Tips For Handling Your First Week in Braces
Braces are a fantastic piece of orthodontic engineering and can provide you with the smile you always dreamed of. Metal braces, or “train track” braces are traditional braces that consist of small metal brackets which are fitted to the front of your teeth, with a wire running through them, kept in place by a small band which is either elastic or metal.
Other fitted braces include lingual braces and ceramic braces among others and although all are designed dependent on the wearer’s compatibility, all provide different levels of effectiveness and speed of treatment.
If you have just had, or are in the process of having braces fitted, here is a quick guide on what to expect during your first week of wearing them and how to get the best out of your treatment.
Be Prepared to Brush, Brush, Brush.
Adapting your brushing routine is possibly the most important part of having braces, ensuring you brush your teeth twice a day and after meals and snacks. When we consume food, it’s easy for particles to get stuck between the wires and brackets and if left can lead to a build-up of plaque, which is very bad for our teeth.
If plaque is left to build up it can lead to further complications such as tooth decay and gum disease. Also, when it comes to having your braces removed, you may notice a colour difference from where your brace was fitted.
Top Tips for Brilliant Brushing.
You will be given a handful of brushing tools by your orthodontist, and it is important to use all of these, alongside everyday oral hygiene products:
- Ensure you use a soft, orthodontic head toothbrush with fluoride toothpaste, making gentle, circular motions whilst brushing at different angles and covering all surfaces like the gumline, behind the teeth, as well top, middle, and bottom edges of your brackets. You will need to replace your toothbrush more frequently due to the brackets and wires.
- Use superfloss to enable you to get underneath the wires and between your teeth. Superfloss has a stiffened end which allows you to do this, using a water or air flosser is also another good idea if getting floss between your brackets is too difficult.
- Interdental or proxy brushes for brushing in and around your brackets. These brushes have small triangular heads, and their bristles are specially designed to reach difficult places.
Prepare for a Change in Your Diet
It is safe to eat straight after your braces are fitted, it may feel a little strange but there is nothing stopping you from getting a healthy snack. It is, however, highly advisable to eat soft foods for the first few days while your teeth adjust. Foods like pasta, bread, soft-boiled vegetables, soup, and yoghurt will make the adjustment period for your mouth smoother.
After a couple of days, the discomfort will start to fade, and you can gradually start eating more solid foods. Foods like potatoes, cheese, sandwiches, ice cream and jelly are all friends to your braces. Hard sticky sweets like toffee, nuts, popcorn, chewing gum, pizza crusts and chewy sweets should be avoided as they can either break your brackets or wires or get stuck in and around them.
Limiting your intake of sugary and fizzy drinks is also advised as these can contain high quantities of acids. The sugar and acids can stick to the edge of your braces and cause discolouration once removed. If you do find yourself indulging, ensure you brush your teeth as soon as you can afterwards.
Relief for Discomfort and Irritation.
Having braces does not hurt but it is a big thing for your teeth to get used to so it can cause some irritation and discomfort. Ensuring you have painkillers on hand on the day of the fitting is helpful and when you go to have any adjustments made.
It is also possible to become irritated by the braces rubbing against your lips or cheeks, something which also fades over time, but if this is particularly bad after fitting, then you can rub a little orthodontic wax onto the inflicting bracket to relieve pain, also gurgling on warm salt water for 30 seconds a couple of times a day can relieve pain and help sores to heal faster.
Understanding if Something is Wrong
Braces are worn for a good length of time and things may break from time to time.
Understanding what to do if something goes wrong is important:
- Bracket becomes loose – it is possible when eating hard, sticky, or chewy foods that the bracket attached to the front of your tooth by a composite resin can become loose or break. If this happens, contact your orthodontist as soon as possible to get it fixed back onto your tooth and reduce the risk of further damage to other brackets.
- Protruding wire – this is a very common problem with metal braces. Sometimes the wire that runs through the brackets can stick out at the end if not trimmed to the right length and this causes irritation to your cheek. Rubbing some of the orthodontic wax mentioned earlier can help as well as contacting your orthodontist to see when they can sort out the problem for you.
Leaving the Orthodontist Chair: Are You Prepared?
You have your braces in place, the first thing you should ensure is that you understand your next steps and what you must do before your next appointment. This could be using elastics, following specific brushing recommendations, wearing headgear etc. You should also check you have all the supplies you need such as dental wax, cleaning aids, elastic bands and any other tools given to you by your orthodontist. Lastly, double-check your wire ends by using your finger or your tongue to make sure none of the wires are protruding into your cheeks or tongue. It is common for this to happen but if you can check before you leave the chair, then you save yourself an extra journey.
Northenden House Orthodontics: Orthodontist in Manchester
At Northenden House Orthodontics in Manchester, we pride ourselves on providing quality, private orthodontic care to patients in Manchester and surrounding areas. We recognise that every patient has different needs, whether you’re an adult, adolescent, or child, we are committed to helping you achieve the healthy smile you deserve.
- Mohammad Malik