Life in Braces: Tips and Tricks for a Smooth Orthodontic Journey

Your journey to straighter teeth and a more appealing smile is memorable. After all, you start the trip with a less-than-perfect smile and with braces end with beautifully straightened teeth.

As with any journey, though, there may be twists and turns. For example, you may need to change what you eat, and wires and brackets can break.

Fortunately, our dentist in Nocatee can provide dozens of tips and tricks for a smooth orthodontic journey. Here are just a few tips you can use for a straighter, more appealing smile with braces.

How to Make Your Journey to Straighter Teeth Easier and More Effective

Take over-the-counter pain relievers as needed after Braces Tightening

If it is your first day or two with braces, your mouth might be sore. Some soreness and discomfort are normal. You’ll be glad to know the tenderness will mostly disappear in a few days. Take acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil) as needed. Swishing with salt water (1/2 teaspoon salt stirred into a glass of warm water) can also help.

Eat soft foods when your teeth hurt

Treat yourself to your favorite soft foods like ice cream, frozen yogurt, or popsicles. Drink tea or sip warm soup.

Tame loose wires with orthodontic wax

Wires can come loose, and the end of a loose wire may poke your cheek. Ball up a small piece of orthodontic wax your dentist provides, and then squish it around the offending wire. It should prevent irritation until you can get to your dentist for repairs.

Don’t panic about loose brackets

While they may be uncomfortable, loose brackets are not usually an emergency. In most cases, the bracket remains attached to the wire, so you can simply cover it with wax until you can see your dentist. If the bracket has come off, please save it – our dentist may be able to reattach it.

Remove that plaque from Braces

Plaque is a severe dental issue, especially if you have braces. Dental plaque is a clear substance made up of leftover food particles and saliva, which sticks to the surface of your teeth. Plaque contains bacteria left in place on your teeth, which can contribute to gum disease and tooth decay. Brushing and flossing efficiently remove plaque, but braces make it harder to brush away plaque.

Brush 2 to 3 times each day using a soft toothbrush. Rotate the toothbrush head to clean underneath the brackets and wires. Use a floss threader to pass dental floss under the wire so you can floss as usual.

Discover some new favorite foods

While it is true that some of your favorite foods are off-limits while you wear braces, it can also be an excellent opportunity to experiment with some new foods. It is also a great time to indulge in some of your all-time favorites, such as soft-crust pizza, ice cream, mac and cheese, milkshakes, and fruit.

Eat carefully with Braces

  • Start small – cut your food into small pieces, which will minimize the need to bite and chew food
  • Chew gently, as aggressive chewing can distort a wire or dislodge a bracket
  • Go soft – focus on mashed potatoes, smoothies, and yogurt the first few days after getting your braces and for a few days after tightening
  • Avoid temperature extremes – especially hot or cold foods or beverages can heighten tooth sensitivity
  • Stay away from sticky food that can make cleaning your teeth challenging; if you have to chew gum, make sure it is sugar-free
  • Take a pass on the crunchy or crispy foods, such as raw carrots or crusty bread, which can damage brackets or wires; steam, bake, or otherwise cook food to make it softer

If you have braces, contact our dentist. We can provide tips and tricks to make your orthodontic journey smoother, more comfortable, and better results. We understand that wearing braces can be challenging, so we’ll go the extra mile to help you get the most out of your teeth straightening. Why?  Ponte Vedra Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics in Nocatee, FL, specializes in providing full-service dental care for your children!


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