So the day is here and it’s confirmed, you’re going to be getting braces. For many people, just the idea of living with braces brings moments of existential terror, especially if the patient is young. Social stigmas, harassment, and perhaps the loss of ability to eat some of their favorite foods can make this experience a harrowing one. Thankfully we have compiled the following guide for patients about to embark on their life with braces, and hopefully, this will assist in making the experience more enjoyable while they wait for their perfect smile to appear.
What Will I Experience After I Get My Braces?
On the day after your braces are installed, you’re likely to have some sensitivity in your mouth, especially soreness and tenderness. Thankfully this will pass relatively quickly, just 2-3 days bringing near if not complete relief. During this period you’ll have analgesics available to you from your physician to help mitigate any discomfort you experience. With the new equipment in your mouth, you may experience temporary but ongoing irritations in your mouth, especially on the lips, cheek, and tongue due to these areas interacting with the braces. Simply dissolve 1 teaspoon of salt in water and rinse your mouth with it to help ease them.
How Will My Dental Care Routine Change?
In many ways, your dental care routine will remain fundamentally unchanged, with variations in the technique being necessary only to accommodate the braces themselves. One thing that will change is the frequency with which you should brush. While brushing after every meal is often suggested, especially with those with sensitive enamel, with braces it’s considered best practice for the duration of your experience. If you brush thoroughly and well your braces will remain shiny and free of debris. You should also be sure to maintain a regular flossing routine. Thankfully there are floss threaders that will help you navigate around the wires from your braces.
What Can I Eat With Braces?
This is often one of the biggest concerns expressed by patients who will be getting braces. It’s often intimidating enough to know their appearance will undergo a fundamental change for the foreseeable future, the idea of not being able to eat what they love just adds to it.
Foods Safe To Eat With Braces
• Milk-Based Drinks, Eggs, Soft Cheeses, Pudding, Yogurts
• Pancakes, Nutless Muffins, Flour or other soft tortillas
• Soft cooked rice and pasta
• Lunch Meats, tender meats, meatballs, seafood
• Mashed and steamed vegetables, especially beans and potatoes
• Fruit juices, sauces, smoothies, and berries
• Nutless Ice cream, Jell-O, chocolates, soft cookies, brownies, but try to keep your sugar intake down!
Avoid These Foods
• Bagels, pizza crust, licorice, French bread, and other chewy foods.
• Thick pretzels, ice, hard candies, popcorn, other crunchy foods.
• Anything thick and sticky like gum, gummy bears, and caramels.
• Foods that must be bit into like corn on the cob, chicken wings, ribs, etc.
What If I’m An Athlete Or Play An Instrument?
Generally speaking, you won’t experience any difficulties playing sports if you have braces, though you will want to be sure to protect your teeth as completely as possible. If you experience an event that leads you to think your braces may be damaged, it’s time to see your dentist. For those who play instruments that utilize the mouth, especially wind instruments, there may be a period of adjustment. Using copious amounts of wax and warm salt-water rinses will help soothe initial irritations, and eventually, you’ll be able to return to playing as normal!