Doing Your Part
To get the healthy and beautiful smile that you want, you, your family dentist, and Dr. Buttram will have to work together as a team.
As the patient, you play the key part. It's up to you to make sure that your treatment is successful. Most importantly, you must keep your teeth clean and maintain good dental hygiene while you're wearing braces.
Proper dental care will take a little extra time and effort but the results are well worth it. It will help you enjoy the best possible smile from your orthodontic treatment.
Keeping Your Teeth Clean
During your braces treatment, you will need to relearn the basics of brushing your teeth. Keep these tips in mind when brushing your teeth with braces:
- Use a fluoride toothpaste and a soft, rounded-bristle toothbrush that’s in good condition. Because braces wear out a toothbrush quickly, replace your brush as soon as it shows signs of wear.
- Brush around all the parts of your braces and every surface of your teeth — fronts, sides and backs. Be sure to brush your tongue and the roof of your mouth.
- Brush your gums gently and thoroughly.
- Rinse thoroughly after brushing.
- Inspect your teeth and braces carefully to make sure they are spotless. Look closely in a well-lit mirror. This is a good time to check for loose or broken brackets. If you find a problem, contact Buttram Orthodontics to see if it needs to be checked out and if we need to schedule a time to make a repair.
When you first get your braces, you may notice that your teeth and mouth feel a little tender or sore. This is perfectly normal and we promise your mouth won't be sore forever. To relieve the pain, we recommend dissolving one teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of lukewarm water.
Swish and gargle this solution in your mouth for just a couple of minutes (do not swallow the saltwater).
If your pain is severe and doesn't go away after rinsing, you can also try taking a pain reliever. It's normal for your lips, cheeks, and tongue to become irritated for one to two weeks as they toughen and become used to the braces.
We would be happy to give you some wax that you can put over the braces to lessen the tenderness. If you need some wax, please let us know.
Eating With Braces
During your treatment, you’ll need to avoid any foods that could damage your braces.
Foods to Avoid
- Chewy foods - bagels licorice
- Crunchy Foods - popcorn, chips, ice
- Sticky Foods - caramel candies, chewing gum
- Hard Foods - nuts, hard candies
- Foods you have to bite into - corn on the cob, apples, carrots.
Foods You Can Eat
- Dairy - soft cheese, pudding, milk-based drinks
- Bread - soft tortillas, pancakes, muffins without nuts
- Grains - pasta, soft cooked rice
- Meats/poultry - soft cooked chicken, meatballs, lunch meats
- Seafood - tuna, salmon, crab cakes
- Vegetables - mashed potatoes, steamed spinach, beans
- Fruits - applesauce, bananas, fruit juice
- Treats - ice cream without nuts, milkshakes, Jell-O, soft cake
There are also a few oral habits you’ll want to steer clear of in order to keep your braces functioning perfectly. Chewing on objects like pens and ice cubes, biting your nails, and smoking can all cause unwanted pressure on your braces.
Do your best to find another way to keep yourself busy while undergoing orthodontic treatment.
Misplaced Archwire, Bracket, or Tie
Once your teeth adjust to treatment, they begin to move. When this happens, the archwire that connects them may also move, poking out a bit near the back of the mouth and irritating your cheeks.
You can often move this wire into a better position by using the eraser end of the pencil or a cotton swab. You can manipulate any misplaces wires or ties back into place by gently using a pair of clean tweezers.
If some of the wires or brackets have shifted, and begun causing irritation to your mouth, you can use orthodontic wax to cover the parts that are poking out.
This will help ease the discomfort, but make sure you get in touch with our office as soon as you can, so we can fix the actual problem instead of you only masking the symptoms at home.
Caring for your orthodontic appliance
Damaged appliances can increase the length of your treatment process, so be sure to take care of all your appliances.
Your teeth and jaw can only move into their correct positions if you consistently wear the rubber bands, headgear, retainer, or other appliances prescribed by your doctor.
For example, Invisalign’s clear aligner system will only work if the aligners are worn the 20-22 hours per day as recommended. Being compliant is the only way to ensure your treatment is effective, and to help you achieve the smile you’ve always wanted to.
Tips for Athletes & Musicians
You can still play sports during your treatment, but remember to protect teeth with an orthodontic friendly mouth guard, or to remove your Invisalign aligner during practices or games.
If you have an accident during a practice or game, check your mouth and appliances immediately. If your teeth seem loose or your appliance appears to be damaged, schedule an appointment.
If you play an instrument, you may find it challenging to adjust to playing with braces. It’s normal to have some difficulty with proper lip position.
Sores can also develop, but liberal use of wax and warm salt water rinses will help your lips and cheeks toughen up more quickly than you’d think.