Braces can be life-changing by improving a patient's smile, but require more time and attention on the part of the patient. Diligent homecare and healthy food choices will ensure a healthy smile once treatment is complete. It is important to understand how to care for braces and teeth during orthodontic treatment. Adhering to certain guidelines with braces can help minimize treatment time and produce a healthy smile for years to come.
Patients with braces (orthodontic appliances) should avoid two main types of food during treatment: sticky and hard. Sticky foods have high retentive properties and thus adhere to the teeth and brackets. Some examples of sticky foods to be avoided during orthodontic treatment are gum, gummy candies and caramels.
Sticky foods should be avoided since they can cause bending or breakage of orthodontic appliances. Additionally the aforementioned retention of these sticky foods on the teeth can cause white spot lesions which are the beginning of tooth decay. Continued use of these sticky sweets can cause irreversible decay.
Hard or crunchy foods are also forbidden during orthodontic treatment. Some examples include nuts, ice, and hard pizza crust. Foods that have to be bitten into, such as apples or corn on the cob, need to be cut into bite-size pieces. Hard foods can cause breakage of brackets, bands and wires. Such breakage can cause a delays in treatment and subsequent excessive treatment time.
Patients need not worry as there are plenty of foods still to be enjoyed when with orthodontic appliances. Dairy products such as yogurt and ice cream are great options, and cheese has been proven to be beneficial in the prevention of decay. Fruits, cooked vegetables, grains, meats, and fish are all healthy options for the body and braces.
The best way to care for braces is to keep all scheduled appointments, stay away from foods that can break or stick to the brackets, and make sure to be consistent
with homecare. By following these steps, you will prevent damage to the brackets and keep healthy teeth. Following proper guidelines for orthodontic care will lead to a successful treatment outcome.
Just like before you had braces, you still need to brush and floss your teeth daily. Orthodontic appliances can make homecare more difficult and time-consuming, so here are some tips that can help maximize your time.
It is normal to feel some discomfort after braces are placed or following monthly adjustment visits. As teeth begin orthodontic movement, some tooth tenderness can occur. Soft foods and an over-the-counter pain reliever can relieve the symptoms. Some patients find it helpful to take an over-the-counter pain reliever prior to the adjustment appointment. The discomfort typically only lasts a few days and then subsides. If a wire or bracket is pinching or poking and causing discomfort a piece of dental wax on the area can help to decrease friction. If the discomfort is persistent, then call the office to schedule a check of the area.
During orthodontic treatment patients can experience a broken bracket or wire. If a bracket breaks it will typically slide around on the wire but remain tied to it. As long as the broken piece is not painful it can remain loose on the wire until an appointment can be made to fix it. Be sure to call the orthodontic office during office hours to schedule an appointment to repair the broken appliance. Wax can always be used to provide relief in the interim until the appointment.
Patient compliance is the best indicator of orthodontic treatment success. Keeping all scheduled orthodontic appointments, maintaining excellent homecare, keeping up with regular dental cleanings, and choosing a healthy diet will all lead to a great orthodontic treatment result and a beautiful smile.
Dr. Rothman’s office has a caring staff that builds rapport with their patients. We are committed to the highest standards of patient treatment, comfort and success to deliver a healthy mouths and beautiful smile. Patient satisfaction is our number one priority, and thus we work diligently to ensure that each and every visit to our office is a pleasant and happy one. We take pride in what we do and hope our patients feel it!