You just got braces. You may not be thrilled about it, but you know the new braces will benefit you in the long run.
If this new season of life represents your first time with braces, we want to provide you with a few tips for surviving this stage. If you are on your second phase of braces, we are here to remind you.
How can you survive braces? By following the Sawgrass Survival Guide to Wearing Braces.
Show Your Personality
If you are going to wear braces, have some fun with it.
Depending on your phase, you could be in braces from 6-15 months (Phase One) or from 12-30 months (Phase Two). Either way, don’t be shy about your braces. Own them!
The bands of your braces are easily changeable. Each time you visit our office, one of our orthodontists can replace the color of your bands. Use that opportunity to proudly display your school pride, your favorite team, or an upcoming holiday. Make a statement with your color choice.
Remember that approximately 75 percent of children wear braces at some point before they turn age 18. What’s that mean for you? You are not the only one with braces. In fact, most of your friends will wear braces during their childhood.
Don’t be ashamed of or embarrassed by your braces. Instead, be bold, be confident, and wear them with pride. You wear them now so you have straight teeth for years to come.
Avoid Hard, Chewy, Sticky Foods
Yes, you have to avoid select foods when you wear braces. If you try to eat these foods anyway, you will visit our orthodontic office more than you expect.
Why? Food particles get stuck. Braces become loose. Wires pop. None of that seems too fun, does it?
To avoid all that, you should stay far away from these foods:
They may be yummy, but you won’t look too good with gummies stuck between your wires or inside your brackets.
Hard, sticky, AND chewy. Just say no.
When you have braces, you don’t need to rip food with your teeth. With tough bread, that’s exactly what you have to do. As a result, you could pop a wire or a bracket.
It’s the same idea as tough bread. When you rip your food, you mess up your braces.
CORN ON THE COB
This can be messy and get all in your teeth without braces. Can you imagine how messy it would become with braces? In addition to particles getting stuck in, around, and between brackets, you may loosen brackets or wires with the big bites.
For the same reasoning as corn on the cob, you just don’t need to bite into food with braces. There are too many risks.
These aren’t good options to eat with braces because they are often too tough. Again, think how many times you have to bite into a harder chip. That can affect your alignment.
Yes. We said it. It’s so good, but it’s so bad with braces. The kernels and the food remnants find places to live in your braces. You shouldn’t want food camping out in your braces.
Of course, there are other foods that you probably shouldn’t eat. We can’t list them all. However, if they fall into one of the three categories – hard, sticky, or chewy – don’t eat them.
Protect Your Teeth and Your Braces
Many children play sports. As children, we loved getting on the field or on the court and giving our best efforts. As parents, we love seeing our kids do the same.
As orthodontists, though, we see many kids sprint to the field or court with braces, but no mouthguard. We cannot stress enough the dangers of that.
You could get knocked. You could get shoved. You could meet the hardwood. You could get a ball to the face. If you don’t have a mouthguard in, you could be in trouble.
Some of the bigger orthodontic emergencies we have seen involve patients playing sports without wearing a mouthguard. Possible emergencies include the following:
- Popped wire
- Cut lip
- Stuck lip (in braces)
- Bleeding mouth
- Bleeding gums
- Bruised cheek
- Loose teeth
All of these emergencies bring some amount of pain and orthodontic attention. We love when you visit, but we don’t like to see you under these circumstances.
Often, these injuries are preventable with one simple solution – wearing a mouthguard. Save yourself from pain and your parents from stress by popping in your mouthguard before leaving the huddle.
Commit to Brushing and Flossing
You need to brush and floss. Without braces, they are important. With braces, they are crucial.
Before you start brushing, clear your mouth of any removable appliances. Whether that be rubber bands or something else, take those out. Otherwise, you are likely to pop them or not brush all of your teeth.
After you remove any loose appliances, brush your braces and your wires. You don’t want food living between your teeth, and you shouldn’t want food living on your brackets or wires either. They can quickly collect food particles, so make sure you brush each wire and bracket for 5 to 10 seconds.
Then, brush your teeth as you normally would. The standard brush time is 2 minutes, but you may need to stretch that out with braces. We suggest brushing closer to 3 minutes.
Once you get braces, the Sawgrass orthodontists will explain how to floss with braces. We know it can be tricky, but we have tips. Many of our patients enjoy using Super Floss. With a stiffened end that allows you to get under appliances, Super Floss gets the left-behind particles and plaque.
Make sure you brush and floss with braces. Otherwise, your treatment will not be as effective.
Let the Orthodontists Make Adjustments
As much as we understand that you want to take things into your own control, adjusting your own braces is not a good idea. Our team at Sawgrass Orthodontics is dedicated to giving you the best experience possible. If you try to adjust your own braces, you could jeopardize that.
“But, it’s just one wire out of place.”
“Oh, just one rubber band popped out of its bracket. I’ll fix it.”
We get it. However, leave that work to the experts. By trying to solve the issue yourself, you may loosen a wire, pop a bracket, or even cut your mouth. That doesn’t need to happen.
By simply calling your orthodontist, you can get a quick fix in no time. Our team is ready to help. Let us know when you need it.
Hang in There
We know that braces are uncomfortable at first. They feel weird, your mouth hurts, and you may be annoyed.
Trust us, that eases away. You become accustomed to wearing them, brushing with them, and flossing around them.
At times, the pain may become more pronounced like after your orthodontist tightens your braces. Simply take a pain reliever and gargle some salt water to minimize the pain and keep moving forward.
Our patients are thrilled to see a beautiful, aligned, braces-free smile at the end of their treatment. Take care of your mouth with braces now, and you can have that same feeling soon.
- Dr. LangfordBack to Blog