you'll want to avoid certain things, like:
- Chewy foods: bagels, hard rolls, hard licorice, jerky, chewy energy bars
- Crunchy foods: popcorn, ice, frozen foods
- Sticky foods: caramels, chewy candy (like Starburst), certain types of gum
- Hard foods: nuts, hard candy (like Jolly Ranchers), hard energy bars
Some crunchy fruits and veggies, like apples and carrots, are fine, you just need to be more careful. Cutting corn off the cob, or cutting crunchy vegetables into small pieces, will make it easier to enjoy these foods without damaging your braces.
Lastly, chewing on hard things like pens or pencils can loosen and damage braces, which can cause your treatment to take longer. Many repairs can be avoided by following our guidelines. You'll get a reminder sheet with these guidelines when you start treatment.
When you first get your braces on, you may feel some general soreness in your mouth. It's normal for your teeth to be tender when you bite for about 3-5 days. To feel better, you can rinse your mouth with a warm salt water mouthrinse. Dissolve one teaspoonful of salt in 8 ounces of warm water, and rinse your mouth vigorously. If the tenderness is more uncomfortable, you can take aspirin, Tylenol (acetaminophen), or Advil (ibuprofen), or whatever you normally take for a headache or similar pain.
Your lips, cheeks, and tongue may also become irritated for 1-2 weeks as they toughen up and get used to your new braces. We will give you soft wax that can be placed on any rough surfaces until your mouth has gotten used to the new braces. The wax can also be used if there are any poking wires, or if any brackets come loose and become irritating. Wax is your one-stop shop for fixing nearly every type of sore your braces may cause. As your mouth gets more and more used to the braces, you'll need the wax less and less.
Don’t worry, this is completely normal and temporary. Teeth must loosen up first so that they can be moved in the right direction. In fact, it's common for teeth to be somewhat loose the entire time you are in braces. When the braces are removed, the teeth will return to normal in their new, straight positions.
To get the best results, it's very important that you work with us to successfully complete your treatment plan. Coming in for regularly-scheduled adjustments is certainly important, but other factors will also affect the outcome. The teeth can only move toward their corrected positions if you follow our directions carefully, staying away from foods that can damage your braces and making sure to wear your rubber bands or other “extras”. It's also very important to maintain excellent oral hygiene and to visit your dentist for cleanings and check-ups throughout your orthodontic treatment.
We find most people are more than up-to-the-task to help their treatment be successful. For the few that do struggle, our specially trained team will work with them to find a solution to ensure a successful outcome.
It's more important than ever to brush and floss regularly during orthodontic treatment! This is one of the only ways to ensure that the teeth and gums will be healthy after your treatment is complete. Dr. Kuperstein and the Parkside team will provide a customized plan for each patient to ensure their teeth stay healthy during and after orthodontic treatment
Regular visits to the dentist are also very important during orthodontic treatment. Dr. Kuperstein recommends that patients see their dentist at least every six months, or more frequently under certain circumstances.
If you play sports, please talk to us about special precautions. Dr. Kuperstein almost always recommends a protective mouthguard for athletic activities. Mouth guards are inexpensive, comfortable, and come in an exciting variety of colors and patterns!
Injuries during sports are common. Most of the time, minor bumps and bruises are not a problem, but many injuries can be made worse if braces are involved. If there's an accident involving the face, check your mouth and braces right away. If teeth are loosened or the appliances damaged, contact us or your dentist immediately. Severe facial injuries or knocked out teeth should be addressed immediately by an oral surgeon, physician, or general dentist.
Don’t be alarmed if something comes loose. This happens occasionally. If a wire sticks out and is irritating, use a blunt instrument (like a pencil eraser) to gently push the irritating wire out of the way. Wax may also be placed over any sharp or poking wires. If any piece comes off entirely, please save it and bring it with you to the office so that we can tell what happened.
If something comes loose, it's not an emergency, but please call our office so that we can assess the situation and advise accordingly. Often, repairs can be taken care of at the next scheduled appointment, if it's not too far in the future.