Top Tips to Help You Enjoy Your Braces
If you have just had braces placed, then congratulations! Here at Ballard Orthodontics in Sandpoint and Bonner's Ferry, Idaho, we understand that many teenagers and adults are a little apprehensive when they first begin orthodontic treatment, but we’d like to remind you about the positives of having braces. When you decide to have orthodontic treatment, you’re doing something that can potentially improve your dental health, and which of course will improve the appearance of your teeth. We always encourage our patients to enjoy this process as much as possible because after all, it’s exciting to see your teeth gradually become straighter and more attractive. To help you, we’ve listed a few of our favorite tips and tricks to guide you through treatment and of course, Dr. Rick Ballard and everyone at Ballard Orthodontics is always here to answer any questions you might have.
Embrace the Look of Your Braces
Often, it’s better just to embrace the look of your new braces. If you are still in school, then it’s likely you’re not alone in having orthodontic treatment. One of the nice things about having traditional metal braces is that you can customize them with colored rubber bands. Choose the school colors or use your favorite color rubber bands to show your individuality. These days people of all ages wear braces so there’s nothing to be embarrassed about. However, if you do want to draw attention away from your mouth then one way to do it is to get a brand-new hairstyle, interesting glasses, jewelry or make-up. Even if your braces seem obvious to you, it’s unlikely that anyone else is paying that much attention and after all, it’s only for a short while and it’s for a great cause. If wearing braces starts to become annoying at some point then just focus on the result, which is that with great home care you should have a great smile for life.
Adjusting to the Feel of Your Braces
It’s perfectly normal to experience some tenderness and soreness when your braces are first placed but this discomfort should subside within two or three days. During this time, you might notice your cheeks and lips becoming slightly irritated because they need a little time to get accustomed to the braces. You can also use some dental wax to help create a barrier, placing it over the metal areas that are hurting your cheeks or lips. One tip that can be helpful is to use a warm salt water rinse. Simply dissolve a teaspoon of salt in a glass of lukewarm water and swish it around your mouth. It might be an old-fashioned remedy, but it does work.
After your braces have been placed, we can give you some advice on using over-the-counter pain medications to reduce some of the discomfort and if you follow our recommendations, your teeth will still be sore, but it won’t be as bad as it otherwise could have been. Another trick is to use cold foods such as frozen yogurt, sorbet or popsicles, but please avoid crunching down on ice, it tends to break braces off. If any significant discomfort persists or gets worse, then please contact us and we will do as much as we can to help your teeth feel a little better.
Choosing Foods that are Enjoyable to Eat with Braces
It is true that you will need to watch what you eat while having braces, but this doesn’t mean you will have to eat boring and bland foods. Look at this as an opportunity to experiment with new foods and recipes and you are bound to find something that will become a lifelong favorite. You will still be able to enjoy lots of dairy foods, especially yogurt, soft cheeses and milkshakes and other milk-based drinks. Don’t forget your veggies, but just steam them until they are a little softer than perhaps you normally have. Bananas, smoothies and all sorts of berries can all be enjoyed as well. And, if you want a treat, ice cream is perfectly okay provided you have it without any crunchy toppings, but please don’t have it too frequently because it is very high in sugar . . . which causes cavities. You just need to be sensible about avoiding overly chewy, crunchy or sticky foods, as well as foods that are hard or where you need to bite into them, for example, corn on the cob, carrots, and apples. With these foods you want to cut them up and chew them with your back teeth.
Pack a Travel Dental Kit for When You’re Away from Home
While in orthodontic treatment, it’s inevitable that you will need to spend more time cleaning your teeth. It’s just a fact of life that food is more likely to get stuck in between your teeth and the brackets and wires. Having food stuck in between your teeth can be embarrassing and obviously, it’s bad for your dental health. Ensuring you have a small travel dental kit with you will allow you to look after your teeth wherever you are, without restricting your mealtimes. Pack a travel toothbrush and toothpaste, some dental floss and a small mirror. It’s also useful to have some dental picks and some soft orthodontic wax for any emergencies. Keep a bottle of water with you to rinse your mouth after eating, if brushing and flossing isn’t an option.
Love Playing Sports? Don’t Let Your Braces Stop You
You will still be able to play all your favorite sports during treatment, but you will probably need a new mouthguard that is designed to fit over your braces. If you do take a blow to the mouth, then check your braces immediately just in case it has damaged any brackets or wires. If anything appears to have become loose or if you have damaged your teeth, call us or make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible.
Play a Musical Instrument? You’ll Still Be Able to during Treatment
If you play a musical instrument, then give yourself some time to become accustomed to playing it with braces. It’s perfectly normal to experience some difficulty in finding the correct position and you may initially develop some sore spots. Use your warm salt water mouth rinse to help toughen and heal your cheeks and lips. In no time at all, you should find it perfectly easy to play just as well as you did before.
Initially, when you first start to wear braces it can seem like a lot to take in but looking after your braces will soon become second nature. By following a few simple strategies, you can breeze through orthodontic treatment and once Dr. Ballard removes your braces, you will be ready to greet the world with your brand-new smile.