As you may be aware, there are a number of dos and don’ts that come with having braces put on your teeth. This list is designed to make the next 18 to 24 months more comfortable and also to ensure that treatment is not prolonged due to poor choices. As always, consult your orthodontist with any questions or concerns that may arise in between appointments.
- Pay attention when the orthodontist shows you how to clean your teeth and braces. He or she should show you the proper way to maintain a healthy mouth while you have brackets, wires and rubber bands in there. Then, make sure you follow through and brush after each meal. You also need to floss at least once a day both between your teeth and around the brackets.
- Eat a healthy diet and watch the number of sugary soft drinks that you consume. Sugary sodas can leave spots on your teeth. Furthermore, chewy foods like licorice can dislodge the brackets, as can foods like corn on the cob that you have to bite into. Other foods to avoid include anything hard, crunchy, or sticky. Cold foods and ice should also be avoided. Be sure to ask for a list of foods that you cannot have while under the orthodontist’s treatment. This includes whether or not you can chew gum as different doctors will advise you differently.
- Use the wax and over the counter pain relievers as necessary. While it may not hurt right after the braces are attached to your teeth or right after the orthodontist tightens them, but in a day or two, your mouth may feel sore. If that happens, you can take an over the counter pain reliever and rub your braces with the wax so that it does not feel like they are poking you. This sensation will diminish once your mouth develops scar tissue. You can also try swishing around warm salt water to eliminate the discomfort.
- Your teeth are supposed to feel loose. That is ok. However, a loose wire, bracket, or band is not. Try to push it back into place, use some wax and call your orthodontist if this occurs.
- Keep every follow-up appointment. This way, you will not only be able to ask all of your questions, you may even knock some time off of how long you need to wear your braces. However, failure to be at all of your appointments may prolong your treatment time. In addition, you should also keep your six-month check-ups with your regular dentist. This will further ensure that your teeth and gums remain healthy.
- Once your braces are removed, be sure to wear your retainer as directed. This will ensure that your teeth do not shift and you will not need braces again in the future. You can also enquire about a permanent retainer so that you do not have to worry about forgetting to wear it, losing it or throwing it away accidentally. Also, remember to clean it as needed, as well.