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Living with braces

What Happens Now?

Okay, so now you have braces. What happens next? Here’s a handy guide of what to expect, how to take care of your braces and how to make life with braces easy and fun.

Eating with Braces
Eating with braces is just about the same as eating without. You should take care to eat the right foods at the right times. When you first get braces, try eating soft foods for about the first week, until you’ve gotten used to having them in your mouth. Avoid tough meats, hard breads, and hard raw vegetables. Definitely be careful about any foods you may have to gnash at, especially bagels. After the first week or two, you'll be able to bite into just about anything again without any discomfort, but you can protect your orthodontic appliances with these general guidelines:

Chewy foods:
bagels, hard rolls, licorice - anything you have to pull at while biting
Crunchy foods: hard nuts, hard candies, ice, thick chips
Sticky foods: caramels, gum - NO gum
Foods you have to bite hard into: corn on the cob, apples, carrots
Nail biting can also damage or loosen braces. This may cause treatment to take longer.

Moving or Loosening Teeth
Remember, braces are designed to move your teeth around and put them in their proper place. This may mean that your teeth feel like they’re “loosening” in your mouth. Don’t worry - this is supposed to happen! Once they have moved, your teeth and jaw bones will start to feel normal again as they strengthen in place.

Wear Your Gear!
Braces can only work properly if you follow Dr. Martin’s advice and guidelines. If you have a retainer or expander or rubber bands as part of your braces, make sure to keep them in at all times as instructed. The more closely you follow these guidelines, the sooner you’ll get the braces off and be able to show off your new smile!

Sports & Injuries
If you play contact sports like football or hockey, be sure to tell Dr. Martin during your consultation. He may be able to fashion a mouthguard to put over your braces. In the event of any injury to the face or mouth, check to ensure that none of your orthodontic equipment has been damaged or come loose. Loose or broken wires and brackets can become sharp and really hurt the inside of the mouth. Make sure to contact Dr. Martin immediately to address any injuries to the mouth.

Loose Wires or Bands
If a wire or band comes loose in your mouth, don’t be alarmed. It can happen occasionally, since your teeth are moving around.

What to do in the event of loose wires or bands:

  • If an archwire becomes loose, or breaks or starts to push out into your mouth, use an eraser on the end of a pencil to push it back into place so you’re comfortable.
  • If an archwire breaks or is pointing out, you can simply clip the end of it with a nail clipper. This may happen as your teeth begin to shift.
  • If the bracket comes off your tooth, but is still attached to the wire, cover it with wax to avoid discomfort. If it comes off completely, make sure to save it and bring it in with you for your next appointment.

If any of these prolems occur, call Dr. Martin right away to have it fixed. If any piece of braces or orthodontic equipment comes out in your mouth, be sure to save it and bring it with you into the office.