Best Tips for Dealing with Braces
Braces aren’t the most fun thing that will ever happen to you. There is definitely an adjustment period as you learn to talk and eat again and as your mouth gets used to having metal brackets and wires on your teeth. While some people describe the experience as painful, it is really more like soreness—your teeth and gums are sore because the teeth are being moved. Though the best option for many of our Philadelphia patients is braces; patients will often complain of prolonged soreness and discomfort after they first get their braces on or after an adjustment.
While the soreness does fade and you eventually get used to the sensation, before you get used to wearing braces and the soreness or discomfort that comes along with adjustments and even with getting your braces off, here are a few tips to help you deal with your braces and any discomfort or pain you might be feeling.
Follow your dietary guidelines.
When you first get your braces on, Dr. Gemmi or Dr. Middleberg will give you very specific instructions about what you should and should not eat. These are not just arbitrary rules—they are rules specifically designed to protect your braces and to protect your teeth, especially in the early days of your treatment, when your teeth are sore. Avoid any hard, crunchy foods, as they will only exacerbate the pain in your teeth by putting more pressure on them. For the first couple of days or weeks, until the soreness has subsided, stick to soft and/or liquid foods like pudding, yogurt, and soup.
Don’t eat gummy bears.
Yes, this falls under your dietary guidelines, but it is one of the rules that is most often broken. It is also one of the rules that is in place to protect you from plain. Thought gummy bears are not necessarily the stickiest food on the market, they can definitely do damage to your braces, specifically to spacers, rubber bands, and brackets. Because of their density and chewiness, a gummy bear can push a spacer out of alignment and up into your gums—this can be extremely painful for you. They can also snap off a bracket, push your wire out of place, and break your rubber bands. It’s better just to avoid them altogether.
Cut out the soda.
Again, this will be part of the dietary guidelines that your orthodontist has given you. However, we’d just like to emphasize it again. The metal that your braces is made out of is probably titanium or possibly stainless steel, both which are very good for your mouth. These are the same metals that are used to make dental implants, because they meshes well with your body’s natural biology. However, even the best metal in the world cannot protect your mouth from the damaging and very sticky sugars that soda contains. Sugary drinks are just plain bad for you, but they are especially bad for your teeth while wearing braces.
Ask about chewing gum.
Some orthodontists will say that chewing a stick of sugar-free gum is just fine, as long as you do not chew it so aggressively that it disturbs your braces. A piece of sugar-free gum can help to remove food particles from your braces and teeth and keep your mouth cleaner, as well as help to relieve pressure and soreness. You may have already discovered that biting down on something soft helps to relieve pain in your teeth and jaw. Before stocking up on gum, however, check with Dr. Middleberg or Dr. Gemmi to make sure chewing a few pieces of gum is okay.
Eat fruit slices.
While you should avoid apples, especially at the beginning of your treatment, as their hardness can pop a bracket and can make your teeth hurt, eating soft fruits like pears, oranges, and bananas can help relieve the pressure in your teeth and provides vital nutrients that help to keep your mouth (and body) healthy. Though oranges and bananas might seem a little tricky, as they are likely to leave pulp or strings on your brackets, simply cleaning your teeth after eating will remove any lingering traces of your favorite fruits.
Brush your teeth.
If this doesn’t sound like a tip, that’s because it’s not; it’s a requirement. However, brushing your teeth thoroughly is a great way to help relieve that pressure and soreness in your teeth and gums. Cleaning your teeth and gums with a soft-bristled tooth brush will prevent them from developing cavities, will help remove any remaining food debris, and is like a gentle massage for your mouth.
Don’t leave until your braces feel comfortable.
Don’t leave your adjustment until you’re sure your braces are comfortable. While Dr. Middleberg or Dr. Gemmi will always try to make sure your braces are as comfortable as possible after an adjustment, only you can tell them how your braces feel. If there is a bracket, wire, or something else poking your gums, make sure to mention it before you leave the office. This can prevent you from having to return for another appointment in a few days to have the wire adjusted again. If there a part of the braces that is irritating you that cannot be removed, we’ll give you some wax to prevent it rubbing or cutting into your gums.
Having braces doesn’t have to be painful or difficult. Following these tips and the instructions of your orthodontist is the best way to make sure you have a smooth and easy treatment.