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Life with Braces

When you get braces on your teeth for your orthodontic treatment, your life won’t change — much. But some things will indeed be different. You may have to make small sacrifices and change your habits or behavior in minor ways.

Here’s an overview of what life with braces is like. Most of the following applies to people wearing traditional braces (braces with brackets and wires) and not to Invisalign patients, but Invisalign requires some getting used to, too.

Occasional Soreness and Irritation

Your mouth may feel a little sore when you first get braces and after the times you get your braces tightened or adjusted. This soreness is normal and typically goes away after a few days. If you find the soreness hard to take, you can use a pain reliever. Follow the dosage instructions on the bottle. Applying an ice pack or even drinking a glass of ice water can help relieve symptoms.

After your braces are first put on, you may also find that the brackets and wires are irritating the insides of your mouth. Your mouth will eventually adjust to having these foreign objects around, and this problem should go away. In the meantime, use dental wax to provide a buffer between your braces and your cheeks and the insides of your lips. We can supply you with some wax here at the office.

One thing that’s not normal is if a bracket pops off or a wire comes loose. Use your dental wax to temper any poking parts and call our office immediately so we can get you in for an appointment and fix you up.

An Adjusted Diet

When you have braces, there are two sorts of foods you should avoid eating: crunchy foods and sticky foods.

The problem with crunchy foods like apples and pretzels is they can loosen your brackets or even make them pop off. For the same reason, you also need to be careful working your jaws too strenuously with dense, chewy foods such as hard rolls and bagels. If you do find yourself unable to resist eating something crunchy or chewy, cut the food into small bites first. You may also find ways to soften things up. Boil or steam carrots. Cut corn kernels off the cob.

And the issue with sticky foods like caramel or gummy bears, is they can get stuck in your braces. The residue is difficult to remove with normal oral care, and you won’t want the stickiness wedged in your braces indefinitely. This can cause big problems with tooth decay later on!

Allow for more time to clean teeth

Taking care of your teeth with braces is undeniably a little more involved than when you don’t have braces. Your oral health care routines will become a little longer and require a few more steps. Check out our page on brushing and flossing with braces to learn some tips.

Protect your mouth when playing sports

If you’re the athletic type, you need to be careful to avoid receiving an impact to the mouth. This is always true, but it’s especially true for people with braces. A hard hit in a football or basketball game can damage your appliances, harm your teeth, and cut up the insides of your mouth. Even something seemingly safe like a tennis ball will do harm to your braces and your mouth if it comes at you with decent force.

That’s why we recommend that you wear a mouth guard during any sort of activity where there’s a risk of a receiving a hard impact. Feel free to ask us for specific recommendations.

Embrace your braces

Sometimes patients with braces get self-conscious about their orthodontics. Try not to be. You don’t need to smile with closed lips. You don’t need to cover your mouth when you laugh. Your braces are part of who are during this particular time in your life. You’re on your way to a beautiful and healthy smile, and that’s something to be proud of.

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