Looks like you’ve gotten yourself some braces…
Woo-hoo! That means you’ve taken a big step when it comes to unlocking your total smile potential! Not only that, but you’re ensuring that you stay safe from developing any debilitating bite abnormalities or jaw problems! Yep, it sure pays to get proper orthodontic care.
Ok. So that’s one thing to check off your list. But now what?
Don’t worry! We here at Williams Orthodontics know that your first week in braces can seem a little daunting. What can I eat? How do I manage discomfort? How do I keep them clean?
We’ve got you covered! Read on to discover your personal guide to your first week in braces.
Step #1 – Manage initial discomfort.
Ok, so you’ve just gotten your new braces. What to do first?
Well, a little discomfort is perfectly normal when it comes to the initial bonding process. The actual procedure itself will be entirely painless. However, your teeth will generally be a little sore afterwards, due to the new presence of appliances exerting a consistent pressure on them. No worries! This should not be any kind of major discomfort, and can easily be managed with traditional over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen. In fact, it’s a good idea to take a few of these (at the recommended dosage!) about an hour prior to your bonding session. This way it has time to work before the discomfort even begins!
Step #2 – Try soft foods and cold drinks at first.
These will give your teeth time to adjust before you get back to your regular diet. By sticking to softer foods that are easier to chew or don’t require chewing at all, your teeth will have less to do during the early stages, during which some soreness is totally normal. Cold drinks will help to soothe your teeth and gums and lessen any discomfort.
Step #3 – Wax is your friend!
In that first week, your tongue, gums, and cheeks aren’t used to the added fixtures of the orthodontic appliance, and can sometimes become irritated by rubbing against the new materials. For this reason, it’s great to have some orthodontic wax handy! You can place this on brackets or parts of the archwire that cause irritation, which will give the parts of the mouth time to get used to the new neighbors!
Step #4 – Learn to Brush Your Teeth With Braces
This is a major step towards keeping great oral health with braces. That is – learning to properly clean and care for your teeth with the added appliances.
You might think, “I already know how to brush my teeth. What’s the big deal?”
While we here at Williams Orthodontics know you already take good care of your teeth, Dr. Williams insists that we keep you up to date on some of the challenges that come with your braces regarding your dental hygiene. One of those challenges is ensuring you keep your brackets clear of plaque.
The nitty-gritty on plaque.
Plaque forms continuously in the mouth via the interaction of sugary, starchy foods and the mouth’s natural bacteria. This rougher, calcified form of plaque can only be removed by a dental professional, and your braces just gave it a bunch of new nooks and crannies to hide in! While plaque is a relative constant in our lives, a good dental hygiene routine removes it before it morphs into its meaner and more persistent cousin, tartar.
But never fear! So long as you follow these simple tips, taking care of your teeth will be a cinch, with or without braces!
Three tips to brush your teeth effectively with braces.
tip #1: Stick to it!
Now more than ever, it’s vital that you never miss a brush! That means morning and night. We also recommend brushing after snacks, particularly if the snacks are of the offending sugary or starchy variety. (which all the best snacks tend to be!)
tip #2: Rinse it out!
Before you begin your brush, it’s a good idea to take a cup and rinse your mouth out with water. Be sure and swish! This is a great way to help loosen some of the food particles accumulated in some of the harder-to-reach areas of the back teeth, between your brackets, etc.
tip #3: 45 Degrees, Please!
The American Dental Association recommends you approach your brush sessions with a soft-bristled brush and a nonabrasive toothpaste at a 45-degree angle from the tooth and gum line. Brush gently but firmly, taking special care to interact with the spaces where plaque is likely to hang out – between the teeth and brackets, at the gum line, and in other out-of-the-way areas.
Step #5 – It’s All About Mouthguards!
Did you know that more than 500 million dollars yearly is spent on avulsed teeth? By avulsed, we mean the tooth has been torn or dislodged from its root structure. And did you know that one of the most common causes of these injuries is a physical activity like organized sports?
In fact, the American Dental Association reported that 13-39% of all tooth and jaw injuries are sports-related! Of these, the vast majority result from the tremendous popularity of organized sports such as Football and Soccer in schools.
There’s no doubt that a mouthguard will do wonders to protect teeth and jaws, but a sobering statistic demonstrates that in one of the most contact-oriented sports of all, Football, only two-thirds of participants were reported to wear their mouthguards! For soccer, it was even less, with only 7% of participants in intramural leagues said to be in compliance with the ADA’s recommendations!
That said, get yourself a great mouthguard now that you have braces if you’ll be playing any contact sports! (Hopefully, you had one already!)
Step #6 – Call With Questions!
Now that you’ve taken the time to learn all about your first week in braces, you can step with confidence into a world filled with the best version of yours smile! We know there’s a lot to think about when it comes to your first week, so we hope this helps! But remember, we’re just a phone call away, so don’t be stranger! Our patients are our family, and we always love to hear from you.
Better yet, call today to schedule your next appointment. We can’t wait to see you smile!