Life with Braces

First Days in Braces

The adhesive used for attaching the braces to your teeth cures rapidly initially, but takes 24-hours to completely cure. You can eat anytime after leaving our office. However, we ask that you be mindful of the suggested list of foods that may be harmful to the brace. Until you become accustomed to eating with your new braces, you may find it beneficial to follow a dies consisting of soft foods.

Will the braces cause discomfort? Initially the braces feel like they stick out. This is normal. As you become accustomed to your braces and tooth alignment improves, this sensation will disappear and will cease to be concern. Although the brackets have been rounded and smoothed, you may find it helpful to use a small piece of soft wax around any bracket that is creating irritation. You may notice some discomfort beginning a few hours after you brace are placed. Some teeth, usually the front teeth, may be tender and sensitive to pressure. Several patients report no discomfort, but some have soreness during the first eight hours that dissipates within the week. You may wish to take non-prescription pain remedies commonly taken for other discomforts such as headaches. For maximum effectiveness, it may be best to take such medication before any discomfort begins.

Before leaving the office: We ask you to complete a few routine steps before leaving the office that will minimize irritation from the braces and ensure an optimal response to treatment. Please make these steps a part of each office visit:

Using your finger and tongue, check to see that the wire ends do not extend into areas which might poke or scratch your cheek or tongue.
Make sure you understand what you are to do until your next appointment, such as wearing elastics, adjusting an expander, or following specific hygiene or diet instructions. Make sure you have an adequate supply of dental wax, special cleaning aids, elastic band, or related materials you may need between appointments. Always schedule your next appointment before leaving the office. Waiting 1-2 weeks after an appointment before scheduling the next office visit complicates the scheduling process, since appointments are programmed many weeks in advance. Postponing appointments is a common contributor to overtime treatments.

girl having xrays

Diet with Braces

apple

Please do not eat hard foods, including nuts, ice, crisp taco shells, whole apples and carrots (cut them into pieces first), hard French bread crust and rolls, spare ribs, corn on the cob (cut the corn off the cob before eating) and popcorn! These foods can cause breakage of the brackets and wires. Also beware of nail-biting and pen- or pencil-chewing habits, since these can damage your braces. Do not eat sticky foods like taffy, caramels, bubble gums or sticky candy of any sort. Use common sense about most foods.

Excessive broken appliances due to careless eating habits will increase treatment time, and may result in additional charges for repair.

Emergencies

Typical emergencies and how to solve them:

  • Loose or Poking Archwires:

    If a wire causes irritation, push the wire away from the area using the eraser end of a pencil or a Q-tip. If the wire cannot be tucked away, cover the end of the wire with a small piece of wax or cotton ball until you can see us for an appointment. If the main wire has come out of the tube on the back tooth, attempt to reinsert the wire with a pair of needle-nose pliers or tweezers. If the wire is not sticking you, place a piece of wax over the area. As a last resort, if you cannot some into your office, the wire can be cut with a small wire cutter close to the back of the last bracket.

  • Loose Bracket or Bands:

    If a bracket becomes loose, it usually remains connected to the main wire by a little colored rubber ring or a small steel ligature tie. Tweezers can be used to reposition the brace if it flips around the wire and becomes a source of irritation. Call our office and inform us of the problem. If a piece of your braces breaks, save the piece and call our office to schedule a repair visit.

  • Lost Separators:

    If a rubber spacer or separator falls out, call our office so we can arrange to replace it. If it happens a day before your appointment to put on braces or bands, you do not need to do anything.

  • If You Swallow Something:

    Remain calm if you swallow a piece of your appliance. It will usually go into the stomach and pass out of the body normally. However, if you experience difficulty breathing, you should seek immediate medical attention. X-rays will be taken to determine the location of the swallowed piece.

  • Sore Teeth or Sore Gums:

    Take ibuprofen (Motrin/Advil) or acetaminophen (Tylenol) if your teeth are sore after your appointment. PLEASE CONDUCT YOUR PHYSICIAL BEFORE TAKINGA ANY MEDICATIONS, PARTICULARY IF YOU HAVE AND HISTORY OF ALLERGIC REACTIONS.

    If food becomes stuck between your teeth, use dental floss or a proxy brush to dislodge the food. If you cut your gums, tongue or the inside of your cheek, apply finger pressure to the bleeding site for several minutes. If the bleeding doesn’t stop, call your family dentist or our office.

    Minor irritation and canker sores will heal much more quickly if you apply Zylactin or Orabse according to the manufacturer’s directions. You can purchase these products over the counter at most pharmacies and convenience stores.

Different types of emergencies will require different types and lengths of appointments to correct. The solution may also be different depending on what stage of treatment the patient is in and when the next appointment is. Patents should call the office and explain the nature of the emergency so we can accommodate their needs appropriately.

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