Orthodontic appliances (braces) represent an investment in the patient's future oral health and overall health. The guidelines below were designed to ensure the success of that treatment. Although patients may experience some annoyance or soreness in the beginning, they should have no real difficulty if they follow these suggestions.
Irritation - You will be given wax, which should be saved, throughout your treatment. Any irritating area can be covered until your lips, cheeks and tongue adjust. Gauze or cotton can be substituted for the wax. Tylenol®, Advil®, or ibuprofen can be taken for discomfort. If the soreness persists or if something is bent or broken, please call your orthodontist's office.
Food - You will probably want to eat only soft foods for the first few days after you get your appliances (braces) or after each adjustment. The rest of the time you can eat almost anything, but certain foods can damage your appliances and should be avoided. Basically you should not eat:
Crunchy foods: any nuts or seeds, peanut brittle, popcorn, ice, frozen items, hard chips, snack foods and cereals.
Raw fruits and vegetables: raw apples, pears, carrots, celery or radishes. If cooked or cut finely, they can be eaten.
Hard breads and finger foods: corn on the cob, spare ribs, chicken wings, chicken or chop bones.
Chewy foods: all kinds of gum, taffy, caramel, sticky or chewy candy, and candy apples.
Sugary foods: high sugar content foods increase the risk of tooth decay and should be avoided. However, if eaten, brush immediately afterward or rinse mouth with water.
Caution - Not all foods can be listed for each category. Please use your good judgment.
Brushing - Dirty teeth & gums can cause tooth decay, bad breath, gum disease and an unsightly appearance. Damage to teeth that are not cleaned as instructed is considered your responsibility. Brush your teeth and massage your gums after breakfast, lunch, dinner and any snack. Always brush and floss in front of a mirror and check your results. Disclosing tablets, Superfloss® and an electric toothbrush are helpful additions.
Breakage - Check daily for anything unusual and do not play with any part of your appliances with your tongue, fingers or pencils. If something breaks, bends, does not fit, or is loose, please call the orthodontist to assess your problem. Do not wait until your next appointment. If any part of your appliance comes off, save the piece in an envelope and remember to bring it with you to the office. We understand that on occasion breakage occurs. However, with good dental care it can be minimized.
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