Life with Braces: Caring for Your Smile During Orthodontic Treatment

It’s true: When you have braces, you have to take extra care of your smile. Orthodontic treatment involves strategically and gradually shifting your teeth into a more desirable place using a dental appliance so that they appear straighter at the end of treatment. While orthodontic treatment only physically affects your teeth, they have to remain healthy throughout the duration of treatment in order for you to see optimal results. In addition, how you care for your teeth will determine how effectively your orthodontic treatment will work for you. Here’s how you can take care of your smile and braces during your orthodontic treatment!

Nutrition

If you have any form of braces (i.e. traditional metal braces, ceramic/clear braces, self-ligating braces), it’s important to monitor the types of food you eat. While some patients may dislike being on food-restricted diets, it’s necessary because you don’t want to encounter problems with your braces (or with cavities) due to certain foods getting stuck. Here are some foods you should avoid:

  • Chewy/sticky foods – (i.e. hard bagels, chewy candies)
  • Crunchy/hard foods – (i.e. nuts, popcorn, chips)
  • Foods that require more effort with biting (i.e. apples, carrots)

However, if you are receiving orthodontic treatment in the form of clear aligners (i.e. Invisalign), then you usually will not receive such food restrictions to your diet. However, we do recommend that you follow this same regimen to keep your teeth healthy and free of cavities during the course of treatment!

Managing Discomfort

With standard braces, you may experience a little bit of discomfort in your mouth, teeth, or gums at the start of treatment, or anytime you need to return to the dentist for adjustments. It’s important to remember that this discomfort is only temporary, and will easily go away with the right treatment at home. For one, you can try dissolving a teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water to swish and gargle for a few minutes. If the pain you’re experiencing is a little more severe and doesn’t go away with this treatment, you can also try taking a pain medication to relieve the discomfort. If you have irritation in the lips, cheeks or tongue due to the braces, the dentist will usually provide you with a special wax to apply over the braces to reduce it.

If you ever have any questions about managing your dental care and smile during your orthodontic treatment, we welcome you to call our office! We’d be happy to help address any of your questions or orthodontic needs!