Adjusting to something new can be a little confusing and overwhelming. Fortunately, braces are pretty low maintenance, but there are a few things you can do to make your orthodontic experience more effective and comfortable.
- Know What to Expect - When you first get braces, it’s perfectly normal for your teeth and mouth to be sore and/or tender. Your lips, cheeks, and gums may also be irritated for up to two weeks while they get used to the braces. Try a saltwater rinse or over-the-counter pain reliever to help reduce the amount of pain or discomfort you feel. It’s also important to remember that Dr. Medina is an expert in her field, and she had to go through extensive training in order to do what she does. Make sure that you’re listening to her advice, being honest with her during check-ups, and most importantly, that you’re allowing Dr. Medina and her team to properly guide you through your treatment.
- Watch What You Eat and Drink - Your diet plays a huge role in the success of your orthodontic treatment. You should eat less crunchy foods throughout treatment just to be on the safe side. Things like tough meats, nuts, popcorn, and chewy and hard candy should be eaten very carefully so as not to cause any damage. Additionally, foods that are high in sugars and starches should be consumed in small quantities. As far as beverages go, sodas, juices and coffees are technically okay in small, infrequent doses, but it’s best to stick with plain water whenever possible. Not only does water lack the sugar that plays a huge role in causing tooth decay, but also helps to keep the mouth clean and free of any extra particles or leftover food that could get stuck between your teeth.
- Maintain Good Oral Hygiene - Orthodontic patients should brush after every meal to keep their teeth and gums healthy. Be sure to brush for at least two minutes and to reach the front, back, and top of each tooth. We also recommend that you floss every evening before bed so that food particles and germs don’t attack your teeth and gums. We want your teeth to be just as healthy after braces as they were before! If you don’t commit to an effective brushing and flossing routine throughout the course of your treatment, plaque can build-up beneath the brackets and will likely go unnoticed until your braces come off, and when they do, the white, permanent stains will show. Mastering a great oral hygiene routine will ensure that when your braces finally come off, you’ll have a beautiful new smile that’s completely ready to be shown off!
- Avoid Bad Habits - When you have braces, you’ll have to choose between breaking your bad habits or breaking your braces. Biting your fingernails, chewing on pen caps or ice cubes, or not following proper oral hygiene instructions all pose threats to your brackets and wires. Continuing these habits can lead to costly orthodontic emergency appointments and may delay your overall treatment time.
- Be Confident - Don't worry about how your braces look and don't be afraid or embarrassed to smile with your braces. Depending on the type of braces you are treated with, people may not even know you are wearing braces. Be proud and flash those pearly whites often!
Lastly, be sure you know what to do if you are experiencing pain or problems with your braces. Before you leave our office, feel for any poking wires so you can have us correct the agitation and avoid pain. If a problem arises after your appointment, do not be afraid to call us; chances are it's a simple fix.