Congratulations on your decision to get braces! This treatment will improve your appearance and your oral health—but only after Living with Braces, wires or even plastic retainers for an average of two years. In that time, you’ll have to brush carefully, give up some foods and endure a bit of discomfort.
But, don’t worry. We know how to help you or your child live more comfortably during your orthodontic treatment. Read on, and you’ll be ready to keep smiling throughout your time Living with Braces.
Tips for Those with Traditional Braces
If you are correcting crooked teeth or a misaligned bite with metal brackets and wires, follow these suggestions.
1. Keep an essentials kit with you.
- Living with Braces, you will have two main concerns throughout your day: keeping food particles out of your teeth and preventing any pain. For these reasons, carry a small pack with these supplies:
- Travel-size toothbrush (if you can, get one with V-cut bristles to clean around your brackets)
- Travel-size toothpaste
- Plastic dental flossers
- Light painkillers, such as Tylenol
- Dental wax to cover a broken wire or prevent irritation from brackets
- Pain relieving rinse to create a protective barrier in your mouth
- Bite wafers to relieve pain
The longer you have your braces, the more you’ll get used to them and come up with your own means to make them comfortable for yourself. Feel free to add whatever products or devices you find work for you to your essentials kits as you get more accustomed to your braces.
And if you aren’t sure whether something’s good for you even if it feels good, check with your dentist. They’ll gladly let you know what is or isn’t going to cause problems with your braces.
2. Try a water flosser instead of string floss.
You should still floss when you have braces, but obviously this activity becomes more difficult. Plan on spending more time on your routine oral hygiene when you’ve got braces. You will need to thread waxed floss, since it’s less likely to get caught or tear, under your wire.
But you can bypass this complicated process with a water flosser. This device emits a stream of water, and that water pressure will remove plaque and any food debris. You will no longer be at risk of breaking a wire or getting your string floss stuck. For a less expensive but still practical option, you could also try an electric power flosser.
3. Don’t give up all your favorite foods.
Your orthodontist will tell you which foods are not safe to eat with braces, and that long list may seem daunting. Who wants to wait for two years to chew a piece of gum? Although you should follow your orthodontist’s instructions, you can find alternatives or different ways of preparing your favorite foods.
Soften your vegetables by steam cooking them. Prepare your meal in a slow cooker. Cut apples into smaller pieces, and cut corn off the cob. Throw tough fruits and vegetables into a blender for a smoothie.
You can replace most restricted items with an easy alternative:
- Gum: You can still maintain fresh breath with a mint or a swig of mouthwash in the morning.
- Popcorn: The kernels and hulls from typical popcorn can damage your braces. However, rice cakes, puffed chips, and puffed corn snacks can give you the same texture and taste of popcorn without the risk.
- Nuts: We all know peanut paste, but any nut can be blended down into a smooth paste. Either substitute nuts with smooth peanut paste, or learn to make your own nut pastes at home. They’re quick and easy.
- Caramel and other chewy, sticky candies: Look for a similar treat with a different texture. For example, you could pour caramel syrup over your ice cream.
Tips for Invisalign® Users
Invisalign NW Calgary® offers many benefits over traditional braces. The invisible trays fit over your teeth, and you can remove them to brush, floss, and eat all the sticky foods you want. However, these aligners still present a few challenges, like the pain that comes with shifting teeth.
Whatever reason you opted for invisible braces, you can use these tips to ease the experience.
4. Change to new aligners before you go to bed.
Your biggest challenge with Invisalign® will be that time, about every two weeks, when you need to change to a new set of aligners. The new aligners will put you one step closer to a straight smile, but they will cause some discomfort.
Since you should wear your aligners 20 to 22 hours per day, change your aligners before bed and wear the new set while you sleep. This tactic will give your teeth some time to adjust when you aren’t awake to feel the pain.
5. Avoid hot water and toothpaste with your cleaning routine.
You now have double the work during your daily routine: you need to brush your pearly whites and clean out your Invisalign® trays before you put them back in your mouth.
Use your toothbrush to scrub your aligners, and rinse them out with lukewarm water. Don’t use toothpaste, since many brands contain coarse ingredients that could scratch your trays. And don’t use hot water to rinse, since your plastic aligners could melt or warp.
If you want to clean your aligners more thoroughly, try one of the following:
- Option 1: Purchase a cleaning product designed for retainers or mouth guards. Some products come with a sonic cleaner that removes even more buildup.
- Option 2: Create a paste with equal parts distilled water and baking soda. Scrub your retainer with the paste, and then rinse.
- Option 3: Put your aligners in a mixture of warm water and either white distilled vinegar or hydrogen peroxide. Soak for approximately 30 minutes.
Try out these ideas to make your time Living with Braces easier. When all else fails, remember your end goal. A straight and shiny smile is in your future, and any bumps along the way will be worth it!