What Are the Best Tips You Can Give Someone Who Just Started Braces?

First off, congratulations on getting your new braces! We’re always happy to share our wisdom with new patients to help make the process of having braces as easy as possible. Here are some of our top Dos and Don’ts when it comes to having braces:

Do

  • Enjoy healthy foods that are good for your body and good for your braces.
  • Cut up apples and carrots and other hard veggies into bite-size pieces.
  • Chew gum. Yes, you read that right. You CAN chew gum as long as it’s sugar-free. Even better if the first ingredient is xylitol as it will help prevent cavities while you chew.  
  • Enjoy sweets, in moderation of course, as long as they are soft like ice cream, frozen yogurt, cake, cookies, and even chocolate.
  • Wear a mouthguard if you play contact sports. We have them in the office for you so just ask. And tell us what you play – we may show up at a game sometime!
  • Call us right away if something feels loose or broken. If we are unaware of the problem ahead of time, it may not always be possible to fix it at your regular appt.   
  • Brush and floss. Brush and floss. Brush and floss. Brush and floss. Brush and floss…You get the picture.
  • Make sure you see your general dentist at least every 6 months for an exam and cleaning. Don’t be a stranger. He will miss you and your teeth!
  • Keep your appointments, arrive on time, and wear your rubberbands! This truly will help make your treatment shorter.
  • Enjoy the process and remember, it won’t last forever!

Don’t

  • Eat ice – the ultimate destroyer of braces
  • Chew on foreign objects such as pens, pencils, and fingernails
  • Eat hard candies such as Jolly Ranchers, hard peppermints, Blow Pops, etc.
  • Eat sticky, chewy candies such as Starburst, Now-N-Laters, etc.
  • Eat tough bread such as thick pizza crusts and bagels.
  • Eat hard, crunchy snacks such as chips and nuts
  • Eat popcorn. That’s a tough one, I know, but the hulls can get stuck under your braces and can cause gum irritation.
  • Drink sugary and carbonated drinks. The sugar and acidity can stain your teeth and cause cavities.
  • Hesitate to talk to Dr. Mullally or Dr. Olsen if you have any questions, concerns, or even frustrations.  They both wore braces and understand everything you are going through! Ask Dr. Mullally about the time she lost her retainer at camp and they held it up in front of the whole dance to ask whose it was. OMG!

How Do I Know If I Need Braces?

If you think you may need braces, it’s a good idea to schedule a consultation with Dr. Mullally or Dr. Olsen. We’ll evaluate your teeth and bite and give you a full, custom treatment plan for your specific case. Outside of aesthetic misalignments, some common problems that typically require braces to correct are:

  • The top front teeth protrude
  • The top front teeth fit behind the bottom front teeth
  • Space exists between the top and bottom front teeth with the back teeth biting together
  • Crowded, overlapping, or misplaced teeth
  • The centers of the top and bottom front teeth don’t line up
  • Difficulty chewing or biting with teeth that don’t meet evenly on both sides

Do Braces Hurt?

Thankfully, braces are not necessarily a painful process! However, it’s not uncommon to experience some tenderness and soreness from your braces, especially when you first get them on and after some of the routine adjustments. This discomfort does go away after a couple of days once your teeth adjust to the new pressure. To relieve any soreness, it’s best to stick to softer foods and take over-the-counter pain medications as needed.

At the beginning of treatment, you may also have some minor irritation from the brackets rubbing the inside of your mouth. Until your mouth adjusts and becomes used to the surface of the brackets, use the orthodontic wax we give you at your appointments to prevent this.