Is This Your First Week With Braces?
Are you gearing up to get braces put on? Congratulations — you’ve made a significant first step in your journey towards a healthier smile! As orthodontic specialists in Kelowna, we know how nervous patients can be as they head into their first week with braces. If this sounds like you, fear not. The Straight Smiles team is here to help.
Getting braces is a big deal. Not only are you making an investment in a straighter smile, but your life will change during treatment in a few key ways. We’re sure that you’ll soon forget you even have braces, but there will be an initial adjustment period as you get used to your new hardware. Dr. James Scramstad, a general dentist practicing orthodontics in Kelowna, and the Straight Smiles team want to make the braces process as easy and smooth as possible. Here, we’re sharing our best tips for the first week with braces, so that you can start your treatment with confidence.
1. Plan Ahead to Stay On Top of Braces Discomfort
One of the biggest fears that patients have about getting braces is that it will be painful. Good news: getting braces put on does not hurt! However, you may experience some mild discomfort in the first week with braces as your teeth adjust to the brackets and wires and begin their steady movement towards their new position.
To get ahead of first week braces pain, we recommend taking a mild over-the-counter pain reliever, such as Tylenol, before your bonding appointment and before each adjustment. This will help you avoid discomfort during your visits to our Kelowna orthodontic office and make sure you’re comfortable when you get home too.
2. Brush Up on How to Brush and Floss With Braces
Proper oral hygiene is always important but it becomes even more so when you have braces. That’s because it’s trickier to get into those hard-to-reach places between your brackets and behind the wires. While the basic rules still apply, to brush and floss effectively with braces, you need to take a little extra care.
How to Brush Your Teeth with Braces:
You should already be brushing your teeth at least twice a day — once in the morning and once before you go to bed — but with braces, you’ll need a few extra cleanings throughout the day. You’ll want to brush after every snack and meal (yes, really!) in order to prevent harmful build-up of plaque and bacteria. Using fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled brush, brush along the top and bottom of your brackets with moderate pressure at a 45-degree angle. Try to brush for a full three minutes each time.
How to Floss with Braces:
Your dentist has probably told you for your entire life that you absolutely need to floss your teeth, but this has never been truer than when you have braces. Trust us, flossing with braces is one of the best ways to ensure a healthy, successful treatment … and we’ll know if you’re not doing it! Flossing with braces doesn’t have to be complicated. You can even use an orthodontic flosser or floss threader to make it super easy. Floss once a day and make sure to get in between every set of teeth, moving up and down the entire tooth before moving on.
3. Stock Your Kitchen with Braces-Friendly Foods and Drinks
Learning what you can and cannot eat with braces is possibly the biggest adjustment during the first week. Just like brushing and flossing requires a bit more attention to detail, so does deciding what to eat. But by planning ahead and following a few simple rules, you’ll be well prepared for chowing down safely with braces.
Basically, you’ll want to avoid anything hard, crunchy, sticky, chewy or any foods you have to bite into. This applies to your first week with braces and all throughout your treatment. These foods can break your brackets, prompting an emergency trip to the orthodontic office, or can get caught between your teeth, making it harder to keep your teeth clean and healthy. In the first week after getting braces, you may also experience sensitivity, so we recommend choosing soft or cold foods to alleviate discomfort. Try things like smoothies, yogurt, soft cheese, applesauce, guacamole, tofu, soft fruits and veggies. Soups, stews, soft meats and steamed vegetables are also great things to eat during the first week with braces.
4. Prepare for Minor Braces Emergencies
Speaking of emergency trips to your Kelowna orthodontic office, let’s try to avoid those as much as possible. Fortunately, there are very few true orthodontic emergencies and you’ll be able to deal with most issues at home. Here’s how:
We covered this earlier but it’s worth saying again that it’s often helpful to take a pain reliever before getting braces put on or before your adjustments. Sticking to soft and cold foods can also help to reduce pain and discomfort from braces.
As you get used to your brackets and wires, you may experience some irritation on the inside of your lips and cheeks. A saltwater rinse can help. Just add a teaspoon of salt to a glass of water, swish it around your mouth and spit it out. Repeat as needed throughout the day to reduce irritation. You can also use orthodontic wax to create a barrier between your brackets and the inside of your mouth
For a Broken or Loose Bracket:
Orthodontic wax saves the day again with broken or loose braces brackets. If a bracket becomes loose but is still attached to the wire, simply push it back into place and cover it with a piece of orthodontic wax. If a bracket breaks off completely, carefully remove it and put it somewhere safe. Then call Straight Smiles right away to schedule an appointment so we can reattach it as soon as possible.
Sometimes, the wires on your braces can come loose and poke the inside of your mouth, causing irritation and discomfort. If this happens, the best thing to do is use a clean cotton swab to push it out of the way and cover it with orthodontic wax. Then call us so we can take care of it for you.
5. Build a Braces To-Go Kit — And Take It Everywhere!
Like we’ve said, staying on top of brushing and flossing with braces is incredibly important for both your treatment and your lifelong oral health. That said, we understand that life happens and sometimes it’s not easy to brush or floss when you’re out and about. That’s why we recommend putting together a to-go kit that you can toss in your purse or backpack, so you always have your toothbrush and floss wherever you go. Taking proper care of your teeth during braces treatment really will make all the difference in the health of your smile.
6. Remember Your Mouthguard
Athletes and sports fans, this one’s for you. If you play sports or take part in activities that could risk injury to your face, always always always wear a mouthguard. If you get hit in the face with sporting equipment or during impact with another player, your braces may cause painful damage to the inside of your mouth or your brackets may break, which can set your treatment timeline back. A mouthguard will help to prevent damage, protect your teeth and keep you track towards your straighter smile.
7. Keep Your Eye on the Prize: Your New Smile!
We hope you feel more comfortable, prepared and confident to step into your first week with braces with ease. You know what to eat (and what foods to avoid with braces), how to brush and floss with braces, and how to deal with minor orthodontic emergencies on the fly. You don’t even have your braces yet and you’re already a pro!
Of course, things happen and questions will surely come up as you adjust to your orthodontic treatment. If you get discouraged, focus on the fact that your healthier smile is already in progress and you’re well on your way to straighter teeth. And remember: Dr. James Scramstad and the Straight Smiles team are happy to help you navigate your first week with braces. Give us a call anytime just to chat or to book an appointment at our Kelowna orthodontic office.