Whether you are currently wearing braces or looking into getting some, knowing what your life with braces will look (and feel) like can help you prepare for success and choose the right form of treatment for your needs and lifestyle. Belmar Orthodontics can help educate you on what to expect and what you can do now to achieve your best outcomes.
Life with Braces: The First Day
One of the most common questions we receive from patients preparing to get braces–regardless of the type of braces–is “does it hurt?” The application process of braces does not hurt at all so you don’t need to worry! If any of the process causes you discomfort of any kind, let Dr. Hardy, or a member of our Belmar Orthodontics staff know, and we will work quickly to alleviate it. For most bracket systems, the installation process takes between 1-2 hours. Here are some things to consider as you begin your life with braces on that first day:
Check Your Wires
Before you leave our office, we perform a thorough check to help minimize any discomfort you could have at home adjusting to your life with braces and to help you get the results you need and want. We will have you check the wire ends with your tongue to make sure nothing is poking or rubbing your cheek in a way that could cause irritation. We will also supply you with dental wax to place on brackets or wires that cause you any discomfort while your mouth adjusts to the apparatus.
Dental Wax and Cleaning Supplies
Dental wax is a helpful tool during your life with braces. We will show you how to use it before you leave our office the first day you receive your braces. Dental wax is made from a mouth-safe, silicone substance that can be applied over your braces to create a smooth surface relieving irritation that can be caused by wires or brackets in your mouth. We will also supply you with tools to help you keep your brackets/teeth clean. Floss threaders and proxy brushes are essential for getting trapped food out between your teeth.
Make Good Food Choices
You don’t have to wait to eat after you leave our office, but you do need to stick to the “food rules” while wearing your braces. The bonding glue used for attaching the brackets to your teeth dries extremely quickly but takes about 24 hours to fully set. During this period, it is especially important that you avoid foods (or habits) that could dislodge your brackets. Dr. Hardy will review with you the foods/habits to avoid while you have your braces and you can also refer to our patient education section of our website at any time to remind yourself.
Life with Braces: Your First Week
Your first week in braces requires patience as you learn how to care for them and as you work through the temporary soreness associated with the new bracket system in your mouth. After 4-7 days, most patients no longer have the initial discomfort the braces caused and are establishing a rhythm for life with braces. Here are some other tips for that first week with your braces and can also be applicable after an adjustment:
Stick to the Soft Stuff for Now
While you adjust to your new life with braces, it can be helpful to modify your diet and rely on softer foods. Some of the recommended food choices during this adjustment period are: cooked pasta, soup, soft bread, yogurt, pudding, boiled vegetables, mashed potatoes, shakes, and scrambled eggs.
Use Prescribed Pain Medication as Needed
While the process of receiving your braces is pain-free, you can expect to have some mild soreness or discomfort after your archwire is installed into newly placed brackets because your teeth and mouth will begin shifting. Soft tissues will also begin adjusting to the bracket system and can cause temporary pain. Dr. Hardy can prescribe you ibuprofen dosages to take during this adjustment period if necessary.
Incorporate a Salt-Water Rinse for Soreness
Salt-water rinses can also help with soreness. It is not uncommon for your lips and gums to develop some mouth sores during the adjustment period. The soft tissues of your mouth are not accustomed to the roughness of the brackets yet, but they WILL adjust. In the meantime, a weak solution of warm salt water, swished several times a day can help. We recommend ½ teaspoon of salt per cup of water. Most patients will experience some discomfort for 4-7 days after they receive braces or after a wire adjustment. The bracket systems that Dr. Hardy uses at Belmar Orthodontics in Lakewood utilize state-of-the-art technology that is able to provide results with very light forces on your teeth to help minimize the discomfort you may feel.
Remember, It Gets Better
Teeth and the soft tissue structures of your mouth adjust to the bracket system and discomfort dissipates. Eating also becomes easier when your teeth are no longer sore. Commit to taking care of your braces, practicing good oral hygiene, eating safe foods, and keeping your regular adjustment appointments and you will find life with braces to be a breeze.
Life with Braces: The Months Ahead
Most patients will be completely accustomed to their life with braces after a period of about a month. By six months most won’t even notice they are there. Temporary soreness should be expected after each adjustment, but these periods of adjustment mean that the braces are working for you. Your beautiful smile is being built! Wear your bands, take care of your teeth, and keep an open dialogue with our Belmar Orthodontics team when questions or emergencies arise and you will be out of your braces and flashing your brilliant smile in no time!
Call for a Braces Consultation
Life with braces brings exciting changes, and sometimes some challenging adjustments too, but the end result is a healthier you! Belmar Orthodontics can help you obtain a healthy, functional, attractive smile. Our online patient education can help answer any questions you may have, and our friendly staff is always available to help. Call 303.225.9016 today to learn more about braces or to schedule an appointment. Dr. Hardy is committed to your care and will help you reach your smile goals as quickly and efficiently as possible.